Microsoft Surface is a little known platform from the Redmond giant that powers touch based PCs running on Windows 7. It was an ambitious project that was initially released over 4 years back, well before the Apple iPad came along, creating the currently booming market for tablets.
While the likes of the iPad(s) and plethora of Android tablets had a field day eating into the sales of notebooks and desktop PCs, Surface seemed to represent a botched up attempt by Microsoft at diversifying its target market.
Now, the Surface platform may be on the verge of getting a huge shot in the arm. With Microsoft having entered the smartphone and tablet OS sectors (with Windows Phone and the upcoming Windows 8, respectively), they are following the Apple model in launching what’s being called an Xbox Surface tablet. This 7 inch tablet will be Microsoft’s first foray into the hardware sector – something that it has generally steered clear of (for the most part) in the past.
The specs of the Microsoft tablet seem to be quite impressive as well – going by a leaked spec sheet. The 7 inch screen will have 1280×720 pixels fitted into an LED display. A power efficient 28 nm AMD GPU will be powering the Xbox Surface’s graphics needs. An ARM based TI processor with 288 MB RLDRAM2 seem to be part of the package too, along with a whopping 250 GB of internal storage.
A major Microsoft press conference is scheduled to take place later today, and the Xbox Surface is expected to be what the whole announcement is about. Given that Windows 8 tablets may be on shaky ground in terms of adoption (at least initially), the Xbox Surface could be a great way for Microsoft to give Windows 8 the push that it needs in the tablet market, while also consolidating Microsoft’s increasingly Xbox-centric content ecosystem.