The production of the affordable Surface 3 will end this year. Surface Phone to take its place?
Microsoft announced to stop making the Surface 3 tablet. The announcement comes in response to reports about low inventory levels of the Surface 3. On the online Microsoft Store only the Surface 3 LTE - 64GB is in stock.
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Microsoft introduced the Surface 3 a year ago. It is not surprising that this version is going to be discontinued after a year. It is time for an upgrade. Microsoft offers with the Surface Pro 4 a more expensive and powerful line. The Surface 3 is several hundred Dollars cheaper than the Surface Pro 4.
In a statement sent to Thurrott Microsoft said: "Since launching Surface 3 over a year ago, we have seen strong demand and satisfaction amongst our customers. Inventory is now limited and by the end of December 2016, we will no longer manufacture Surface 3 devices."
The company did not reveal if there will be a replacement model, but it is likely that there will be a Surface 4 coming in the Fall. The rumored specifications of the Surface 4 include faster CPUs, USB-C port and faster storage. Nothing too exciting. It is not clear how well the Surface 3 is selling. Given the attention the report about the discontinuation of the device triggered, there is definitely consumer interest.
Paul Thurrott has a different take. He argues that the Surface 3 is a compromise product and Microsoft's new entry into the Surface line-up will be the rumored Surface Phone.
"Surface phone could bring innovation and Apple-style premium quality to the PC industry, and do so by inventing new form factors and usage cases. Instead of being a smaller, cost-reduced Surface Pro, Surface phone could be a 2-in-1 device that transforms between a phone and PC," Thurrott said in a report on his site.
The Surface Phone is the last hope for Microsoft to make a mark in the smartphone market. The Lumia Windows 10 phone did not succeed.
According to Thurrott, Microsoft's VP of Devices, Panos Panay, has been working with his team on the Surface Phone for over a year. Thurrott expects a lot of the device: "A Surface phone needs to fill a real gap in the product lineup, have some potential for success, and must be unique in the market, and trigger PC makers to ape the design in their own products. Surface 3 didn’t really achieve any of this. It was just cheaper in every sense of the word, and that is not what Surface is all about."
The Microsoft Surface Phone could be one of the hottest new gadgets of 2016. Microsoft has not yet commented on the Surface Phone.
Today at 11am, Panos Panay will host a live tour of Microsoft's Surface Lab on Facebook. Maybe we get a glimpse of the Surface Phone.
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