Xbox SmartGlass isn't the beginning and the end of Microsoft's gaming tablet aspirations, apparently. According to the Verge, the manufacturer is working on a seven inch gaming tablet known as Xbox Surface, sporting a custom ARM processor, beefy RAM and a bespoke version of Windows.
Intriguingly, the report claims that Microsoft "has developed a secret hardware production process for its Surface tablets that is separated from partners that traditionally manufacturer the company's Xbox console. We're told that the Xbox Surface will likely be manufactured in the same factory, but that any future 'Xbox 720' console will be manufactured in mass quantities by companies like Pegatron or Foxconn."
Several buildings at Microsoft's Silicon Valley offices have been locked down for Xbox Surface testing, the site continues. Assuming the project isn't dropped in favour of a more conventional Windows tablet design, you can allegedly expect the device to launch before the next generation Xbox, widely suspected to debut at E3 2013.
It's not the most startling rumour we've heard, but the thought of Xbox Surface does somewhat contrast Microsoft's agenda with Xbox SmartGlass. The idea there, after all, is to harness existing touchscreen devices for entertainment purposes via a one-size-fits-all software wrapper, allowing the publisher to exploit the enormous success of tablets and smartphones without competing directly with iPhone and iPad.
On the other hand, you could argue that "solutions" like SmartGlass are worth nothing without a first-party standard bearer of some kind. Possibly bogus design materials for a new Microsoft gaming tablet appeared on the internet in June - I've reposted them below.
Would you buy it?