Is Microsoft building an Xbox Surface gaming tablet?

A gaming-specific Xbox Surface tablet is reportedly on the way from Microsoft. 

Microsoft corporate vice president Joe Belfiore speaks during the launch of Windows Phone 8 in San Francisco in late October. A Surface gaming tablet is reportedly on the way from Microsoft.

Microsoft is developing a gaming-specific, 7-inch tablet called the Xbox Surface. 

That's the word today from the folks at The Verge, who report that the Xbox Surface will be equipped with "a custom ARM processor and high-bandwidth RAM designed specifically for gaming tasks."

According to The Verge, the device would not run a full Windows RT build, but a custom Windows "kernel" that also supports messaging and apps. Microsoft, unsurprisingly, has declined to comment. 

Still, we buy it. The Microsoft Xbox 360 is one of the most popular gaming platforms in history – an astonishing 70 million units have been sold since the console debuted in 2005. Meanwhile, the Microsoft Surface tablet, which launched late last month, has received a warm critical reception (we'll have to wait on sales figures). It makes sense that Microsoft would want to join the two worlds and build a gaming tablet. 

The Xbox Surface, argues Roger Cheng of CNET, "would also be consistent with Microsoft's transformation from a software company into one that juggles both hardware and software, as illustrated by the Surface." 

Worth noting, of course, is the slow decline of the gaming-specific device. The Nintendo 3DS has sold pretty briskly – while the Sony Vita has performed downright sluggishly – but most analysts believe the real action is in downloadable content for smart phones and tablets. Casual games, in other words, that we don't need to buy a purpose-ready machine in order to play. 

For more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.

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