Microsoft is reportedly prepping an indigenously designed 7-inch gaming tablet tentatively named "Xbox Surface."
According to The Verge, the gaming device will be powere by a custom ARM processor paired with high-bandwidth RAM. However, there is a chance Redmond could alter its plans and decide to go with an unannounced x86-based SoC.
Interestingly, Microsoft's Xbox Surface won't run a full version of Windows. Instead, the tablet will be loaded with a custom Windows kernel. While messaging and other basic tablet functions may be supported, the hardware focus will obviously be on gaming.
Although official details about the alleged Xbox Surface are scarce, The Verge reports that Redmond has developed a "secret hardware production process" for its Surface tablets that is deliberately separated from partners who traditionally manufacture 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," writes Tom Warren of The Verge.
"We've [also] learned that part of the Xbox Surface is being developed at Microsoft's offices in Silicon Valley. The software giant recently locked down several Xbox-related buildings, limiting employee access to the company's Interactive Entertainment Business division."
Warren speculates that the lockdown is likely related to Microsoft's increased testing and development of the prototype tablet, as it prepares to code additional software and games for the device.
"Providing the project doesn't get killed in favor of a full 7-inch Windows tablet, in the same way Microsoft axed Courier, expect to see the Xbox Surface debut ahead of Microsoft's future Xbox console," added Warren.