Signs of the dwindling stock of Microsoft’s Surface 3 tablet emerged in June when several specific configurations disappeared from the company’s online store. Originally, Microsoft offered four configurations, but that was reduced to a single 64GB/2GB Wi-Fi + LTE model. The removal triggered a query into what was going on with Microsoft’s third-generation Surface tablet.
“Since launching Surface 3 over a year ago, we have seen strong demand and satisfaction amongst our customers. Inventory is now limited and by the end of December 2016, we will no longer manufacture Surface 3 devices,” Microsoft said in a statement.
Now it is November and Microsoft has yet to reveal the Surface 4. In fact, the company held a press conference last week revealing Windows 10 Creators Update, the Surface Book with Performance Base, and the Surface Studio all-in-one desktop. We expected Microsoft to reveal a new, cheaper Surface 4 tablet to sit alongside the current Surface Pro 4, but that did not happen.
If you dig into Microsoft’s online store and you can find a listing for the Surface 3, but the three shown configurations are displayed as out of stock: the 64GB/2GB Wi-Fi model, the 64GB/2GB Wi-Fi + LTE model, and the 128GB/4GB Wi-Fi model. They do not seem to be in stock at Microsoft’s brick-and-mortar locations across the nation either.
Given that the tablets are not listed as in stock on Microsoft’s online store, chances are the company may not load up a new batch to sell despite ending production at the end of the year. That pushes consumers to head to third-party outlets like Amazon and Best Buy. For instance, there appears to be plenty to choose from on Amazon in new, refurbished, and used conditions. Best Buy only shows two units of $600 each: the 128GB Wi-Fi model and the 64GB Wi-Fi + LTE model.
If you live in the U.K., Microsoft’s online store lists four Surface 3 configurations, all of which are shown as out of stock. But again, U.K. customers can load up Amazon to find many different Surface 3 configurations in new, refurbished, and used conditions. For instance, the Surface 3 unit with 64GB of storage, 2GB of memory, and Wi-Fi connectivity only can be purchased for about $667 without the type cover.
Finally, as pointed out by Neowin, a search through Microsoft’s online store in Australia shows that the 64GB/2GB Wi-Fi + LTE model is still in stock for about $710 whereas the 128GB/4GB Wi-Fi + LTE model is not. Surprisingly, Amazon is not selling the Surface 3 tablet at all in this territory.
With the tablet market currently tanking thanks to bigger smartphones and thinner, more powerful 2-in-1 form factors, Microsoft may not issue a fourth-generation Surface tablet. If it does, chances are the device will not appear until the Creators Update arrives in the spring. Maybe Microsoft is holding off until then so the Surface 4 tablet will differentiate itself from the current crowd. That is just speculation for now.
Microsoft’s current Surface tablet is 18 months old. It sports an Intel Atom x7 processor whereas the Surface Pro 4, which is 12 months old, relies on Intel’s sixth-generation Skylake m3/i5/i7 processors. As a comparison, the new Surface Book with Performance Base models relies on Intel’s sixth-generation processors as well.
If Microsoft does roll out a new Surface unit, it could very well rely on Intel’s seventh-generation Kaby Lake mobile lineup. The Atom family, it seems, is not making a return to tablets.