New iPad Mini Killer? Microsoft Will Build 2 Versions of Second-Gen Surface RT Bearing NVIDIA, Snapdragon 800 Chips – Bloomberg

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By Erik Pineda | June 20, 2013 3:59 PM EST

Microsoft is not giving up on the Surface RT, according to a new Bloomberg report, which claimed that the U.S. tech giant is upgrading its compact Windows 8 tablet lines by tapping new component suppliers.

The new Microsoft supply chain player is Qualcomm, which Bloomberg said will deliver Snapdragon 800 CPUs for use with the version 2 of mid-range Windows 8-powered tablet.

The move is seen by analysts as Microsoft's way or recalibrating its small tablet approach, which was generally a letdown after more than three quarters in circulation. As of March 2013, the Windows RT market share remains stuck at less than one per cent, the same report said.

Apple and Google, on the other hand, are considered king of the global tablet turf that according to Bloomberg generates annual revenue of around $US64 billion.

The RT's monumental failure against the iPad Mini and a host of small Android tablet rivals is best reflected by Microsoft's recent decision of selling the products at a bargain price - $US199 per unit.

Note that the RT was first introduced in 2012 at $US499 per unit and up. The price was blamed by critics as one of the prime reasons the first Surface build failed to move off the shelves in big numbers.

Another contributing factor was the weak ecosystem support provided by Microsoft. Surface RT had a hard time attracting early adopters as applications offered by the system fell short of the high expectations.

The Windows Store was not a developers' magnet as it opened up last year without many of the more popular apps.

However, with more named mobile device players under its wings, Microsoft seems upbeat that it can still salvage the Surface RT from the brink of extinction with key adjustments.

For one, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 will not only boost the processing capabilities of the Surface RT but also give it faster Internet access, thanks to the CPU's embedded LTE chip.

Microsoft has also indicated that it will improve the RT's appeal not only to general consumers but also to business users. One way of doing that, Bloomberg said, is by providing preinstalled productivity and communication suites with the new tablet version.

Microsoft will likely release the Surface RT 2 later this year, steering it into a direct collision course with that of Apple's iPad Mini 2, Google's Nexus 7 2 and Samsung's Galaxy Note and Galaxy Tab 3 small tablet series.

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