Remember those Surface tablets that Microsoft is getting ready to start selling at Microsoft Stores and some other temporary “holiday” stores in twelve different cities in the United States including New York. These Surface tablets are only the first of a planned family of Windows devices. In other words, Surface 2.0 is already under development and we may possible see a yearly release much like a lot of Apple’s iOS devices.
Microsoft’s corporate communications chief, Frank Show, said recently that calling Surface “our new family of PCs built to be the ultimate stage for Windows” was not anything more than a “literary license” and that there was nothing more than the current two tablets already announced. The Surface team is “currently building the next generation of devices that fully express the Windows vision,” according to more than a dozen of different job advertisements that was posted on the Microsoft Careers website between the months of June and August. The advertisements are dated after the name of the original table-sized Surface that was changed to PixelSense, so they’re not left over from that and all the advertisements mostly look like this:
“The Surface Team focuses on lighting up Microsoft experiences with touch first computing. A fundamental part of our strategy is having desirable and powerful devices that enable the experiences people want, and elicit their excitement. Creating these devices involves a close partnership between hardware and software engineers, designers, and manufacturing. We are currently building the next generation and Surface needs you!”
They said they’re only building the first two Generations of Surface, but it’s no doubt that they’ll take the route Apple is going with the yearly generation releases. I also have no doubt that they’ll do this if the Surface tablets really begin to sell well. I guess we’ll just see what happens on October 26th when they actually officially release.
The question is though, does the “next generation” of Surface devices actually mean a new Surface tablet? One of the job advertisements for a mechanical engineer reveals that Microsoft is looking for the “understanding of touch display architecture and experience in mechanical integration of large displays into electronic products.” That said, the Surface team could possibly also be working on a potential successor to the 80-inch Perceptive Pixel wall screen or “surface.” Microsoft has said in the past that they want to make these cheaper, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if that’s what they are actively working on.
It is definitely obvious that the Surface team is working on mobile computing devices, because again, according to the advertisements, a Senior Electrical Engineer will be working on “the electrical design and qualification of AC-DC power supplies and adapters.” The interesting thing is that you only need those adapters for battery-powered devices. That said, it would be very surprising if Microsoft wasn’t working on the next generation of Surface tablets.
Apple is always working on the new iPad and Android tablets will always continue to improve and get a whole lot better than the past tablets. The only thing is the scope of the jobs Microsoft is hiring for shows that they aren’t just keeping Surface up to date with future processor advancements. I think that they’re trying to build up a fully product design and development team to keep innovating. One thing that I really like about Microsoft is their constant innovation, they’re always coming out with something new and different. The Surface is a huge example of that model.
Positions are ranging from Mechanical Engineers to Component Specialists and Materials Experts to Driver Developers and Audio Engineers, on top of a substantial team of top of the line industrial designers and engineers that are already on the team that is developing the Surface tablet. Not only that, but there are also positions for Manufacturing and Packaging Designers.
What’s really interesting is that Each job description has mentioned “fast-paced product development cycles.” that said, it’s only obvious that Microsoft will be trying to keep up with the launch schedules of other PC and tablet makers. Honestly, if Apple does not start getting some new and innovating stuff going soon, Microsoft’s “fast-paced product development cycles” are going to blow them out of the water. I do hope that they’ll have actual new upgrades instead of the minimal amount of improvements that Apple does on all of their supposed “new generations.”
The plants for the next generation of the Surface tablet are almost as ambitious as the innovations of the Touch Cover. Microsoft is currently looking for a Materials Engineer to work with “new materials including metals, ceramics, plastics and thin films” along with “finishing processes such as paint, plating and PVD.” PVD stands for Physical Vapor Deposition. Essentially it coats surfaces with a micron-thick layer that does not wear off. It’s used to make Formula One engines run a whole loot cooler along with giving luxury watches their hard-wearing finish and with the right coating it can actually make different phones waterproof. Could that actually mean the possibility of a waterproof tablet? That would definitely be a interesting concept.
Interestingly enough, one Senior Engineer will be looking at different designs including “alternative power sources.” It’s very well a possibility that Microsoft could possibly be considering fuel cells or a new battery formula that will give the successor to the Surface Plus the ARM-like battery life that Intel has constantly struggled to deliver to the public. Another Mechanical Engineer will also be working on both “passive and active cooling thermal designs that best balance performance, cost, manufacturability, acoustics and reliability.”
If you think about, giving the new tablets the Surface name was actually a very good move. Not only is it an awesome name for a table-size multi-person device, but it also had to help keep the tablet project a secret as they worked to develop it more.
If the high security had somehow slipped and someone was able to see any sort of reference to “the Surface Team” or touch technology being used for Surface devices or even Surface hardware being mentioned in the same sentence as Xbox or Zune, there wouldn’t be a very intriguing or suspicious codename to actually get everyone excited about. If needed, Surface could of hid in the open air as people would of though it was an existing product that wouldn’t go mainstream. Very, very smart on Microsoft’s part.
That said, you should have an idea of how secretive the Surface has been. You can imagine it was on as much security as Apple’s first iPhone, just amped up by ten times. Either way, the Surface is really shaping up to look nice and we can’t wait to get our hands on one of them. It’s no doubt that Microsoft will be keeping the details of what’s in store for the next generation of the Surface just as secret. With Microsoft’s planned “fast-paced product development cycles” there’s no doubt that you’ll be seeing the result of that very, soon. Apple releases a new iPad and/or iPhone on a yearly basis, so it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see a new Surface release on a yearly basis. The only thing is, I hope they actually put some effort into it. Apple seems to add simple details to their devices and then throw it out to the market. It’ll be pretty interesting to see how it all plays out.
The real question is though, is the public really going to allow for another Apple formula? Lately with all the lawsuits being opened up from them I personally have seen a whole lot of people asking about things like “Where’s the innovation?” or “Why are you trying to keep technological advancements to yourselves?” Those are just a small number of statements that I’ve seen, so hopefully we won’t see Microsoft ending up doing the same thing. In fact, if Microsoft’s history says anything, they’ll be the exact opposite of Apple and it’ll be a huge surprise if they ended up going down that route.
Either way, we’re really excited to see new information pop up on the Surface. According to the job listings that Microsoft is looking for the Surface 2.0 is going to be a whole lot better than the Surface. Thus, I’m hoping that we won’t be seeing another Apple disaster. Personally, I’m really excited to see what Microsoft’s Surface is going to be all about and I’m sure a lot of you are too. Not to mention we’ll all be looking for future news on Surface 2.0!
Depending on how much it’s going to cost, I’ll probably be among the first to pre-order it. Will you be pre-ordering it or even looking into getting one in the future? You already know it looks really cool and is a pretty unique innovation so it might be worth something looking into. Either way, it looks pretty dang sweet and we can’t wait to check it out. What are you thoughts? We’d love to hear them in the comments below whether negative or positive!
source: Phone Arena