The Surface: What's Next

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So the reviews for the Surface RT are in and they are decidedly mixed, which is somewhat appropriate for an election year. Now when the pricing was announced, a number of bloggers and journalists were given a tour of Studio B, the hardware group that created the Surface. Now despite all the reviews, I think (hope) that the device sell well, And if they do that we see both a second generation device and new form factors. Looking at a view images, I wanted to throw a view ideas out there for folks to ponder.

A White Surface/ Surface Rack

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via images.anandtech.com

Up top on the wall you can see some early or current images of the Surface. The one that sticks out most for me are images of a white Surface model. I'm not sure they can coat or inject color into the VaporMg process but a white version would be interesting. Another image seen is a charging rack (look at the Yellow box). Is this a sign that Microsoft is looking at making the next models enterprise friendly? Time will tell. I also wonder if Microsoft would revisit materials for future devices.

Surface 2 and the Surface Family of Devices

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via images.anandtech.com

Microsoft said it iterated on the Surface design; from an iPad-esque 10.1 to the 11 inch screens used by OEMs. Given that we will see changes overtime to the software, and the fact that the introduction of computing hardware coming from Microsoft changes things; what will the next Surface look like?

Will Microsoft abandon ARM and move to Intel SOC? That was a suggestion from Anand Shimpi in his review. I doubt it; I think Microsoft is committed to adding ARM and will bring improvements to RT as it improves the Windows Run Time. What I do think will happen is Microsoft will improve its manufacturing abilities and process to bring down material costs. Also the next Surface will most likely be thinner and have versions capable of 3G. Beyond the type of Surface device we will see starting Friday, I think we could see two hybrid versions; ones without hinges and come with keyboard docks or other docking solutions. And since we know this team is the same that brought us the big ass table, I expect to see two traditional form factors. One is an Ultrabook. It could be a hybrid or a straight laptop, but I can see one in the future. Also I could see Microsoft producing a Surface All in One with an adjustable base to put the screen at an angle. New buy Perceptive Pixel already has a 27 inch screen on market and improvements to PixelSense could come to the platform.

And of course we could see a mini-Surface; especially with the recent partnership with Barnes and Noble and some reading projects being built by the Office team. If a small Surface tablet is announced, I expect it to be sized similar to the iPad mini and aimed at the educational market.

So that's it. Enjoy your evening or morning wherever you are