BY | November 15, 2012

After Google and Apple, Microsoft is also evidently working to launch a 7-inch tablet. Apart from the consumer tablets of its rivals, Microsoft seems to be planning a gaming tablet potentially named Xbox Surface, say rumors. Referring to “multiple sources familiar with plans” The Verge has broken the rumor, which has caught the market as wildfire.

It is whispered that the new Surface tablet will merely be a gaming tablet and its Xbox moniker will refer to it. Less chance is there that it should be the upcoming Xbox 720-integrated appliance, rumors add. Specs and features of a 7-inch Microsoft tablet were already leaked in June ahead of Microsoft’s demo of its Surface RT and Pro tablets.

Microsoft Xbox Surface – Rumored Specs
As per The Verge, the potential Microsoft tablet is to run on a custom ARM processor and high power RAM (up to 5GB) to let it support high end games of the day. The site’s sources have reportedly told it that there is a chance for the change of the CPU to an unannounced Intel SoC in future. But, it has not made any clarification on it.

“We’re told these specifications could be altered to accommodate an unannounced Intel SoC and that the Xbox Surface is being developed independent of specific hardware architecture,” writes the site.

As well, the device will not run the full-blown Windows 8, nor does the Windows RT. It may be getting a rather skinned version of the software with the Windows kernel. As per Gizmodo, it might be aiming at the integration of the device with the next version Xbox 720’s software and XBLA.

“But it’s also probably safe to assume that any Xbox tablet will retain ties to Windows 8 and Windows RT, since simplifying the development process has been a priority for Microsoft,” says Gizmodo.

In spite of the special software and gaming capability, Xbox Surface will have regular tablet functions like messaging and others. But, the key focus will be on gaming, indeed. Quite probably, it will also be packing the newly announced Xbox Music with special features to stream and listen to your favorite music.

As per the previous rumors, the possible Xbox Surface tablet is to run on an ARM-based Texas Instruments CPU and 288MB of RLDRAM 2. The device’s 7-inch display will offer a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. No other details are available about this machine.

Xbox Surface – Development
As per the new Verge rumors, Microsoft has already started production of the machine at some of its Xbox console factories. The secret device has been under development for a while, the report says with details from its sources. “We’re told that the Xbox Surface will likely be manufactured in the same factory,” says the site. But, it is known that Xbox 720 is to be produced by companies like Foxconn and Pegatron.

At the same time, the site has reported that the device is being made at Microsoft’s office in Silicon Valley. The company has reportedly shut down many Xbox-related rooms there and entry of employees is strictly restricted to the closed rooms. Maybe, as per The Verge, Microsoft will be testing the tablet there, “providing a way for other parts of the Xbox team to build games and software for the device.”

Conclusion
Anyway, when contacted by reporters, Microsoft has kept silence over such a product. It looks sense that Microsoft will be launching a game friendly 7-inch tablet to compete with the likes of Apple iPad Mini and Google Nexus 7. Following Surface RT and Pro against iPad 4 and other large Android tablets, it is high time for Microsoft to foray into the 7-in segment, indeed. It will be great if the company would do this with a special gaming gadget as it is hyped by rumors.

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  • thisistheslam

    This rumor, if panned out, could be very big for Microsoft going forward. It’s about time they leverage the Xbox brand for mobile goodness. The pushing of XBLA on its own would make for reason enough to pick one up. Any ported titles, like Halo or Fable, would be extra icing on the delicious cake. 7″ tablets have impressed me, as I’m writing this on a Google Nexus 7 tablet and plan on getting a Surface this holiday season. Gamers would flock to a Surface-style tablet running Xbox software and could out a big dent in Apple’s mobile gaming appeal if they do. Now all we need is a 720 launch and a Surface Phone :)