Microsoft plans ‘generations’ of new Surface tablets

by David Needle

March 12 2013

Microsoft's Surface Pro -- the first of many generations?
Microsoft's Surface Pro -- the first of many generations?

While Microsoft’s Surface tablets haven’t taken the market by storm, the software giant says it’s in it for the long haul. The company also had some interesting things to say about how its Surface strategy has evolved.

First came Surface RT, then Surface Pro, Microsoft’s first “true” Windows 8-compatible tablet.

You might think Microsoft would put the highest priority on producing a tablet that could run the huge library of Windows software, but that was not the case. Work on Microsoft’s Surface Pro, codenamed “Georgetown X,” didn’t start for three months after Surface RT.

"We started Pro three months after we started RT, that's how the product shipped," says Panos Panay, general manager of the Surface team, told The Verge.
Panay says "it really was people, availability, time," not a delay or product issue.

While it includes a version of Microsoft’s Office suite, Surface RT has been criticized for not being able to run other Windows software and some analysts have suggested Microsoft should abandon RT alltogether.

Panay didn’t address the future of RT specifically, but did say Microsoft is working on many new "generations" of Surface tablets.

"When I say generations, not just one, we have the teams at full speed and loving what they're building and seeing," said Panay. "I think things just keep getting better, just hopefully what you'd expect from us."

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