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Handhelds Microsoft Upgrades Hardware

Next SurfaceRT To Come With Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, LTE 157

Posted by timothy
from the market-is-a-harsh-mistress dept.
recoiledsnake writes "Following up on our previous discussion of Microsoft selling discounted SurfaceRT tablets to schools (which fueled speculation about the future of Surface RT), Bloomberg is now reporting that Microsoft is fast at work on the next Surface RT which will replace the current Tegra 3 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chip which has stellar benchmarks against the likes of the upcoming Tegra 4, Apple A6X, and Exynos processors, especially in the GPU and graphics department. Since the SoC comes with 3g/LTE, this might be the first Surface to support integrated cellular data. There are also indications that there could be an 8" version, and that the new versions might be revealed alongside the Windows 8.1 preview bits at the upcoming BUILD conference, starting on June 26."
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Next SurfaceRT To Come With Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, LTE

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  • Whoopee? (Score:5, Funny)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday June 20, 2013 @09:29AM (#44059783) Homepage Journal

    Bloomberg is now reporting that Microsoft is fast at work on the next Surface RT which will replace the current Tegra 3 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chip

    Will they also replace Windows RT with Windows? Because it seems awfully like they replaced Windows with new Folger's Crystals, and you can taste the difference.

    • by DavidD_CA (750156)

      The current Surface Pro does come with Windows 8 (the full version) and a Intel Core i5 Processor.

    • by JBMcB (73720)

      A better analogy would be they replaced your regular coffee with a mug of water and a picture of a cup of coffee. It looks somewhat like Windows but underneath it's nothing like windows.

      • by cbhacking (979169)

        The funny thing is, it's actually exactly the other way around. The usual complaint about Win8 (and Windows RT) is that it doesn't look like Windows. However, "underneath" it's exactly Windows, aside from running on ARM (and you may be too young to remember, but the NT family - which includes Win7 and Win8 - has always come on multiple architectures; with NT6.2 they dropped Itanium and picked up ARM). Remove the restriction to Microsoft-signed binaries on the desktop, and you have a decent Windows machine w

        • by JBMcB (73720)

          However, "underneath" it's exactly Windows, aside from running on ARM

          ... And missing just about every Windows UI library that's been around for 20 years.

          (and you may be too young to remember, but the NT family - which includes Win7 and Win8 - has always come on multiple architectures

          By "multiple" you mean x86-32, x86-64 and IA64, right? Or do you mean further back when NT4 ran on MIPS, Solaris, and Power?

          Remove the restriction to Microsoft-signed binaries on the desktop, and you have a decent Windows machine which simply requires that native apps be recompiled first

          In theory, yes, assuming you aren't using any x86 platform-specific calls, or optimizations, or system components wholesale deprecated by RT, or any UI other than Metro.

          (.NET apps run on-modified, and there's even some hacked-up support for Java and Python).

          Kinda sorta, see above.

    • by Solandri (704621)
      Microsoft had to make RT to hedge their bets. Regardless of whether it succeeds or fails, it needed to be made.

      10 years ago everyone knew PDAs and phones were going to converge. They just didn't know if PDAs would gain phone calling capabilities, or if phones would get a PDA grafted onto them. It turned out to be the latter.

      Similarly, everyone today knows these mobile computing devices and PCs are going to converge. Well, a portion of the PC fanbase is in denial. But I think everyone else, at lea
  • but it will still be an ARM version of Win8 that isn't compatible with what people want to run right now.

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      Microsoft really gets a a hard time trying to change anything. When Apple dropped OS9 support when moving to OSX, or when they dropped PowerPC support moving to X86, or when they created a tablet that wasn't compatible with their desktop operating system, nobody did this much complaining. But everytime MS tries to do anything that changes anything in anyway people say they are making bad decisions. ARM will have to get a lot faster before they can run real Windows and all the standard Windows applications
      • The problem is the name. Why call it "Windows-whatever" if it can't run Windows applications?

        I would have called the OS "Doors". The marketing department would have a field day with this. "Open new Doors to exciting possibilities" and other bullshit.

        • by roc97007 (608802)

          > The problem is the name. Why call it "Windows-whatever" if it can't run Windows applications?

          Guessing, but in the hopes that uneducated people will buy it thinking it's Windows?

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          I would have called the OS "Doors".

          I AM THE LIZARD KING! *jumps off a chair*

      • It's not that they're trying to change anything. It's that they're doing nothing to dispel the serious misperception that using the name Windows on it creates. That's a problem and will cost them big when people realize they've bought a device based on false impressions.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        It is because Microsoft's main strength has been its backwards compatibility. You don't buy an Apple for compatibility. You buy it for other reasons. Those reasons stay the same even when you change processor. People buy Windows because it runs Windows programs. They don't buy it because it's simple or powerful or any other reason.
      • by gl4ss (559668)

        umm in each of those cases they didn't just outright drop support. it took several releases for support for the old to die.
        surface wouldn't be that bad if you could port windows ce apps to it.. that's what is wrong with surface rt.

        they should have called the os on surface rt something like "Metros" or Meteor or some shit like that. not windows.

      • Microsoft really gets a a hard time trying to change anything. When Apple dropped OS9 support when moving to OSX, or when they dropped PowerPC support moving to X86, or when they created a tablet that wasn't compatible with their desktop operating system, nobody did this much complaining.

        When Apple dropped Mac OS 9 it was after around five years of providing the ability to run OS 9 applications via the 'Classic Environment' emulation layer on OS X 10.0 through to 10.4. When they dropped Power PC support you could continue to run PPC OS X applications on Intel OS X via Rosetta for around six years (10.4 through to 10.6). Although such architecture changes were not seamless there were quite lengthy transitional phases to lessen the impact on end users and developers.

        When Apple created the i

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        That is because the appleites bought Apple hardware to run Apple software, there was really only a small handful of popular non Apple produced software and it was the kind of stuff that was sold yearly like the DTP software.

        MSFT is the exact opposite, people have HUGE piles of money investing in windows X86 software and damned near NONE of it was made by MSFT, and the ones it was made by? Isn't gonna kiss Ballmer's sweaty ass and hand over 30% of all their sales just to be put in their lousy appstore,especi

      • by gtall (79522)

        When Apple moved from OS9 to OSX, you could still run OS9 in a padded cell. From PowerPC to X86, you could run both executables up through 10.4 or 10.5. Apple never claimed their iThings were little Macs, in fact they claimed they were a new kind of device, or an old one done well this time.

        MS came out with something they called windows but wasn't because it couldn't run the same apps. And even the x86 version of their Surface is a frankendevice...see, it isn't a lap top, it isn't a pad, it's both. Only a f

      • by unixisc (2429386)

        Microsoft really gets a a hard time trying to change anything. When Apple dropped OS9 support when moving to OSX, or when they dropped PowerPC support moving to X86, or when they created a tablet that wasn't compatible with their desktop operating system, nobody did this much complaining. But everytime MS tries to do anything that changes anything in anyway people say they are making bad decisions. ARM will have to get a lot faster before they can run real Windows and all the standard Windows applications on it. I really think the only major failings of their Surface line is that it's a little to expensive for what it is. Surface RT would be nice if the price was a little closer to the Nexus 7 than it is to the iPad, and their Surface Pro should be a little close in price to the iPad. But I think they got the basic idea and concept right.

        Actually, Apple put a great deal of effort in the migration from Motorola 68k to PPC, and the initial Power Macs based on the PPC601 and 604 had the OS ported, and supported 68k apps through emulation. Apple also worked w/ ISVs in porting those apps from 68k to the 601, and that was how a number of them saw their speeds improve. As for the move from PPC to x86, they had already been working on x86 in parallel to PPC, and moreover, NEXTSTEP already existed on x86 to begin with. As a result, the transi

      • Apple had an advantage with their CPU migration: the new CPU was much faster than the old one. The PowerPC was introduced at 60MHz, whereas the fastest 68040 that they sold was 40MHz and clock-for-clock the PowerPC was faster. When they switched to Intel, their fastest laptops had a 1.67GHz G4 and were replaced by Core Duos starting at 1.84GHz. The G4 was largely limited by memory bandwidth at high speeds. In both cases, emulated code on the new machines ran slightly slower than it had on the fastest Ma

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The baffling thing is that RT could be alright. It could run re-compiled apps from anyone. Legacy software would be a problem, but anything actively developed would be ported with little effort. That would rock! There is actually a lot of really useful OSS software for windows. .. But you can't do this. You can, if you root the device. But it's unsupported.

      Instead, MS wants you to buy software only through their app store. Just like apple devices. Trouble is, there is already a very active and very large de

      • by webheaded (997188)
        The only reason anyone uses Windows is to run Windows apps. If I want tablet stuff, Android does it better. They've taken a Windows OS, removed the ability to run Windows programs, and tried to force everyone to get stuff from their store so that they can get a cut and so that they can control what is allowed to be in said store. Why on Earth would I want to encourage that? If they let me side load, that would be one thing and I could simply opt out of the store, but you can't. On top of that, they bar
  • by Henriok (6762) on Thursday June 20, 2013 @09:37AM (#44059883)
    Even though increased hardware performance like computing power, features and increased battery life certainly won't hurt, performance isn't really the problem with Windows RT tablets now is it?
    • by tutufan (2857787)
      Yes, the time it was taking to port Linux onto it was too long...
    • Tegra 3 wasn't bad. But on Surface RT there were also times where it was clearly not up to the task of running Windows software. [anandtech.com]

      Simply typing quickly in Microsoft Word maxes the single threaded performance of Tegra 3's ARM Cortex A9 cores. I've seen CPU usage a high as 50% when typing very quickly, but mostly it tends to sit between 20 - 40%. Switch to notepad and max CPU utilization drops to sub 10%. This says more about Office 2013 than the performance of NVIDIA's Tegra 3, but there are not a whole lot of

  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Thursday June 20, 2013 @09:41AM (#44059921)

    Until and unless they change "Windows" RT so that it lets non-Microsoft applications run on the desktop, no one cares. People aren't writing applications for Metro and aren't going to start. If they opened up the desktop, then at least many existing programs would work with just a recompile.

    Why are the EU antitrust authorities letting them get away with this, anyway? (I'd ask the same about the US, but for all intents and purposes we don't *have* antitrust authorities.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Until and unless they change "Windows" RT so that it lets non-Microsoft applications run on the desktop, no one cares.

      There are plenty of Windows 8 tablets out there that do exactly this. Windows RT is for people who want an iPad analogue. i.e. they have no want or need to install legacy applications on their tablet.

      People aren't writing applications for Metro and aren't going to start.

      There are currently 92,000 apps in the Windows store [metrostorescanner.com], and it's growing at an average rate of 591 apps per day. Using Apple's latest figures (from WWDC) for the iPad, the iPad appstore is growing at an average of 435 apps per day. This also includes some double counting for "free" and "paid" versions, which the

      • There are plenty of Windows 8 tablets out there that do exactly this. Windows RT is for people who want an iPad analogue. i.e. they have no want or need to install legacy applications on their tablet.

        Except that people who want an iPad analogue just buy an iPad because they want to run iPad apps. You don't buy a product because of it's lack of compatibility with Windows.

        • There are plenty of other reasons to buy a Windows tablet over iPad. The Windows store is at 90k apps and growing fast, so the app argument is becoming less and less convincing.
          • There are plenty of other reasons to buy a Windows tablet over iPad..

            If there where you would be arguing on those points. The frightening thing is Android manufacturers now outsell the iPad in the tablet market, is the shrinking iPad market(closed devices sold on brand rather than substance) really the market Microsoft should be chasing.

          • There are plenty of other reasons to buy a Windows tablet over iPad.

            SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!

            And remember we are discussing Surface RT here not Pro.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              The single biggest advantage is the ability to display more than one app at a time. When I show my iPad using friends this, they get very jealous. I've personally switched 4 people into the Windows RT camp using this feature alone. Windows 8.1 will make it even better by adding the ability to run multiple instances of an app, between-app information sharing, and variable width frames.

              Aside from that, in no particular order:
              • Multiple user accounts
              • Flash support (means free Hulu)
              • Built in: USB, video out, m
              • by Sepodati (746220)

                That's a great list. The only thing on my wishlist is to lose the mandatory Appstore buying.

                But I'm happy with a stock kindle fire HD, win8 on a laptop and Linux on other machines, so I'm easy to please.

              • I think the only feature I don't have from that list on my ASUS TransformerPad (Android) is multiple user accounts (which is something I'd like, but is difficult to hack into the crappy way Android handles sandboxing). Oh, and I have a nice keyboard and a tolerable trackpad built in when the device is in clamshell mode and easily detachable when I want to use it as a tablet.
      • There are currently 92,000 apps in the Windows store [metrostorescanner.com], and it's growing at an average rate of 591 apps per day. Using Apple's latest figures (from WWDC) for the iPad, the iPad appstore is growing at an average of 435 apps per day. This also includes some double counting for "free" and "paid" versions, which the Windows app store bundles into one app.

        It's funny how you apparently think that shines a positive light on the situation.

        The iOS App Store has existed how long? And how many apps are on it? If the Windows Apps store were doing well, at this early point in its existence you'd hope the number of apps would be increasing an order of magnitude faster than that.

        • by vux984 (928602)

          If the Windows Apps store were doing well, at this early point in its existence you'd hope the number of apps would be increasing an order of magnitude faster than that.

          Why? Because someone would sit and browse through 4000 new apps a day, every day?

          The reality is that as long as the major apps people care about are on the platform, and there is a steady treadmill of games to burn through, its good enough.

          I'll never even see a tiny fraction of the apps on either app store. So the fact that they are "there

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        > Windows RT is for people who want an iPad analogue.

        Then... why not get an ipad? Just wonderin'.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Why are the EU antitrust authorities letting them get away with this, anyway?

      Because Microsoft has been in mobile for ages and is nowhere near a monopoly there. Not even vaguely close. They have relatively little influence over the mobile market and what little they have traditionally had was related to their influence over the corporate market.

      • by JDG1980 (2438906)

        But they are attempting to use their monopoly on the desktop to leverage themselves into a better position in the mobile market (via Metro). Using a monopoly to leverage yourself into a different market is one of the things traditionally prohibited by antitrust law.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          But they are attempting to use their monopoly on the desktop to leverage themselves into a better position in the mobile market (via Metro). Using a monopoly to leverage yourself into a different market is one of the things traditionally prohibited by antitrust law.

          Yes, and if they are actually ever successful at it, then I'm sure the EU will do something about it. As long as they continue to fail spectacularly, there's no money in taking them to court. They can only justify fining them massively if they have actually benefited.

  • MSFT tends to get things right on their third go. Surface is getting Outlook and a start menu in the next month or so. Surface 2 is going to have a higher resolution display. Will it work? Who knows - but they seem to be giving it a serious shake.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Vanderhoth (1582661)
      Not getting the start menu. It's getting a start BUTTON. It still takes you to metro, so no thanks. It's a crap product that no one wants.
      • You want a start menu on a tablet?
        • by Molt (116343)
          I want a desktop OS on my desktop.
        • You want to have Metro on a tablet, fine, that's ok, but it's not what people want on a desktop. So MS throws the button back on and calls it a menu to try and fool desktop users, but it's not a menu, it's a BUTTON, and everyone know it, so they haven't done what was asked.

          No wonder windows 8 was such a flop, the people in charge don't even know the difference between basic UI elements.
          • So MS throws the button back on and calls it a menu to try and fool desktop users

            Microsoft has not once called the start button added in Windows 8.1 the "start menu". Go find a quote direct from a microsoft representative or blog stating as such. I'll wait all day.

            • You can tell the truth and still be dishonest.
            • I see what you did there. There tons of references from news articles and blogs, but you wouldn't accept them anyway because it's second hand "re-tweeting". Aside from that the original comment I made was telling blarkon not to call it a menu. Good strategy, change the subject then attack new post rather than defending a lost cause.

              Obvious troll is obvious.
              • Your literal words were "So MS throws the button back on and calls it a menu to try and fool desktop users" but this is a compelte lie. MS never called it a menu. Blarkon called it a menu, you corrected him. But then you go on to attribute his confusion to Microsoft, which is completely wrong. You want to fault me for calling you out? Go ahead. Doesn't change the facts.
  • with apple sucking up most of the world's money it seems like people think Microsoft will save them again

    • When did Microsoft save anyone from anything?

    • with apple sucking up most of the world's money it seems like people think Microsoft will save them again

      I am not even sure what this means, if you are referring to the fact that Apple managed to launch a successful *tablet* and siphon up most of the early adopter money. As it did with the the Mp3 Player(The only market Apple managed to maintain in the lead in both the maturing...and now its decline), and Smartphone...the Tablet...Microsoft failed to compete with *All* of them. Its no secret of how they have managed to Destroy Nokia...a company Huawei said they would not buy this week because of its choice of

    • I'm glad to see MS in this market. I fondly remember the competition in the late '80s and early '90s, with half a dozen serious players in the home computer market and a lot more smaller ones. I'd love to see 5-6 decent operating systems for mobile phones and tablets. I'm also glad to see that they're not doing especially well, but I'd be very happy to see them with 10-20% of the market and none of their competitors with more than 40%.
  • Thank Goodness! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday June 20, 2013 @10:02AM (#44060119) Journal

    This is such good news! All the complaints about 'Surface RT' that I've heard so far have centered on how the Tegra3 is too slow, and doesn't have enough LTE. Nothing about how the hilariously perfunctory not-quite-office version of office is deeply touch-unfriendly, or being locked into Microsoft's walled garden store, or the relatively tiny application library. This should fix everything!

    • I expect the conversation went like this:

      "You know, all the user feedback is that people can't run their Windows software on Windows RT, and the dedicated store apps are still lacking in breadth."

      "Hmmm...let's fix that with the second release"

      "Oooo! I know, we'll make the processor faster and add faster, expensive networking to it!!"

      "That's a wrap, guys - lets get this thing into production!"

  • by MachineShedFred (621896) on Thursday June 20, 2013 @10:31AM (#44060439) Journal

    And all 15 of the people that bought, and kept, their Surface RT tablets are now going to be pissed at the 6 month product lifecycle.

    With the deep discounts that Microsoft is giving on these things, they're getting dangerously close to "we can't even give them away."

    • And Microsoft is dangerously passing the message "don't buy now, wait until we give you all a huge discount later" for its customers.
      Zune? Flop. Discounted and still flopped...
      Windows Mobile Phones? Flop. And Lumia is even behind Blackberries
      Surface? Flop. Give it for free to say we have marketshare.
      Xbox One? Walking down the flop path, but some hope still exists...
      • by cbhacking (979169)

        Surface Pro is actually selling well. Surface RT not that well, but better than (for example) Chromebooks or most Android tablets. Nobody seems to be calling out Google for releasing "flops" though...

        Windows Mobile was actually a reasonably popular smartphone OS in its heyday, although the smartphone market was tiny compared to today back then. Windows Phone is solidly in third place right now, and its share is growing (not explosively, but steadily).

        • although the smartphone market was tiny compared to today back then

          Which was a direct function of practically every smartphone of the period being a major piece of shit. Smartphones only became slightly useable when RIM started getting traction with Blackberry, and the explosive growth we see today is due to iPhone and versions of Android that don't suck.

          Did Microsoft try first? Sure - you could go all the way back to Windows CE for that. Did they fail for years? Also yes.

  • by Kagato (116051) on Thursday June 20, 2013 @10:56AM (#44060717)

    The Good: RT gets us into ARM and it leaves behind a ton of baggage that has hindered good development on MS platforms.

    The Bad: Microsoft can't market their way out of a wet paper sack. Looking at the commercials all I can tell is there's a snap on keyboard and people in Washington State like to dance. Moreover, even the BlackBerry Tablet had a bigger release profile and certainly better availability in stores. All of this lead to very few apps and developers that threw their lot in with RT early on getting burned.

    The Ugly: Do a Pro Tablet, or do a RT tablet. Don't do both. Consumers have no idea what the difference is. The ones that bought an RT tablet feel pretty underwhelmed by the app availability.

    • The Good: RT gets us into ARM and it leaves behind a ton of baggage that has hindered good development on MS platforms.

      I personally agree with you that Windows reliance(and advantages) of Intel and X86 have come to the end of their usefulness for Microsoft, and is now a massive albatross around its neck. At least they both get to sit with their 70% profit margins. Perhaps they should have done something sooner...or at least compete on price(Still find it hilarious that Apple haven't with their dropping profits)...at least they still have the lacklustre desktop market, unless Chrome...or got forbid a manufacture gets serious

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        intel could manufacture other chips in quite high quality(industry highest) if it came down to it.

        the rt from ms is wanting mobile bucks. but it's not just that, it's tied into the windows 8 push for metro which is a push for becoming the distributor of sw on "windows" machines. rt is a trial on having only metro apps machine, with only sw from the ms store. because they have potentially tens of billions riding on that.

        the desktop market isn't that lackluster.. it's where all the high margin big bucks sw is

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