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Microsoft confirms Surface 3 manufacturing will stop by the end of 2016

Microsoft has confirmed that the current inventory levels of its Surface 3 tablet are "now limited". It also stated that it will stop making the 10.8-inch tablet by the end of 2016. The Surface 3 launched over a year ago in May 2015.

The report from Thurrott.com notes that while retailers like Best Buy, Staples and the Microsoft Store are still selling the entry level tablet, some SKUs are currently not available for sale. For example, the only version of the tablet on the Microsoft Store site that you can currently buy is the Wi-Fi/Cellular model, with 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, for $499.99 (opens in new tab).

In an official statement, Microsoft said:

Since launching Surface 3 over a year ago, we have seen strong demand and satisfaction amongst our customers. Inventory is now limited and by the end of December 2016, we will no longer manufacture Surface 3 devices.

So far, Microsoft has not indicated plans to release a "Surface 4" successor to the entry level tablet.

See at Microsoft Store (opens in new tab)

80 Comments
  • No Surface 3 in Dutch Microsoft store.
  • Surface 4 confirmed!
  • Probably be announced during the tour of the surface facility this week.
  • I thought the same. I might wait to see if they release it to see if I buy it instead of the lowest Surface Pro 4. Which is awesome, but I'm not mad about the different screen ratio.
  • if they are releasing a new version, it totaly makes sence.  no reason to keep two series in the market overlapping.  they had a huge overstock of the surface 2 which were pretty much giving away at the end. Better to drain supply and then restock with the new updated version.
  • What cpu would that use? There will be no new atoms. I.e. No new Surface (w/o Pro in the name)
  • What about the core M? So basically take the base model Pro version and turn it into the regular Surface. You could vary the RAM and connectivity options to widen the SKU's a bit.
  • There needs to be a clear distinction between the regular and pro lines.  The Surface line competes with the iPad and the Surface Pro line competes with the MacBook.  The base Surface Pro 4 with the Core M processor is $899.  I don't see them getting that price down below $500 which is what it would take to compete with the iPad. I think the base Surface line is dead until Microsoft perfects wrapping desktop programs into Universal Windows Platform apps that can run on the ARM chipset.  Who knows, maybe Microsoft can pull a rabbit out of the hat and introduce a Surface Phone and Surface tablet running on ARM that leverages Continuum to its full potential, but I wouldn't be looking for anything before mid 2017.
  • This.... so much this! If Apple could get power PC apps to run on x86 when they made the switch to Intel, why cant MS get x86 apps to run on Arm?
  • Apple did not get PowerPC apps to run on x86.  They compiled what they called 'fat binaries' which meant that each application was compiled to have both x86 and PowerPC versions in a single executable.  If an app was not recompiled with fat binary functionality enabled, it would not work on the newer x86 Macs. Microsoft would have to get the massive inventory of x86 apps recompiled to support multiple architectures natively.  At that point simply porting them to UWP makes a lot more sense.
  • Actually in the early days of osx there was a technology apple acquired, Rosetta that would run power PC apps on x86 processors. This was quickly ditched after the universal apps started coming out that were universal binaries. Edit; Fat binary actually refers to the 68k to PPC transition. Universal binary the PPC to x86 transition. But this really doesn't speak to the complications of trying to translate a CISC (x86) binary on a RISC(arm) processor. The other way is much easier.
  • Thanks for the catch on universal binaries.  Its been a while.
  • I don't know, it could run Core M and be more like an iPad Pro competitor. Surface Pro is a Macbook competitor, not iPad IMO. 
  • That would be great. though, if they can do that with an ARM processor, then it would imply it's a software update that can be installed on a Surface RT or Surface 2.
  • The pro line also has bigger screens and higher resolution. They can easily have the standard Surface running on a Core M processor and there'd be plenty of distinction between the two on that alone. Also, using an ARM processor would undermine the whole point of its popularity over previous models and that was having a full blown Windows OS with the ability to run traditional applications on it. Going back to ARM would be beyond stupid. Furthermore, since when did Apple's products become the base line for things? There's far more manufacturers out there that produce more machines and even higher quality machines than Apple does. The Surface line has always been considered a replacement for laptops, not a replacement for Apple products.
  • Disagree, your ARM comment is misinformed. Surface 3 runs full x86, I can't imagine why they'd care about ARM, that was a Surface 2 problem. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Don't think so. It would need a total redesign as Surface 3 is fanless, unlike the Pro.
    They will either have a Surface 4 out before EOY with new INtel chips (yet unannounced)
    Or, they may go the "Apple" route and sell the previous year's 4 Pro base version at discounted price in lieu of Surface 3.  
  • There will be new Atoms, just not for windows phone devices.
  • What version of the M CPU is available in the Pro 4 model? If there is a lower version of that then maybe it could use a bottom end Core M.
  • Somebody else below said the Atoms that were cancelled were the ones used in phones, not sure how accurate that is - Like you I thought it was a complete discontinue of all Atom CPUs
  • They canceled the tablet ones too. Or at least the next line of them. They mentioned using Celerons or something in tablets. 
  • That's the problem, no one really read that article, it was all doom and gloom, but those that did know there are still Atom processors, just not the mobile variant. Microsoft could certainly find one for a Surface if they wanted to. Knowing people liked the LTE option, my assumption is they'll skip Surface 4 and we'll see a new lower end model with LTE when the Surface 5 family is announced.
  • The Atom is not discontinued.  Intel only discontinued the line that was intended for smartphones.  Other versions of the Atom will continue going forward and there is a roadmap for them.
  • This is the problem with going all in with intel. They effectively helped kill Win RT (arm competition on Windows) with their contra revenue Atom scheme to OEMs (free cpus). They failed to keep the atom line ($35 cpu) competitive with Apple/Nvidia/Qcom to protect their i3 revenues ($200+ cpu per 1000 tray). They finally killed the Atom line effectively killing the atom based Surface along with it.
  • The Atom line has *not* been discontinued. Only certain Atom products were discontinued.
  • Yes you are 100% correct, the problem is intels mobile focus and conflict of interest. Intel has let the Atom line flatline over the past 3 years. Good enough computing is a massive threat to intel's revenues. An Atom processor matching the performace of the high end ARM cpus from Apple, Nvidia & qualcomm would decimate intel's entry level icore profits.
  • Not in India!
  • I want a surface with LTE and USB C charging, was hoping that would be Surface 4
  • current charging setup on the 3 is lacking. USBC would be welcome.
  • Makes sense with the discontinuation of the Atom processor.
  • The Atom that was discontinued was the one targeting phones. the Atom lives on in other use cases
  • How much R&D will intel dedicate to improving Atom going forward? Cherry trail was barely improved over Baytrail. The Atom x7's performance is horrible compared to the Apple A9x/Nvidia X1 & Qcom 820. it was always funny that people expected an Atom based Surface phone because Intel's high end mobile cpu performance has sucked for years.
  • Intel just introduced Xeon Phi with 72 Atom cores, perhaps it will be used for Surface Phone.
  • Not just targeting phones, tablets as well, like the cheap Windows tablets we used to have.
  • I guess there's now enough momentum for the entry-mid windows tablets (with active digitizers) that Surface 3 is now about the most expensive of the category (although arguably with the best build), that it seems unnecessary to keep manufacturing it. Left to my choice though, if I were getting an atom tablet, I would opt for something cheaper from another manufacturer - $500 is pretty steep for an atom tablet imho, even for one as good as the Surface 3.
    I expect there would probably not be an atom Surface 4, instead the Core m versions of the Surface Pro 5 would be the 'replacement' for the lower Surface line.
  • Core M could canabalize the Surface Pro 4 Core M device. I doubt they would do that.  
  • My point is that with the Core m3 for example, there is not much need for an Atom line any longer. The price difference between the Core m3 and the top of the line Atom is not so much as to justify the maintenance of a separate Atom line of Surface. I feel they should just go all in with Surface Pro, with the lowest end Core m3 effectively being the replacement for the Atom Surface
  • And the biggest differentiator could be LTE om board. That'd make sense.
  • Maybe when the Pro 5 comes out they'll drop the M model and stick to the core i in the Pro
  • Core M is not a good replacement. The Core M is just as expensive as the Core i5 ($280 per 1000). MS will not be able to hit the same price point (<$600) as the Surface 3 with its <$40 cpu.
  • I traded in my Surface RT for my Surface 3.  Love it.
  • Sold my Surface 2 and bought a Surface 3 a year ago. Surface 2 was awful, the Surface 3 is fantastic.
  • I still have my surface 2. It's really good, but I need a little bit more, like desktop apps. And the pen. And windows 10.
  • I got this early this month... for my wife... She absolutely love it. The main thing was it is the right size, light and thin..and the screen is a delight....
  • I love my S3
  • Doubt that 'strong demand' considering that whole surface line moved ~ million units Q1.
  • Another glass half empty reply. You're in a long depression?
  • That's not bad for a software company. 
  • Why do so many people come here just to **** on Microsoft? Do these people really have nothing better to do? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Doubt your mother loved you as a child Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Hm, it's not a bad device really. How does it compare in performance with the Surface Pro 4 with an m3 processor? Because this one will probably go down in price now.
  • It's honestly a decent machine for having an Atom processor.  It's a little weak if you want to play a game and the memory is a bit slow but it can still handle some games and everyday tasks like web browsing and office tastks its perfectly powerful.  I mostly use mine for reading e-books and comics as well as a little Rocket League on the go.  I wouldn't expect to do much photoshop on it though.
  • To give you an idea of what kind of games it can handle... I play stardew valley and torchlight 2 on the 2gb model without issues
  • I love me some Torchlight 2!!!
  • Very happy with my S3. Product lifecycles are short these days so this comes as no surprise. I won't run out to buy something new. See first sentence for why.
  • Yeah, maybe it's time for me to buy a Surface. I'm half serious. If I decude to go back to school, it would be useful.
  • Surface 3 is really good.
  • Good to know, thanks! I knew someone who had a Surface 2, I was really impressed by it. *decide (Typing too fast problems xd)
  • It wasn't high end and Surface is the high end example of what can be done when technology is pushed.  Surface 3 doesn't really do that or gain Microsoft much. Other OEMs can produce great 10" tablets today at a lower price point.
  • What? Of course it wasn't. That's why it wasn't the Pro. It just didn't have a beefy professor and lots of storage like the pro. It still utilizes the surface pen. It's still an amazing device.
  • They would be foolish to not continue on with this form factor. The surface 3 is a terrific product and is perfect for high school or college students. I hope to see a surface 4.with more processor options.
  • The Surface 3 seems like a glorious device... I want one since it runs windows 10 and it can use the pen.
  • Yeah. I hope surface 4 will come at much cheaper rate and gain some market.
  • I think them should keep on producing the Surface 3 and other old models and try to sell them at more affordable prices. India and other emerging markets could be their destination.
  • That's interesting. "we've seen strong demand, so were going to stop selling it"
  • My Surface 3 has replaced my MacBook Pro as my computer of choice. I use the dock at work and have been very pleased with it. Can't wait for the Anniversary Update to unleash some more features.
  • Meh, don't really care. I just bought one with LTE just a month ago and I'm happy with it. I'll continue to use it on the road...
  • Don't ever buy Microsoft hardware. Under their new wonder boy genius, most hardware that's here today will be gone tomorrow. I could be wrong, but I doubt there will be a Surface 4 or a Surface phone or any interesting or useful hardware under the current management. The Xbox is probably the last until the reins is passed to someone with a vision beyond just the cloud. Save your self some grief and purchase from trustworthy established hardware OEMS.
  • I believe that's called "technology innovation."
  • HA. So that's what that's called. I call it technological retreat.
  • Actually I'm just being a wise ass. The Surface program was started I believe mostly to show MS partners what could be accomplished and produced by pushing the envelope. I think the products have been innovative and very good. But I also think Microsoft still see's itself mainly as a software company that will in most eventuality's turn manufacture over to those partners. I wish they wouldn't and think they needn't in all cases. So I think my first post is just my irritation at some of their moves of late. I realize the fine line they feel they have to tread. So l will try to keep my irritation to myself.
  • Love my Surface 3 but it showed early signs of screen detoriation - green spot and yellowish borders. Yikes
  • So if you wanna good 10 inch windows device that's thin and light? What are the options?
  • I hope they release a Surface Pro strictly made for gaming now that theyre doing this Xbox Anywhere thing.
  • Microsoft needs to keep this size device to compete in the education sector because as we all know, schools are issuing ipads and ither tablets to at least grades 2 thru 8.  
  • I've seen most schools back off of the iPad deployments and most go for Chromebooks now. It's just easier to manage your Web Filtering systems and replace those cheap $200 devices than giving the students more expensive tablets(iPads or Surfaces) or cheap ones (various Android ones) that come with limitations or additional headaches that you don't see in Chromebooks.
  • I love my surface 3 more than the pro 3... biggest reason is no fan. The surface 3 is my workhorse laptop for sure... but thr surface 3 with 2GB or RAM is just more pleasant to use in my personal life... I can do some work with it... limited video... I wad just telling a co-worker how I was originally against the 3 in favor of the pro flavors, but thr 3 is very solid. Hope there is a 4. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Hope this does mean that there will be a Surface 4, I would like to upgrade from my Surface 2.
  • There better be a surface 4 coming. I don't recall anything else in the market right now with the performance + battery + price combination of the surface 3.
  • Good ridance to the Surface 3, bricked 2 of those with a weird video issue just before the new year. At the time since it was under warranty I did not attempt a hard reset. If that was what one had to do weekly or monthly would make them almost useless so it was exchange or refund.   But the concept was right so I up-sized to a i5 Surface 4 which has its own issues like locking up once a day or so, often at night. Only a regular reset gets you back in. I love the surface enough to get past that.   The surface 3 were marginal hardware at best and that was assuming you didn't get a bad one.