Microsoft readies 7-inch gaming tablet, the Xbox Surface

By on November 6, 2012, 1:30 PM

The 7-inch tablet market is about to see a new member jump into the fray. The Verge reports that Microsoft is working on a 7-inch gaming tablet called Xbox Surface that will include a custom ARM processor and high-bandwidth RAM designed specifically for gaming tasks. Hardware specifications are not currently set in stone and could change to accommodate an Intel SoC, but work the Xbox Surface is supposedly moving ahead independent of a specific hardware architecture.

The forthcoming tablet won’t run a full version of Windows or even Windows RT. Instead, it will run a custom Windows kernel with support for messaging and other tablet functions, but with a focus on gaming.

Further details remain scarce at the moment as Microsoft is being particularly secretive about the project. The report notes that the company recently locked down several Xbox-related buildings, limiting access to employees from the Interactive Entertainment Business division only, and speculates the lock down could be related to Microsoft testing the tablet and working on games and software for the device.

The Verge said we should expect to see the Xbox Surface debut ahead of the next Xbox, “providing the project doesn't get killed in favor of a full 7-inch Windows tablet, in the same way Microsoft axed Courier.”

Microsoft’s 10-inch Surface RT tablet went on sale less than a couple of weeks ago on October 26. Initial reactions from reviewers and consumer have been a mixed bag, with some praising its solidly engineered form factor, while most complained about the lack of quality apps on the Windows Store.




User Comments: 18

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TechMancer TechMancer said:

Sounds promising!

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'm trying to figure out what niche this is trying to fill. You can already game on smartphones, desktops, laptops, netbooks and tablets. Why buy a 7-inch gaming only tablet?

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

Sounds like this is going to do as well as the Zune.

Littleczr Littleczr said:

I'm trying to figure out what niche this is trying to fill. You can already game on smartphones, desktops, laptops, netbooks and tablets. Why buy a 7-inch gaming only tablet?

Yeah you can game, but the in-game graphics are not that great. And there is also lack of quality titles. There is only so much you can get out of angry birds before it gets boring.

OneSpeed said:

Wait for it....

Apple has a patent on 7" tablets.

dennis777 dennis777 said:

If this can play xbox title... im in!

likedamaster said:

Amazing ecosystem Microsoft. 3 tablets with completely different architecture. And these are just tablets; when you factor in phones, xbox, etc. you have a clusterf**k of epic porportions. You will never gain the marketshare you expected to have with this bs.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'll need to some information to make my mind about this. My first thought is that not even having Windows RT is a bad move, but I wonder what will be included. I'm sure people will expect to have a browser and media playback on a tablet, so Microsoft will likely include such functionality. Hopefully they'll end up putting a full Windows RT on this, because they certainly need to do anything to strengthen that OS if they want it to succeed.

Guest said:

I think you don't need xbox surface, even with iPad you can play call of duty: Nazi's zombie :D

dawei1993 said:

I think this is a terrible idea... Why buy a 7 inch gaming "tablet"?? You can easily game on your phone and tablets, and just need to sacrifice a little graphics. This is pointless, and I see this going nowhere.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

You can easily game on your phone and tablets

All they want is that your tablet will be what they're offering. Given a good price and some good exclusives, it's not far fetched that they would convince gamers to buy the Xbox tablet instead of an iPad Mini or an Android tablet.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Thanks to the Hexus.net post and looking for the old Verge post (here: [link] it looks like this isn't what it appears from this post or latest info.

The original leak looks like a Wii U style device, albeit a lot more powerful. The stationary part is like a modern Xbox 360, with 12 cores, 5GB RAM, DX11. The tablet part seems rather weak for tablet purposes (only 288MB RAM). This spec plus putting it on the same package with the stationary devices suggests that it's meant to work in conjunction with it. In short, kind of an Xbox U-hoo.

It would be interesting to see how this turns out. It's not clear to me what Microsoft intends here.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Why? Same reason as everything else. They'll make money on it.

Did you see the profit margins on the Surface RT? they're over 100%. They'll make a 7 in (instead of 10in) to price it well and be able to put a decent screen on it without needing an ipad3 sized battery.

So far tablets have been about facebook, youtube, internet and email. The Surface adds office work to the list, and the xbox tablet aims to add decent gaming to the list. MS is expanding our ideas of tablets and if they pull it off, we'll look back at the end of 2012 as when Apple started losing ground in the tablet market.

i3rucei3ruce said:

I am so down for this. I currently use a Kindle Fire 1, and a gaming device of that size would be perfect. I don't game on a phone, just a console rarely and PC. Currently use the KF1 for music, books, and GBA emulation, though it is already powerful enough to emulate PS1 and N64. Giving it a couple extra buttons and better ergonomics would be great. I wonder how much 7" functionality will stick with it when gearing it more towards gaming. I'd hope less extra functionality than more, if it means more space for games.

And YES, something that size would today be MORE powerful than the original Xbox. The biggest issue is weight. It can't be heavier than the KF1, even with ergonomic handheld design and hardware controls.

i3rucei3ruce said:

I think this is a terrible idea... Why buy a 7 inch gaming "tablet"?? You can easily game on your phone and tablets, and just need to sacrifice a little graphics. This is pointless, and I see this going nowhere.

What about all the people for whom the great majority of handheld functionality besides gaming is useless? That's wasted money. This is a great idea, and I'll be purchasing it as long as it is a true gaming device and doesn't require tethering to a 360.

i3rucei3ruce said:

I'll need to some information to make my mind about this. My first thought is that not even having Windows RT is a bad move, but I wonder what will be included. I'm sure people will expect to have a browser and media playback on a tablet, so Microsoft will likely include such functionality. Hopefully they'll end up putting a full Windows RT on this, because they certainly need to do anything to strengthen that OS if they want it to succeed.

Hopefully they don't, or it won't succeed as a gaming device. If they fill it up with too much tablet functionality, the cost will be too high because of all the extra space that will be required for games on the device itself. They can't release this thing for more than $300. Hopefully 200-250.

duncan_1115 duncan_1115 said:

Rite On Microsoft, I thinks it's always a good idea for a leading software and innovator like Microsoft to lock it's doors to public, and employee's family and friends should not be aloud on the grounds of MS offices neither.. period. These guys work with todays leading technologies for the world, and that's where monies is almost no object to invent and innovate. They (MS) doesn't need years of research walking out the door in the form of a employee's friend or family members camera or video reorder to be sold to other tech companies or tech media's for that matter for a few dollars.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Hopefully they don't, or it won't succeed as a gaming device. If they fill it up with too much tablet functionality, the cost will be too high because of all the extra space that will be required for games on the device itself. They can't release this thing for more than $300. Hopefully 200-250.

I think that dedicated mobile devices are dying.Gaming tablets which are tied into a more powerful stationary console (as seems to be the case here, or like with the Wii U) still make a bit of sense, but I think that general purpose tablets will win for gaming in the long run.

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