Three new Surface tablets in development at Microsoft, according to rumor

Microsoft Surface unveiling tabletHere’s a new rumor to mark down under the seems a bit early column, cross referenced with probably inevitable file – Microsoft is in the process of speccing up the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablets, along with creating a new entry into its not-as-burgeoning-as-it-hoped Windows tablet business, named the Surface Book.

The rumor suggests these new tablets are being prepared for a 2013 launch, therefore solid information on the devices is thin at the moment, and just as the Surface wasn’t well received by many of Microsoft’s partners, an expanded range isn’t likely to win it many new friends either.

The source of the rumor is the Twitter account MS_Nerd, home of the partially retired serial leaker of all things Microsoft related. As for the rumor’s validity, you can take it as MS_Nerd intended, saying in a Reddit AMA “I’m not pulling things out of my behind, I have always said I’m not giving you straight up facts. Nothing I have ever said was claimed to be official.” Keep all that in mind as we head into the meat of the latest leak.

There are three possible new Surface products. The first could be a follow-up to the existing Surface RT, but with a slightly smaller 8.6-inch screen size and a Qualcomm processor instead of the Nvidia Tegra 3 chip seen in the current Surface. The Surface Pro 2 may have an 11.6-inch screen and will abandon Intel power for an AMD Temash chip. Finally, there’s the Surface Book, which makes it sound like a convertible-style tablet, which is said to boast a big 14.6-inch screen and an Intel Haswell processor.

Out this time next year?

There’s enough information here to do a little digging, starting with the Haswell and Tamesh processors. AMD’s Tamesh chip is the rumored successor to its current low-power Hondo processor seen in tablets, but it’s not expected to be out until late 2013. Intel’s Haswell is another low-power processor designed for tablets and ultrabooks, and won’t start appearing until mid-2013 at the earliest.

As the Surface RT has only recently gone on sale, and the Surface Pro has been tentatively given a January 2013 release date, talk of their replacements seems premature. The Surface Book is a new line, and therefore could arrive earlier than the Surface sequels, which fits with the possible processor release dates.

Microsoft, like any other hardware manufacturer will almost certainly be working on updated models though, and an announcement somewhere around the one-year anniversary of the original launch would be traditional, meaning Surface 2 tablets could be out just in time to catch next year’s holiday-season shoppers.

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