Microsoft is going to make a “major” announcement this afternoon at 3:30pm PST, and if a new leak is true, Microsoft is going to announce a tablet-gaming console hybrid that may be the company’s answer to both Nintendo’s Wii U and Apple’s iPad.
Now, allow me to preface this report with this: as with any other “leaked info” you find on the internet, there’s a good chance that this is all a fabrication and false — but the leaked document mentions Rick Gutierrez, a known employee for Microsoft R&D. It certainly doesn’t validate the leaked info, but if it is fake, whoever made it certainly put some thought and research into it.
Anyway, onto the alleged “Xbox Surface” itself: according the document, the Xbox Surface is two separate units: a 7-inch tablet and a “stationary computing device.” The so-called “stationary computing device” apparently interfaces with the tablet directly, but is also compatible with “4 gaming controllers” and has some pretty powerful hardware powering it, including a custom GPU by AMD and a Blu-Ray drive (!). You can see a full scan of the supposed leaked press release at CNet.
Again, there’s a good chance that all of this info is fake — an earlier rumor regarding Microsoft’s big announcement today was recently proven false — but the info in the leak is certainly believable. It’s no secret that Microsoft wants to create a Windows-based competitor to Apple’s iPad, and on the gaming side Microsoft hasn’t been shy about trying to court away Nintendo’s sizable audience of casual gamers (let’s face it, the Kinect wouldn’t exist if Microsoft didn’t want some of those Wii millions.) The description of the Xbox Surface from the leak makes it sound like it’s a stand-alone tablet capable of competing with Apple’s iPad, as well as a tablet-controlled console in the vein of Nintendo’s upcoming Wii-U. It’s pretty ambitious of Microsoft to take on their two biggest competitors with one product, but if the leaked specs are true, they certainly have the hardware to go toe-to-toe with both Nintendo and Apple simultaneously. After a “meh” showing at this year’s E3, I have yet to be sold on the whole Wii-U’s “tablet/console” concept, but perhaps Microsoft will have more success proving the worth of the idea than Nintendo has.
I suppose we’ll find out if all these rumors are true when Microsoft finally announces what their “major” new product is later this afternoon. Depending on which rumors you believe, we may just get our first glimpse at the next Xbox today… or they might just show off a new version of Microsoft Office.