Yesterday, DigiTimes reported that Microsoft is building a new member of the Surface family: an all-in-one PC designed for the living room. The technology newspaper cites “industry sources,” and today Daniel Rubino at Windows Central wrote that his own reliable source told him the same thing.
The new system is supposed to contain Intel’s next generation Kaby Lake processor, which is itself shrouded in mystery. Intel has been awfully quiet about Kaby Lake, and while leaked slides originally spoke of it as a Q3 2016 product, it might slip into 2017. This is an issue not just for Microsoft’s rumored all-in-one, but also the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book, both of which are awaiting Kaby Lake’s release before being refreshed.
Nothing else is known about the new Surface, but expect it to aim for the high end of the market and share the premium build of its predecessors. Unlike other Surface products, however, the all-in-one PC space has already been trod by Dell, Lenovo, HP, Apple, and others. Surface (and in particular Surface Pro 3) arguably defined a new category of two-in-one tablet-laptop hybrids, and Surface Book’s detachable screen and GPU base added novel twists to the clamshell laptop. If the all-in-one Surface does not similarly push the market in a new direction and instead merely treads on the toes of Microsoft’s OEM partners, expect a lot more grumbling of the kind that met the original Surface’s announcement.
If Microsoft does indeed build an all-in-one Surface PC, the branding will have almost come full circle. The very first Surface machine was an all-in-one PC, albeit one that looked like a table with a screen on the top. The repurposed Surface brand was initially used only on portable systems. It was expanded last year to include the wall-mounted Surface Hub conferencing and whiteboarding systems. Rumors of a Surface-brand phone continue to circulate.