Talking tech since 2003

I hope it’s not true, but it seems that I’m hoping in vain: according to reports out of both Digitimes and Neowin, Microsoft is planning on launching a new, Windows RT powered Surface tablet later this year.

Slated for October, the new Surface tablet will measure 10.6 inches, the same dimensions as the last batch of Surface devices before this past summer’s Surface Pro 3 broke the mold at 12 inches. According to Digitimes’ sources, the new Surface tablet will be “slimmer and lighter,” though how that will translate into solid sales for what’s traditionally been a loser for Microsoft, I’m stumped.

The Neowin post adds a few more details that do make the supposed tablet sound more appealing, though not by much. Apparently it will feature the Surface Pro 3’s style of kickstand, which allows for all kinds of viewing angles, and it’ll also feature support for the new Surface Pen. It’s not clear, however, as to whether or not the pen will be bundled with the new Surface, or if it’ll need to be purchased separately.

The Neowin post further speculates that the 10.6 inch Surface running Windows RT could fill the gap left by the Surface Pro 3 in terms of low-budget options for the coming holiday season. That does make a certain amount of sense: people looking for a low-cost Windows tablet with the latest specs are out of luck right now. That said, simply having an option on shelves does not equate sales, and from what we’ve heard about the Surface line’s performance up to this point, having more options out there hasn’t done much to generate interest on the part of consumers.

However, until more details come out, who even knows? I do think there’s one way that a Windows RT tablet could succeed this holiday season: offer it at a ridiculously low price. If users can buy a Windows tablet that runs Office for less than an iPad (or at least the same price as an iPad Mini), you might have a viable option on the table. Maybe it could come bundled with the keyboard cover – that could certainly increase the device’s value and make it an easier sell at retail. In all, Microsoft needs to do more than simply offer a Windows RT tablet as an option. The company needs to create a compelling reason for this product to exist. If it truly wants to take on the iPad, it needs to show how it can beat the iPad at its own game. If Microsoft can make it a great value for work and for play, the new Surface may just have a chance.

[Sources: Digitimes and Neowin]

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