A new Surface is rumored for October, but does the world need a Surface 3? (editorial)


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A new Surface is rumored for October, but does the world need a Surface 3?

So, the rumors start afresh. There has been no official confirmation, but there is talk of a new Surface device this coming October. It looks to be for all intents and purposes like the Surface 3.

The RT version of the third generation of Surface devices was notable by its absence earlier in the year when the Surface Pro 3 was unveiled. It’s looking increasingly like the Surface Mini has been knocked on the head, so it’s almost certain that the next Surface to launch — particularly when you factor in the size — will be the Surface 3. But do we really need it?

Surface 2 proved fairly popular, but interest in the more powerful Surface Pro 3 is greater. This may not have yet have translated into huge sales figures, but it’s still fairly early days. Surface Pro 3, like its predecessors, is not a cheap computer. It’s not the sort of device that people generally pick up as an impulse buy.

The cheaper non-Pro Surfaces, however, are rather a different matter. Kitted out with Windows RT rather than fully-fledged Windows 8.1, they are undeniably less capable devices — but they are also significantly cheaper. It’s the sort of thing that makes a great present for a loved one at Christmas (perhaps this is the reason for the October launch), and thus far have been priced at a very accessible level.

But RT has been Surface’s undoing. Much to Microsoft’s chagrin, app developers have shown their support for Android and iOS rather than Microsoft’s mobile operating systems. Apps remain an issue. It’s something that has improved — and the sharing of code is certainly helping here — but it’s still a problem.

There’s a bright future for Surface 3 if it is done correctly. Windows RT needs to better decide on a direction — why have the desktop mode when it’s virtually pointless? There are some Android tablets with some serious processing power available now, and the same is true of iPads. Ramp up the processor in the Surface 3, have a serious app push, and the Surface 3 could be an absolute winner.

Are you interested in a Surface 3, or would you rather hold out for the Surface Mini — if it ever sees the light of day? Maybe you’re happy with your Surface or Surface 2… or perhaps, you’ve not yet jumped from iOS or Android. What would the Surface 3 need to entice you across?