January 18, 2018

Surface 3 Will Be the Surface for the Mass




Report came out from WinBeta that “Microsoft is planning to launch a successor to the Surface 2 soon”. This new Surface will be released at or before BUILD conference (starting April 29th), available soon after. Also WindowsCentral have learned the new Surface will sport Intel Atom (Cherry Tail) CPU.  This is still in rumor state, but as we all know, based on the sources, it’s close to official. Microsoft have a tradition to give away stuff to BUILD attendees (sometimes with a nominal cost). This could be a good candidate.

A few interesting things are missing: name, size, weight, battery life and price.

The reports didn’t mention what it will be called, but said it is not in the Pro category. It’s no longer Windows RT as is Surface 2. So the name is tricky to guess: they may want to distant it from Windows RT. In the meantime, it’s not Pro. So, if I were the one in the marketing, I would call it Surface M3 (M for middle tier or multi-purpose), which leave room for 8″ Surface, which would be Surface S3.

Will There Be Low Cost HoloLens?

This is a successor of Surface 2, not a 8″ device. So the question is: Will it be 10.6″ as Surface 2 or 12″ as Surface Pro 3? I lean on 12″. The reason is: when Surface Pro 3 was released, Microsoft had specifically said the 12″ touch/type covers are compatible to the future devices, but never mention the 10.6″ ones. As we know this quite well: what they don’t says speak louder than what do say. We don’t know yet, but many would agree 12″ is much better than  10.6″.

WinBeta also said it will be fanless, which is obvious for Cherry Trail CPU. If it 12″, I expect it will be very thin, and very light, it can be somewhere around 1 lbs. As for battery life, I would expect 12+hrs.

As to price, there are two factors: one is Atom machines are generally cheap, $250 ~ $400 is normal range. However, Surface is a premium brand, they don’t do cheap material, flimsy design or low build quality. So I would take Surface 2 price as reference, it is likely somewhere around $400~$500.

From HoloLens to “True” Hologram: How?

Will it come with Surface Pen? We don’t know, but it should, at least as an add-on.

This new Surface is long awaited device, because its capability and affordability, it is the right Surface for the mass. Surface 2 is a great machine, which I have, but many feel the limitation of not running legacy programs. (I have said this before, Windows RT was a strategic play. There was technical-politics into play between Intel and Microsoft. Now this appears to be over.) Surface Pro 3 is wonderful for power user, but the price is just too high for general public. If this new Surface can get to $500 including keyboard, it will be a big sell. Remember, today’s Atom CPU is no longer the netbook era’s Atom processor, It’s running great on almost everything. At its worst, it will sell better than Surface 2 did. But remember, even Surface 2 out sold Surface Pro 3 by a big margin.


Some Important Information About HoloLens
HoloLens: Release Date (Updated)
HoloLens: Price Estimation