Microsoft is making a major announcement today at 3:30 PST, 6:30 EST that may involve an “Xbox Live Surface” companion tablet for the Xbox 360’s multi-media online network.
According to a rumor mill started by TechCrunch, inside sources with knowledge of the event claim that bookstore and online retailer Barnes & Noble is partnering with Microsoft to co-promote a tablet device specifically designed for Xbox Live integration. Some websites are claiming that it’s a new Nook device, while others speculate that it’s just a new service.
TechCrunch is connecting quite a few dots, with their reasoning here:
If it were a Windows 8/RT tablet announcement, it wouldn’t be made in LA and it wouldn’t be made this early. That type of announcement screams developer conference. (Don’t get me wrong. Windows 8 and everything it entails will be huge for Microsoft but don’t expect anything this early.) Imagine the blowback from the press about such a stale and boring preview anyway? Again, why would that happen in LA on such short notice?
Sources tell me that a new tablet will be announced on Monday with Barnes and Noble. The two companies announced a “strategic partnership” in late April with Microsoft investing $300M into the joint business dubbed “Newco” for a 17.6% equity stake and Barnes and Noble owning 82.4%.
Currently, Xbox Live can actually be accessed by iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices through the My Xbox Live app, which lets you view and manage your account much like you would through a standard internet browser.
According to the supposedly leaked “Xbox Surface” document shown below, the tablet will boast the following specs:
- 7″ multi-touch LED screen
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
- 1280 x 720 resolution
- HDMI and four-controller wireless support
- Custom 28nm AMD GPU
- 250GB optical disc drive
- USB flash memory, SD card slot
For whatever reason, Microsoft just can’t seem to keep themselves out of the “rumor” headlines this week, as a leaked document detailing several alleged plans about the Xbox 720, Kinect 2, and future plans for their Xbox Live suite hit the Internet just this weekend.
If the leak is accurate, this likely represents another step by Microsoft to incorporate Xbox Live and Kinect in an ecosystem much like Apple’s iPhone/iPad/MacBook network. If all the rumors and info are true, 2015 will see your living room ruled by Xbox Live on your smartphones, computers, consoles, tablets, and 3D glasses in some kind of virtual smorgasbord of Tron-like content.