Under the Radar
Microsoft has spent a fortune advertising Surface and Windows 8, and the click-heavy promotion will continue until the company has either hammered home the message, or gives up and tries something else. To sway users not tempted by the Windows RT version, the low-power, low-battery life or high-price of the first range of devices, a second round is coming soon to enliven the offering.
With Intel bring a bunch of new processors to market, including its fourth-generation Core 'Haswell' family, expect new sizes and more power for Microsoft's own-brand of tablet computing device and those from partners. The way was cleared for these devices with Microsoft redefining of sizing rules for Windows 8 tablet devices last month.
So, second-generation devices are definitely on the way and could be unveiled as early as June at Build according to those pesky sources. With a 7" dinky model likely to appeal to those who want a Windows device for media consumption and browsing and larger-screen versions for those who want to peer into the far corners of spreadsheets without as much scrolling around.
Xbox Marks the Spot
This June date will come shortly after Microsoft unveils its next-generation Xbox games and media console, along with a new batch of services. Expect these tablets to interact in a more evolved way than the current Xbox does with the SmartGlass app. With games likely playable across devices, as Sony's PlayStation 4 and PS Vita will do, expect these new Surface devices to be sold with a heavy entertainment, family focus.
Also expect the power of Intel's latest processors to be high in the marketing lines. While a Haswell unit might not fit in the smaller Surfaces, there is an Ultrabook version that can boast 15-watt power consumption for far greater battery life, impressive processing and graphics power, plus support for up to three external screens (that'll be some dongle though).
Perhaps these new processors and services will combine in a sweet spot that (with the correct pricing) will give these new Surface devices massive appeal. Microsoft will certainly have learnt a few lessons from its first outing and with it slowing gaining market share (1.8% of the tablet market according to IDC), there could be some major upside for the only company that is really pushing the tablet/PC concept front and center (most other players keeping it as a niche offering).