Is the Microsoft Surface 3 Coming in October?

DigiTimes suggests a new Surface is coming this fall. Fact or fiction?

Aug 6, 2014 at 9:00AM

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) did something a little surprising when it launched the Surface Pro 3 in June: Cut the Surface Pro 2's time in the sun short by about four months. The rationale behind this early swap-out was strong: Microsoft wanted in on the back-to-school PC buying rush, and since the Surface Pro 3 was touted as the tablet that could replace one's laptop, it made sense to get it to the market.

While there's not much coming from the rumor mill these days about the Surface Mini, DigiTimes reported recently that the components for a 10.6-inch Surface (which could be called the Surface 3) would go into volume production in August, and that the device itself would begin volume production in September. Device availability would follow in October.

The question, then, is whether this is legitimate or just another unsubstantiated rumor.

10.6-inch means two choices
If a new 10.6-inch Surface is on the way, it could be a direct successor to either the Surface Pro 2 or the Surface 2 -- both of which were 10.6-inch products.

The Surface 2, however, was based on Windows RT, which meant that it could not run most -- possibly any -- of the standard Windows desktop applications featured on a full Windows 8.1 system powered by an Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) compatible processor.

This limited the Surface 2's functionality as a PC. Furthermore, the availability of lower-cost alternatives from companies such as ASUS that did support the full suite of Windows applications available significantly diminished the value proposition of the Windows RT-based Surface 2.

Under the assumption that Microsoft won't try again with a Windows RT-based system with a 10.6-inch Surface 3, the question becomes, "What hardware would such a device use?"

Two chip options: Atom or Core M
If Microsoft wants to do a straight successor to the Surface 2, but with full Windows application compatibility, it could use an Intel Bay Trail Atom processor. The problem is that Bay Trail is getting pretty long in the tooth at this point.

Microsoft would need to refresh the Surface yet again when the follow-on to Bay Trail -- known as Cherry Trail -- hits the market late this year and ramps up throughout the first half of 2015; not a particularly good option at this point.

Microsoft could instead upgrade the 10.6-inch Surface Pro 2 (and perhaps call it the Surface 3 or just market it as a smaller Surface Pro 3). The best bet for such a device would be Intel's upcoming Core M processor, which should enable a fan-less design.

The one snag he timing of these chips' availability is a tad murky as Intel has claimed that devices using this chip should be on the shelves by the holiday season. 

Foolish takeaway
At this point the rumor passes the initial smell test -- it's completely conceivable that Microsoft could issue a new 10.6-inch Surface later this year. Whether Microsoft does, and what such a product would look like, are the real open questions. Given the rumored timelines, it won't be too long before those answers become clear. 

Ashraf Eassa owns shares of Intel. The Motley Fool recommends Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at www.fool.com/podcasts.

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to www.fool.com/podcasts, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.

 


Compare Brokers