Microsoft is said to be planning an entry-level Surface 3 tablet with a more affordable price tag that will succeed the Surface 2 RT, but the device is expected to launch its full Windows 8.1 operating system on an Intel mobile processor.
While Microsoft still hasn’t confirmed that Windows RT is dead, it seems the platform’s future is very bleak at this point. Without the ability to run desktop Windows apps, it simply wasn’t that popular, so Microsoft is reportedly gearing up to try something new.
WinBeta reports that rather than using ARM processors for its entry-level Surface 3 tablet, it will use Intel Atom or Core M chipsets instead that are capable of running the full Windows 8.1 operating system — and any application build for Windows desktops.
The new device will also be completely fan-less, the report claims, and it will be marketed as a “non-pro device.” WinBeta says Microsoft will unveil the new device just before or during its BUILD conference, which kicks off on April 29.
A Surface 3 with those specifications could be considered Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s new 12-inch MacBook, which is also fan-less and powered by an Intel Core M processor. But of course, Microsoft’s device is a tablet first, with the ability to transform into a laptop with an add-on keyboard accessory.
It’s also likely the new Surface 3 will be cheaper than Apple’s device. The cheapest Surface 3 you can buy right now is the Intel Core i3 model priced at $799 (directly from Microsoft), and an Atom or Core M model would be even cheaper.
Apple’s MacBook, on the other hand, starts at $1,299.