Microsoft is expected to announce second-generation Surface tablets at the company's Build Developer Conference, which will be hosted from June 26-28, according to sources from the upstream supply chain, adding that they have already shipped components for 1-1.5 million Intel-based units to the software giant since the end of 2012.
Since Microsoft only achieved sales of 1.5 million units for its first-generation Surface tablets (one million Surface RT and 500,000 Surface Pro), only half of its original expectations of 3-4 million units, the company is taking a cautious attitude over promotions for its second-generation models.
In addition to North America, Microsoft has also been expanding its market reach for Surface. The Surface RT is already available in Malaysia and will appear in Mexico at the end of May. The Surface RT will also become available in Korea and Thailand in June, while the Surface Pro will start selling in Australia and Austria in May and June for Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore and Thailand.
Microsoft retained most of its component suppliers from the first-generation models for the second-generation ones with Pegatron Technology staying as the devices' manufacturer. Chassis are supplied by Ju Teng, switching from China-based Chungnam Precision Casing; displays are supplied by Samsung Electronics and LG Display, glass Corning, batteries LG Chem, processors Intel and Nvidia, keyboards Chicony Electronics and Ko Ja (Cayman) and touch panels TPK and Youngfast, the sources noted. However, these component makers have all declined to comment about Surface shipments.
The sources also noted that the second-generation Surface devices reportedly will only feature a 7- to 9-inch displays to meet the rising demand for smaller tablet devices.