Microsoft is making a major announcement today in Los Angeles at 3:30 p.m. PST. Nobody has any idea what it is and Microsoft has been very secretive with the announcement. The major consensus at this point seems to be that it's going to be a tablet, but what kind of tablet? A recent leak may hold the answers.
Thanks to a leak coming out of Shifted2u, we know that the potential Microsoft tablet may be called the Xbox Surface. That fits in with a rumor we reported on earlier this morning that Microsoft was working with Barnes & Noble to make a Nook tablet that streams Xbox Live content. The Xbox Surface is a little more interesting than that, however, if the leaked document ends up being true.
The leaked documents reveals that the Xbox Surface has a 7.0 ince multi-touch LED screen, a max resolution of 1280x720, SD card slot, bluetooth and Wi-Fi. That's a pretty standard tablet by today's standards, but the innards is what really excites me as a technophile and a gamer.
The document says that the Xbox Surface will be powered by two IBM POWER7 SCMs with each SCM having 6 active cores at 3.1 GHz. It's also rumored to have 5 GB of DDR3 RAM and a custom 28nm GPU from AMD featuring 1.2 GB of memory and full Direct3D 11 support.
As for storage, it will have a 250 GB disk drive alongside storage that can be expanded via USB drives. It will also have support for up to four wireless game controllers and one headphone port per controller which pretty much confirms that it uses Xbox 360 controllers. It also features 4 USB 3.0 ports and component video/HDMI out.
As you can see, this machine is not a tablet, but rather some kind of awesome monster PC hiding inside of a tablet. I can already feel the skepticism and you wouldn't be wrong to be skeptical. Tablets today are weak compared to this, but maybe Microsoft needs this to grab our attention. If they just announced a tablet, it wouldn't be news. If they announced a tablet that's many times more powerful than the iPad or anything else on the market, that's news.
Of course, the real question is how to find a market for such a thing. A lot of people just want tablets for content consumption and nothing else. They're fine with shallow experiences that allow them brief distractions from their day. If true, the Xbox Surface will be the tablet for the power user and gamer. It will be Microsoft handheld that many consumers have wanted for years to combat the 3DS and the PS Vita. It will just have the extra benefit of being able to compete head-on as a portable computer as well.
It's important to note that this is all a rumor for now. We won't know anything until tonight at 6:30 p.m. PST. If this is true though, count me among the first in line. I haven't jumped on the tablet bandwagon yet due to my status as a power user. The iPads and Kindle Fires of the world just don't cut it. The Xbox Surface, if true, would cut it and then some.
Thanks to our readers pointing out my own lack of being able to see light grey text on a white background, it would appear that the Xbox Surface document points to two separate devices. One of them being the tablet with the other being a "stationary computing device." What does it all mean? It's too early to tell at the moment, but it could be the next Xbox. We'll find out later tonight at Microsoft's press event.