Earlier today, Latinos Post author Keerthi Chandrashekar revealed that rumors exist within the gaming industry that Microsoft is considering expanding their Xbox brand to include a tablet, and possibly even an Xbox phone.
Yesterday, I wrote a piece on the rumors surrounding Microsoft’s intention to expand the Surface brand of mobile devices in 2013, but today’s rumor mill seems to indicate that the Xbox brand will also be expanded as not only a deeply entrenched part of the Windows experience, but also as its own line of mobile. It is even possible that the Xbox and Surface brands overlap in order to create an Xbox Surface device by 2014 (although this is very unlikely).
An Xbox tablet
Whether Microsoft is considering an Xbox tablet, or even a cross-branded Xbox Surface, is unknown, but rumors claim that Microsoft is looking to further entrench consumers already loyal to the Xbox brand for gaming and living room entertainment. One advantage of an Xbox tablet beyond the obvious gaming benefit would be the advantage given to Microsoft in their attempt to revolutionize video and music consumption.
With Microsoft’s TV provider partnerships, such as with Comcast and Verizon, an Xbox tablet would allow consumers to watch TV, listen to music, play video games, and connect with friends from anywhere. Even if we don’t see any Xbox devices beyond the console ever, it is a pretty safe bet to assume that we’ll continue to see Xbox services beyond gaming, such as TV and music, entrenched within the Windows (and Surface) experience. All in all, an Xbox tablet would be a premium threat to Amazon’s low-priced Kindle Fire HD.
An Xbox phone
It is already known that Microsoft is quietly working on developing their second entry into the smartphone market (the first being the failed Kin phone) and working with development and manufacturing partners such as Foxconn. The proposed device, if released in 2013, would be called the Surface Phone. What hadn’t been mentioned in any news outlet before today was the concept of Microsoft considering a gaming-focused phone such as an Xbox Phone.
While it’s a virtual certainty that somebody within the ranks of Microsoft has mentioned the idea of an Xbox Phone, it is unlikely that this project is underway at this time, or even scheduled for the near future. In all likelihood, the Surface Phone will have the Xbox service deeply integrated into it, making a more dedicated gaming phone something that would be considered after the Surface Phone is released and proves to be successful.
Surface vs. Xbox
Overall, it is pretty unlikely that these Xbox device rumors are true. While it would make sense for Microsoft to continue capitalizing on one of their only successful consumer brands, the current push has been to further integrate the Xbox experience into Windows and Windows Phone in an attempt to give those product lines a long-term boost. Xbox branded devices might make sense one day, but that would be after the Surface devices were firmly established. The offering of dedicated mobile gaming devices must serve as a premium offering, not a mobile industry “Hail Mary.”
Besides, before Microsoft re-purposed the “Surface” brand name from touch-screen tables to mobile devices, one of the rumored names for the Surface RT involved Xbox branding.
Either way, chances are that if we ever do see an Xbox branded piece of hardware beyond the console, it will be well after Microsoft has regained market share in the mobile phone and tablet spaces and after the release of a next generation Xbox console.
Author’s note: Fellow Examiner Steven Ruygrok reported less than a week ago about another Latinos Post article indicating that the “Xbox 720” will more deeply integrate mobile and tablet devices as the Xbox 360 already does via Microsoft SmartGlass. It is unclear, at this time, what additional information Latinos Times has received in the past few days leading them to believe that Microsoft is considering manufacturing Xbox branded mobile hardware.