A new report from WinBeta claims that Microsoft is planning to release another Surface tablet as a successor to the Surface 2 launched back in 2013. A year later, the company unveiled the Surface Pro 3, but made no mention of a regular "Surface 3" at a lower price point; Microsoft also abruptly scraped plans for a Surface Mini that was presumably intended to compete against Apple's iPad mini.
WinBeta claims the new Surface will be unveiled before or at Microsoft's Build conference next month, and should hit retail in close proximity to that announcement. It will reportedly ship with a full version of Windows — likely to be 8.1 — and be upgradeable to Windows 10 when that ships sometime this summer.
As far as design goes, WinBeta says the Surface 3 will be fanless and run in silence thanks to the inclusion of either an Intel Atom or Core M processor. Accordingly, Microsoft is unlikely to promote the new device as a professional-caliber machine; the Surface Pro 3 will still hold that distinction for now.
Microsoft has already washed its hands of the unsuccessful Windows RT operating system, so it's no surprise to hear that all of its tablet plans now revolve around full-blown Windows. Still, the regular Surface's future was very much uncertain when it was a no show at the Surface Pro 3's 2014 debut. Now it appears the company has every intention of battling lower-priced tablets from Amazon and Google along with premium products like Apple's iPad Air 2. When asked for comment, Microsoft told The Verge it had "nothing to share' regarding a new tablet.