The iPad mini is currently the latest important budget tablet that hit stores this year – although budget in this case still means that Apple is turning a profit on iPad mini sale compared to its rivals – after the Nexus 7 and the new Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD families. But it looks like we’re not done seeing new creations from top companies interested in the ever-growing mobile ecosystem.
Microsoft, now a very-much-interested-in-making-own-hardware company, has just released Windows 8 and the Surface tablet. Its first such device, the Surface has sold out in its opening weekend, although we have no actual sales numbers for you yet. But the Redmond-based company is apparently not happy with only selling an iPad rival, as it also wants to have in stores an iPad mini / Nexus 7 / Kindle Fire alternative.
According to The Verge, that device is the Xbox Surface, a 7-inch tablet that will run a custom Windows version and that will be focused on gaming. The gadget, expected to come out before the next Xbox iteration dubbed Xbox 720, is apparently developed in some secret at Microsoft’s headquarters. Obviously it’s not completely secret since the web is already talking about it.
The same company that built the Surface is said to be in charge of the Xbox Surface tablet as well, while Microsoft’s traditional China-based suppliers, Pegatron and Foxconn, will build the Xbox 720.
What will the Xbox Surface has to offer users? Not many details are known at this time, but it appears that alongside a 7-inch display, the tablet will feature a custom ARM processor, high-bandwidth RAM that would better suit gaming needs, and a custom Windows kernel that would allow additional tablet functions including messaging.
But things may change on the hardware side, as the Surface could also get a yet-to-be-released Intel SoC.
Considering that Microsoft is clearly interested in tying more devices to its Xbox 360, one of its best selling products to date, we’re really not surprised to see the company take this road. After all, why settle with offering Xbox gamers the Xbox SmartGlass app when you could build a tablet around such gaming-related features offered by such software?
But would the Xbox Surface be a budget friendly device along the lines of the Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire, or are we looking at a more expensive iPad mini-like device? Would you buy a 7-inch Microsoft tablet just for gaming?