If the rumor mill about the specs for the next generation of Surface tablets is true, you can expect a replay of the disaster that was the original Surface. Unless Microsoft makes big changes to the lineup, it faces serious trouble.
Let's start with one of the biggest problems -- Microsoft has committed to a second generation of the Surface RT tablets according to Paul Thurrott among others. It will run Windows RT 8.1. In addition, the Verge reports that Nokia is preparing a 10.1-inch RT-based tablet, code-named Siruis. It is expected that pricing will start at $499, in other words, overpriced.
Given that Microsoft is buying the Nokia division that produces the tablets, that means Microsoft will have two RT tablets on its hands, which translates to double the trouble. The original Surface proved to be one of the biggest hardware fiascos in Microsoft's history, leading to a $900 million writedown for unsold devices. Some people have even speculated that the writedown may have led to Steve Ballmer being asked to leave the company.
The Windows 8-based Surface Pro hasn't set the world on fire, and based on reports about the Surface Pro 2's specs, it doesn't look as if it will, either. Neowin reports that as expected, it will run on Intel's Haswell-based Core i5 chip, which will lead to improved battery life. RAM will be doubled to 8 GB. Other people report much the same thing.
What else is new? Apparently a two-position kickstand. As for pricing, Neowin reports not to expect not much difference in the current price, which is up around $1,000.
"If that and Windows 8.1 are all we have to look forward to, Microsoft's heading into a disastrous holiday buying (or shunning) season."
This is not the way to make serious headway in the tablet market. Over at Microsoft, a big rethink about tablets is needed. I expect that it will be near the top of the immediate to-do list for whoever takes the reigns from Steve Ballmer.