Microsoft planning additional Surface tablets

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Jan 252013
 
Microsoft

Microsoft may have a good reason for not disclosing sales numbers for its Surface Windows RT; general concensus is that it is selling quite slowly. One estimate suggests that only one million were sold in Q4 2012. One factor working against the Surface is its relatively high cost – it starts at US$ / CA$ . The upcoming Surface Windows 8 Pro tablet will likely face a similar challenge with its price starting at US$999/CA$1019. That does not mean that Microsoft is ready to give up on the Surface. Calling it “one part of the overall Windows 8 story,” it instead plans to offer more models covering a wider number of price points.

Asked about goals for the Surface on yesteray’s earnings call, Peter Klein, Microsoft’s CFO, said:

Our goal is to continue to build that business to highlight the incredible power of Windows 8 in an interesting set of devices. We are going to expand geographically. We are going to expand the product line up. We are going to expand retail distribution and capacity. So we look forward to continuing the growth of that business.

He later added that Microsoft was looking to offer “a greater variety of devices at a bigger variety of price points.” No further details were given about these future devices. earlier rumours have suggested we could see three new Surface models including a smaller Surface RT 2 with an 8.6-inch display, a larger Surface Pro model with an 11.6-inch display and a “Surface Book” with a 14.6-inch display and a 22nm Intel “Haswell” chip. At first glance, only the first appears set to have a lower price point than current models, sugesting that Microsoft may look to its hardware partners to drive down the cost of Windows tablets while the Surface ones remain more of a premium device.

Read more: Seeking Alpha (Source: Venture Beat)

Microsoft Surface Windows 8 Pro launch in Canada and U.S. set for February 9th

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Jan 222013
 

Microsoft Surface Windows 8 ProMicrosoft today announced that its Microsoft Surface Windows 8 Pro tablet (renamed from the original Microsoft Surface Pro with Windows 8) will launch in Canada and the U.S. on February 9th, only slightly later than it had originally promised.

Surface Windows 8 Pro is an exciting new addition to the Surface family, bringing a powerful, work-ready device that is just at home in the boardroom as it is the family room. Whether you’re a road warrior, a student or someone who just wants a flexible and powerful Intel PC, the Surface Windows 8 Pro will deliver. It’s the perfect complement to the Surface Windows RT and delivers hours and hours of entertainment with plenty of power and productivity to get your work done as well.

Unlike the Windows Surface RT, the Surface Windows 8 Pro will not be limited to a subset of applications and will run the full gamut of Windows applications. As a tradeoff though, it will be slightly thicker and heavier.

Microsoft already announced pricing back in November: US$899 for the 64GB model and US$999 for the the 128GB one. Pricing in Canada may be slightly higher if Windows RT tablet pricing (CA$20 higher) is any indication. Both versions will come with a Surface pen with Palm Block technology. Accessories including the Touch Cover and Type Cover will be sold separately.

The Microsoft Surface Windows 8 Pro will be available through all Microsoft retail stores, microsoftstore.com and at Staples and Best Buy in the U.S. as well as from a number of locations in Canada. Other markets will follow in the coming weeks.

Read more: The Official Microsoft Blog

Microsoft Surface RT sales only reach 1 million last quarter?

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Jan 142013
 

Microsoft SurfaceMicrosoft’s tablet business may be off to a slow start. Rumours back in November suggested that Microsoft had reduced its 2012 orders from 4 million to 2 million units. UBS analyst Brent Thill now expects that Microsoft may have only sold about 1 million Surface RT tablets in Q4 2012. Thill cites two reasons for the low sales: “Surface RT is a consumer device with [fourth-quarter] sales suffering from the difficult iPad compare and narrow distribution.”

Such numbers could well justify Samsung’s recent decision not to launch its Windows RT-powered ATIV Tab tablet in the U.S.

Thill expects that Surface sales may improve with the launch of the upcoming Surface with Windows 8 Pro. He describes it as “more promising” as he expects that it will be a credible alternative to the Apple iPad in the enterprise space.

Thill estimates that Microsoft could sell about 2.5 million Surface tablets by the end of June when Microsoft’s fiscal 2013 year ends. Sales could climb to 8 million in FY2014. As a comparison, Apple is expected to have sold over 20 million iPads in the same period.

Read more: CNET

Microsoft releases Surface With Windows RT firmware update

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Jan 092013
 

Microsoft SurfaceAs part of its regular “Patch Tuesday,” Microsoft yesterday released an update for the Surface RT. It’s a maintenance release that provides System Firmware (UEFI) improvements including:

  • Improvements to audio playback when in Connected Standby
  • Additional capabilities for handling firmware updates during low battery situations

While many were hoping for some pesky Wi-Fi issue fixes, Microsoft is still “working on getting it resolved.” A fix will need to wait for another update.b

If you have not received the update, you can check for it manually by selecting Settings > Change PC Settings > Windows Update > Check for Updates.

Read more: Microsoft

Microsoft planning three Surface tablet successors?

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Dec 032012
 

MicrosoftDemand for the Microsoft Surface [product information] may not be quite as high as Microsoft had expected or hoped for but that does not appear to be deterring it from forging ahead with its next generation of tablets. Well known insider MS_nerd today revealed that the company could have three new models in the works for next year:

  • Surface RT 2 with an 8.6-inch display and a Qualcomm chipset (replacing the NVIDIA Tegra 3 used in the current model)
  • New Surface Pro model with an 11.6-inch display and a yet-to-be-released AMD “Temash” APU
  • “Surface Book” with a 14.6-inch display and a 22nm Intel “Haswell” chip

Neither the AMD “Temash,” the successor to AMD’s Hondo tablet-specific APUs, nor the Intel “Haswell” processors, set to succeed current Ivy Bridge processors, are likely to be ready until mid-2013, suggesting that these models will launch in the latter part of 2013. With the Surface with Windows 8 Pro tablet [product information] set to launch in January, the timing does not appear unreasonable.

Past rumours have also indicated that Microsoft is working on a 7-inch Xbox Surface tablet and a Surface smartphone.

Read more: Neowin (Source: BGR)

Microsoft Surface RT supply chain orders cut by half?

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Nov 292012
 

Microsoft SurfaceFollowing rumours that Surface RT sales were not meeting Microsoft’s own sales forecasts comes word that supply chain orders for Microsoft’s tablet have been cut in half. Citing its usual “sources from the upstream supply chain,” Digitimes indicates that Microsoft has reduced its 2012 orders from 4 million to 2 million units. Prospects for the upcoming quarter may not be any better.

And there is more bad news for Microsoft. Lower than expected Windows RT tablet sales do not apppear to be limited to Microsoft. The report adds that Asustek Computer, Samsung Electronics and Dell are also seeing weak demand.

The report closes by suggesting that Microsoft may bump up the launch of its Surface with Windows 8 Pro or reduce its price. That seems unlikely given Microsoft’s announcement earlier today.

Read more: Digitimes

Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro gets priced (Updated)

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Nov 292012
 

Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 ProMicrosoft today announced availability and pricing details for its upcoming Surface with Windows 8 Pro tablet [product information]. Unlike the Microsoft Surface RT [product information], this version will be powered by an Intel Core i5 processor and Windows 8 Pro.

The Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro will be available starting in January 2013 in either 64GB or 128GB configurations. The 64GB will sell for US$899 and the 128GB one for US$999. Both versions will come with a Surface pen with Palm Block technology. Accessories including the Touch Cover and Type Cover will be sold separately. In comparison, the Windows RT version starts at US$499 and comes with an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor and 32GB of storage.

Unlike the Surface RT, the Surface with Windows 8 Pro will run current Windows 7 desktop applications.

Microsoft will announce more specific availability dates in the coming weeks.

Update: According to Microsoft’s @Surface Twitter account, the Surface Pro will have “approximately half” the battery life of the Surface RT. Despite having a larger battery, it will have a more powerful processor and a higher resolution display, both of which will consume more power. With the Surface RT battery life coming in at about 8 hours, we can expect that of the Surface with Windows 8 Pro to come in at about 4 hours.

Read more: The Official Microsoft Blog and @Surface [via Twitter]

Surface RT tablet sales to fall short of Microsoft forecasts?

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Nov 142012
 

Microsoft SurfaceSales of the Surface tablet may not meet Microsoft’s own sales forecasts if a report by Digitimes is accurate. Citing “sources from upstream component suppliers,”, the report suggests that sales started slowly and may only reach about 60% of Microsoft’s forecast by year’s end.

Microsoft is expected to continue to face challenging conditions over the holiday shopping season. Two reasons are provided for this: The first is a lack of a competitive edge in pricing and performance. The second is that the Surface lacks supporting software as previous Windows software is not compatible and relies instead on new software available from the Windows Store.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently described initial sales of the Surface RT as “modest” but pointed out that reception to the tablet had been “fantastic.” He expected sales to improve as availability improved.

The report concludes that Windows 8-based tablet sales may benefit from the slower than expected Windows RT uptake.

For its part, Microsoft has yet to provide any official Windows RT sales numbers.

Read more: Digitimes

Microsoft Surface RT sales off to a “modest” start

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Nov 122012
 

Microsoft SurfaceMicrosoft has yet to reveal any Surface for Windows RT tablet sales numbers but but CEO Steve Ballmer may have given us our best hint so far how things are going. In an interview with French-language Le Parisien, Ballmer described initial sales as “modest” but did not provide specific numbers.

Ballmer went on to explain that this modest start is due to the Surface’s limited availability. It is currently only available online from Microsoft and through a limited number of stores in the U.S (and Canada). Microsoft has also faced some supply challenges (something Ballmer described as a “good sign” and is working hard to address those as well. Sales should improve as it becomes available in more stores and more countries in the near future. Talking about sales numbers might make more sense then, added Ballmer. He also pointed out that reception to the tablet has been “fantastic.”

Ballmer also reiterated that Microsoft will launch a second Surface tablet, the Surface for Windows 8 Pro powered by an Intel processor, in early 2013.

Read more: Le Parisien (in French) [Google translation] (Source: Reuters

Microsoft planning more hardware products

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Oct 252012
 

MicrosoftMicrosoft CEO Steve Ballmer has confirmed what many expected: Microsoft is planning to build more hardware under its own brand name. In an interview with the BBC, Ballmer said:

“Is it fair to say we’re going to do more hardware? Obviously we are… Where we see important opportunities to set a new standard, yeah we’ll dive in.”

Ballmer would not provide further details as to what this hardware might entail when prompted for further details. But his response suggested that whatever those plans are, they go beyond more accessories like mice and its Xbox gaming platform:

“We have committed ourselves on a path where we will do whatever is required from both a hardware and a software innovation perspective and the cloud innovation perspective in order to propel the vision that we have,” was all he would tell the BBC.

Up first will be the Surface for Windows 8 Pro which is scheduled for an early 2013 release. Beyond that, Microsoft could release a Surface smartphone. An earlier report suggested that Microsoft was already hard at work on the device in a bid to have it out in the first half of 2013. During a recent Reddit “Ask me Anything” session, the Microsoft Surface team also did not rule out smaller tablets.

It looks like Microsoft’s relationship with its hardware partners, already strained by the release of the Microsoft Surface, could be challenged further in the future.

Read more: BBC News

Microsoft delays some Surface tablet pre-order shipments by a week (Updated)

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Oct 202012
 

Microsoft SurfaceThe launch of the Microsoft Surface tablet appears to have hit a bit of turbulence. A number of customers in Canada and the UK who pre-ordered the tablet through the Microsoft Store as early as the first day have received emails indicating that their shipments will be delayed by a week:

The release date for the preorder product has changed. The product listed below will now be available on November 2, 2012.

Microsoft has not provided any explanation for the delay.

Microsoft’s online store shows that orders for the 32GB model without Touch Cover will now ship in three weeks in the U.S. It is also “temporarily sold out” in Canada and cannot even be ordered at this time. Other models still show that shipment will take place in “1-2 weeks.”

The Microsoft Surface is scheduled to go on sale on October 26th. Delays with pre-orders could be a sign that there will only be limited Surface tablet availability at Microsoft Stores (and Holiday Stores) at launch.

Update: Good news! Microsoft has looked into this matter and found that the emails were sent to customers in error. It provided the following statement to confirm that the pre-order original shipment dates will stand:

“Unfortunately, an incorrect email was sent to several of our international customers who pre-ordered Surface from the Microsoft Online Store in the past week. All customers should expect their devices by the original date given when orders were placed. Microsoft is following up with customers to confirm their original shipping date remains unchanged, and we apologize for any inconvenience caused.”

Read more: WPCentral

Video: Another Microsoft Surface ad

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Oct 192012
 

On the heels of the first Microsoft Surface ad comes a second one. Unlike the first, this one focuses less on dancing and more on the features and capabilities of Microsoft’s new Windows RT tablet. It also spends a bit of time on the Touch Cover and Type Cover accessories.

The Microsoft Surface is now available for pre-order through the Microsoft Store. It will also be available starting on October 26th at retail locations including Microsoft stores and its Holiday Stores. Prices start at US$499/CA$519 for the 32GB model without a Touch Cover.

Microsoft is rumoured to be spending over US$1 billion to promote Windows 8, Window RT, and its first tablet device.

Read more: Microsoft Surface [via YouTube]

Microsoft begins taking Surface with Windows RT pre-orders

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Oct 162012
 

Microsoft SurfaceAfter a false start earlier today, Microsoft has now begun taking pre-orders for the upcoming Microsoft Surface with Windows RT. Pre-orders are open in both Canada and the U.S.

The Microsoft Surface with Windows RT will be offered in the following configurations:

  • 64GB with Black Touch Cover: US$699 / CA$719
  • 32GB with Black Touch Cover: US$599 / CA$619
  • 32GB without Black Touch Cover: US$499 / CA$519

Microsoft is also offering the Touch Cover separately for CA$129.99 (US$119.99) each and the Type Cover for CA$139.99 (US$129.99).

Microsoft is promising that Canadian orders will ship by October 26th for delivery by October 30th while U.S. pre-orders should be delivered on the 26th.

Read more: Microsoft Store – Canada and Microsoft Store – U.S.

Microsoft Surface pricing revealed

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Oct 162012
 

Microsoft SurfaceMicrosoft briefly revealed pricing for its upcoming Surface tablet earlier today on its Microsoft Store website. The site listed the tablets for pre-order with a delivery date planned for October 26th, the same day they are hitting stores. You can put to rest any hopes you had that prices would start at US$199.

Prices start at US$499 for the 32GB Window RT model without a Touch Cover. Add a Touch Cover and the price jumps to US$599. A 64GB model with Touch Cover will sell for US$699.


Click for a larger version

The Microsoft Store also listed the Touch Cover separately for US$119.99 each and the Type Cover for US$129.99.

A separate report indicates that Microsoft has placed orders for up to 5 million Surface Tablets for Q4 2012, suggesting that Microsoft has high hopes for its first tablet. Mass production is almost certainly underway at this point given that the Microsoft Surface is set to to on sale on October 26th.

Read more: TechCrunch and The Wall Street Journal

Video: First Microsoft Surface tablet ad

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Oct 152012
 

Microsoft’s marketing campaign for its upcoming Surface tablet kicks off tonight with its first ad to air on U.S. national TV. Microsoft is rumoured to be spending over US$1 billion to hype Windows 8, Window RT, and its first tablet device.

The ad itself reveals little about the tablet. It focuses instead on the kickstand and magnetic keyboard and the sounds made by these.

The Microsoft Surface will go on sale on October 26th for a still undisclosed price. It will be available at Microsoft stores as well as its new pop-up Holiday Stores (including four in Canada).

Read more: Microsoft Surface [via YouTube] (Source: The Verge)