It appears that Microsoft is building up on its Surface line-up of tablets by introducing a 7-inch gaming tablet that is being dubbed the Xbox Surface, a report by The Verge states.
Rumours of the Xbox Surface had first appeared in June, when the Microsoft Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets had not even been announced.
The report by The Verge states that the Xbox Surface, in all likelihood, features a custom ARM processor and high-bandwidth RAM designed specifically for gaming tasks. Multiple sources familiar with the plans have stated that these specifications could be changed to accommodate an unannounced Intel SoC, and that the Xbox Surface is being developed independent of specific hardware architecture.
A smaller gaming Surface in the works?
Reportedly, the Xbox Surface tablet will not run the full version of Windows as the Surface Pro tablet does. Instead, it would feature a custom Windows kernel. Though messaging and other features may be supported, the primary focus will be on gaming.
Microsoft has recently developed a secret hardware production process for the Surface tablets that is separate from those of its partners, which usually manufacture the brand’s Xbox consoles. Sources have informed the Verge that this Xbox Surface may be manufactured in the same factory.
The report ends by stating that sources in the know have informed the Verge that a part of the Xbox Surface is being developed at Microsoft’s offices in Silicon Valley, and that the tech giant recently locked down several Xbox-related buildings as well as limiting employee access to the company's Interactive Entertainment Business division.
The website believes that this lock down is associated with Microsoft’s increased testing of this Xbox Surface tablet, and this will help them provide a way for other members of the Xbox team to develop games that are especially designed for this tablet. “Providing the project doesn't get killed in favor of a full 7-inch Windows tablet, in the same way Microsoft axed Courier, expect to see the Xbox Surface debut ahead of Microsoft's future Xbox console.”
First unveiled in June, the Surface has a light and durable casing, integrated kickstand, Touch Cover, a USB port, a 16:9 widescreen, and a high-definition display with a 22-degree angle. Microsoft claims that Surface lets customers seamlessly make the transition between entertainment and content creation.
There is no official word yet on the availability of the Surface in India. However, one can pre-order its 32GB version from eBay. The eBay seller, cart2india2010, has put up the listing as a pre-order. From the looks of it, cart2india2010 has quite a few tablets in stock, available through a ‘Buy it Now’ option and free shipping facility. The different modes of payment for the tablet include PaisaPay, credit card, EMI and debit card. The seller notes that the pre-orders will start shipping from November 2012, subject to time extension after the order is received. The seller is located in New Jersey, United States, and is selling the 32GB variant at Rs 38,490.