Is Microsoft developing a 7-inch Xbox Surface tablet?

6 Nov 2012

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Microsoft is understood to be developing a new Xbox Surface 7-inch tablet device dedicated to gamers that will include a custom ARM processor and RAM designed for gaming tasks.

It is understood that rather than run a full version of Windows 8 the new Xbox Surface will run a custom Windows RTkernel so that the focus will be on gaming.

According to The Verge Microsoft has developed a secret hardware production process for its Xbox Surface, separate to the company’s Xbox manufacturing partners.

The gaming tablet is expected to debut ahead of Microsoft’s next gaming console the Xbox 720 which is expected to launch in 2013.

In terms of Microsoft’s motivation to produce a Windows 8 Surface dedicated to the Xbox platform, the reasons could be legion.

It is likely that on the one hand Microsoft wants to reinforce the multi-screen playability of its games from smartphones to tablets and TVs and potentially sell more apps, but on the other perhaps the Xbox Surface is a hint to the future shape of video games in their entirety.

The Xbox Surface could certainly allow gamers to continue their console gaming experience remotely on the bus or train, but perhaps it is more likely that the Xbox Surface could also be an additional controller for a future console from Microsoft.

Nintendo’s Wii U console comes with a tablet-style controller whose screen plays an additional role in game-play.

The Xbox 720 ‘Loop’ is expected out next year and its processing power is expected to be six-times that of the current Xbox 360 and will offer 20pc better performance than the Wii U console.

The Xbox 720 is expected to be released between August and November 2013.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com