Monday, 24 April 2017 01:47

New Surface Laptop Leak Reveals Microsoft's Latest Plan


Microsoft’s event on May 2nd is expected to see the Redmond-based company continue to push its ambitions in cloud-based services with a tweaked version of Windows 10 and a potential low-cost Surface device designed to fight the rise of Google’s Chromebook platform in the educational market.

As discussed last week on Forbes, Microsoft’s focus will primarily on software, and how this can drive users into the cloud. But it also offers an opportunity to debut new hardware that backs up the drive to the cloud. There is a suspicion that Microsoft will release a lower-specced Surface device that will use Windows 10 Cloud - a new variant of Windows 10 that focuses on cloud services and has an eye on lower cost technology.

It may be that Microsoft keeps the Surface brand for the higher end equipment, but with the recent leak of specifications around Windows 10 Cloud machines, Microsoft is going to be part of the game, even if it is via third-party hardware.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (image: Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)Bloomberg
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (image: Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

The leaked details were first reported by Daniel Rubino on Windows Central and not only include the real world targets that a Windows 10 Cloud machine should be looking to achieve ( including ten hours of battery life for all-day use, twenty seconds from cold boot to login, and resume to login in under two seconds; all of which are comparable to Chromebook benchmarks) but also includes the recommended minimum specifications: a quad-core processor (Celeron or better), 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage (64GB if it is a 64-bit system), a battery in excess of 40Whr and a ‘fast’ eMMC or SSD. Use of a pen or touch-enabled screen is specifically noted as being optional.

This is slightly higher than the Surface 3 which was discontinued last year (its Intel Atom chip and 28WHr battery being the two black marks) so there is space in Microsoft’s own portfolio for a refreshed Surface 3 style device.

Microsoft Surface 3 (Image: Ewan Spence)Ewan Spence
Microsoft Surface 3 (Image: Ewan Spence)

Thanks to the use of the #MicrosoftEDU hashtag, it is fair to say that the education market will feature in the May 2nd event. Once you look at the Chromebook growth in the education market, Microsoft’s push toward cloud-based services, rumors of a low-cast clamshell device with potential Surface branding and the details obtained by Windows Central, a clear picture emerges of Microsoft’s ambition to use low-cost hardware to increase the adoption of its cloud-based services.

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