Smaller Surface Tablets May Arrive in June

Although we already assumed that Microsoft would reveal next-generation Surface devices at BUILD 2013 in June, upstream supply chain sources are now backing up that assumption, claiming that they have already shipped components for 1 to 1.5 million Intel-based units since the end of 2012. They also confirm that this next wave will include form factors ranging from 7-inches to 9-inches in size.

Sources told DigiTimes that Microsoft has retained most of its component suppliers for the second-generation wave. Pegatron Technology will continue to manufacture the Surface devices while Ju Teng will provide the chassis, replacing China-based Chungnam Precision Casing who provided the chassis for the first-generation units.

Also on board is Samsung Electronics and LG Displays who are providing the displays, Corning for the protective glass, and TPK and Youngfast for the touch panels. LG Chem is providing the batteries, Intel and Nvidia are providing the SoCs, and Chicony Electronics and Ko Ja (Cayman) are supplying the keyboards.

Naturally the suppliers have declined to comment about Surface shipments, and Microsoft takes the "we don't comment on rumors and speculation" stance. Regardless, sources claim the Redmond company will be more cautious with the new Surface units given that the first generation fell short of its expectations of selling 3 to 4 million units. The first Surface RT tablet reportedly only sold 1 million units whereas the Surface Pro tablet, which launched earlier this year, has only sold around 500,000 units.

Outside the North American market, Microsoft continues to expand its tablet reach. The Surface RT tablet has already landed in Malaysia, and is expected to arrive in Mexico by the end of May, and in Korea and Thailand in June. Meanwhile, the Surface Pro tablet will arrive in Australia and Austria in May, and in Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore and Thailand in June.

Microsoft's BUILD Developer Conference will take place on June 26 – 28, just weeks after the company will fully reveal its Windows 8-powered Xbox Infinity console. The company is expected to launch a number of new ARM-based and x86-based Surface tablets during the conference along with solutions provided by ODM partners. The company is also slated to reveal more about its "Blue" rollout which includes Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1, Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows Server 2012.

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