Image: 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.
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.