updated 07:48 am EDT, Thu May 2, 2013
Microsoft Surface shipments for Q1 under 1 million, smaller devices coming
Microsoft Surface shipments for Q1 total just 900,000, according to the latest IDC report published yesterday. The underwhelming sales figures are said to be predominantly sales of its Surface Pro tablet, while the Surface RT had difficulty gaining any significant market traction. In total, since its launch late last year the company is thought to have shipped a total of just 1.5 million Surface devices, which pales in comparison to the 19.5 million iPadsApple sold in Q1 alone.
However, Apple's iPad sales were bolstered heavily by sales of the iPad mini, which has proved to be extremely popular with customers. Although Apple doesn't break down its iPad sales figures, the consensus view is that the smaller iPad outsells the larger iPad by a ratio of 6:4. Sub-8-inch Android tablets are also very popular with consumers comprising around 50 percent of total Android tablet sales. This suggests that in only selling a 10.6-inch device, Microsoft is failing to address at least 50 percent of the tablet market.
This has not been lost on the Redmond software giant, which is rumored to be prepping a sub-8-inch tablet device itself. It also recently altered the display resolution requirements for Windows 8 devices, paving the way for OEMs to start shipping smaller Windows 8-based tablets.
A new rumor from Digitimes purports that Microsoft will use its Build Developer Conference in late June to launch the next generation range of Surface devices. According to Digitimes supply chain sources, second-generation Surface tablets will be sized between 7- and 9-inches, rather than the larger 10.6-inch size that it has currently adopted. Some reviewers have complained that the combination of 10.6-inch display with a 16:9 ratio in the current Surface range makes it unwieldy to use in tablet mode, lending some credibility to the rumor.
The failure of the Surface range to capture more market share may, however, have less to do with the size of the tablet, and more to do with its controversial Windows 8 and Windows RT operating systems. Each has been heavily criticizedin numerous quarters as being confusing for users who seem to be confused by their dual desktop and tablet UIs. Further, Windows RT devices do not support legacy Windows applications while the Modern UI app store is anemic compared to the iTunes App Store and Google Play. [via The Verge]