Microsoft Ditched Plans to Reveal Surface Mini (Report)

Image: MicrosoftImage: MicrosoftUnnamed sources told Bloomberg on Tuesday that Microsoft decided at the last minute to cancel plans to reveal the highly-speculated Surface Mini. Instead, the company chose to launch the Surface Pro 3 on its own, an extremely thin tablet with a 12-inch screen.

According to the report, the 7- to 8-inch tablet wasn't a myth; there were engineers that were actually working on the device. But Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and EVP Stephen Elop decided that the Surface Mini just didn't stand out against its rivals, and likely wouldn't be much of a hit. So all references to the tablet and its Qualcomm-based chip were removed from the event held on Tuesday.

MORE: Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Hands On Impressions

Does that mean there won't be a Surface Mini? Panos Panay, who runs the Surface business, told Bloomberg in an interview after the event that Microsoft is still working on a smaller Surface tablet. Panay declined to answer additional questions, and instead said that the Qualcomm device was never announced, and the company is "working on a lot of things."

Do we really need a smaller Surface product? Is there a market for such a device? A number of Microsoft's hardware partners already have Windows 8.1 small form factor tablets on the market. However, rival Google has a branded 7-inch tablet, and Apple's iPad Mini is slightly larger. Sources claim that Microsoft may eventually enter the small tablet space when the time is right.

"No mini is a minor disappointment to some, although we would rather Microsoft put all their eggs in the Surface Pro basket at this point," Daniel Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets & Co., told Bloomberg. "We can still see a mini at one point, but not likely until 2015."

On Tuesday, Microsoft introduced the Surface Pro 3, packing a starting price of $799 and a fourth-generation Core i3, i5 or i7 processor, depending on your wallet. The 12-inch screen has a 2160 x 1440 resolution, and is backed by a battery promising up to nine hours of web browsing. Measuring just 11.5 x 7.93 x 0.3 inches, the tablet is marketed as a laptop replacement.

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  • chicofehr
    How about a x86 5inch win 8.1 nokia phone
  • cpatel1987
    They need to really ditch Windows RT and start releasing a Surface model with intel bay trail processors. Lower cost bracket, more people will buy, and full Windows 8 OS.
  • somebodyspecial
    I'm guessing they saw the benchmarks of K1 vs. 801/805. Since you're not after a modem in a tablet the best course of action is to go to the fastest GPU. They probably realize NV's gaming tablet coming shortly would steal all the sales. Better hurry AMD, get in on this new ARM gaming trend. There is a lot of money both companies can steal from Wintel here. There is certainly enough room for them in ARM's side as gpus take over modems.

    As people start chasing mobile gaming, NV will start winning more stuff. We know NV is aiming to make ARM a gaming house (porting stuff now too). I expect many more NV wins based on GAMING as the modem fades in importance with caps. Who needs more speed if you only get 2GB which is not even a 720p movie? Welcome to the new world Qualcomm. They leapfrogged Broadcom though in wifi so I doubt they'll get hurt much by NV winning a bunch of tablets aimed more at gaming. Qcom's MU-MIMO is likely to be in my next router if someone doesn't topple it (3x faster, and multi user without the round robin crap etc that sends speeds into the toilet). I'll change my tune on the modem when Cellular goes UNLIMITED for all, but I doubt this will happen unless govt or google etc forces them via competition and that's years away if they ever get that done with all the money blocking competition.