The newest focus over at Redmond is the development of tablets sporting a smaller form factor at a more affordable price point. All recent signs point to 7 or 8 inch slates sporting the Microsoft logo.
But speaking of points, one thing that will play an important role in how successful these devices are is the performance these new tablets offer. Small form factor, or not, consumers have a need for speed.
The Surface RT, obviously, uses ARM CPUs that are housed inside NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 SOC (System on a chip) and delivers adequate performance. But things are ramping up fast on this front, with newer, much faster solutions right around the corner.
Now here is something from deep within the realm of insider information. NVIDIA Tegra 4 may not appear on too many devices at first, the reason being that some large hardware vendor has placed an order for the entire first batch.
And no, that large buyer is not Google. The updated Nexus 7 (some are calling it Nexus 7.7) tablets, set for debut sometime in May this year are said to feature a Qualcomm processor instead of Tegra 4.
One of the reasons being for this change is that Tegra 4 does not come with 4G connectivity built-in. Tegra 4i chips, however, do — but they are built for smartphones and have lower performance. Google may not be using the latest Tegra chips in its tablets, but Microsoft very well could.
Early benchmarks reveal that Tegra 4 offers exponential performance improvements compared to Tegra 3 devices — somewhere in the range of five to six times, which is impressive.
Of course, this is all mere speculation and insider talk at the moment and everything will be out in the open within the next couple of months.
If Microsoft can procure enough Tegra 4 chips to power its smaller Windows based tablets while hitting the right price points, it can potentially have a big winner on its hands — a valid competitor to the Nexus 7s, Kindle Fires, and even iPad Minis.