Surface Mini May Hit Stores After All

Back in May, reports indicated that Microsoft's rumored Surface Mini would finally make an appearance at a public showing in New York City. Some rumors said that Microsoft would also reveal the 12-inch Surface Pro 3. In the end, the Surface Mini was a no-show, and Microsoft only showed off the Surface Pro 3. Rumor had it Microsoft pulled the smaller tablet at the last minute. The blame? No touchy "Gemini" apps for Office 2013.

Just last week, sources indicated that Microsoft halted the production of its Surface Mini tablet because CEO Satya Nadella and EVP Stephen Elop felt it wasn't different enough to stand out over the competition. The 7- to 8-inch market is also rather fierce, with Android solutions provided by Google, Samsung, Asus and a number of others filling retail shelves.

But now there are reports that Microsoft will indeed ship the Surface Mini sometime this summer. The news stems from well-known leaker evleaks, who provides only one message: "Microsoft Surface Mini is back in production, in anticipation of a summer release."

Previous reports claim that the Surface Mini will have a screen between 7 and 8 inches in size and a 1400 x 1080 pixel resolution. Windows 8.1 RT will be the chosen platform given the tablet's ARM-based Qualcomm processor. The tablet is even expected to have its own digitizer pen for drawing, taking notes and so on.

Was Surface Mini production even halted? Since Microsoft does not answer to rumors and speculation, we have nothing official. However, just after the New York City event, Panos Panay, corporate vice president for Surface Computing, admitted to Bloomberg that Microsoft is still "working on smaller versions." Whether that refers to first-party and third-party is unknown at this point.

Some people say that despite the fact that Apple's iPad Mini is already on the market, Microsoft's Surface Mini may feel the heat from Apple's upcoming phones which break into phablet territory, sporting 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens. These iPhones are expected to undermine demand for 7-inch tablets when they go on sale later this year.

Currently, Microsoft is promoting the Surface Pro 3 as a laptop replacement, featuring a 12-inch ClearType Full HD display (2160 x 1440) with multi-touch input, up to an Intel Core i7-4650U processor and up to 8 GB of memory. There's also Wireless AC and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, a battery promising up to 9 hours of web browsing, and cameras on the front and back. Storage capacities range from 64 GB to 512 GB.

Follow Kevin Parrish @exfileme. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

Create a new thread in the US News comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
15 comments
    Your comment
  • TechyInAZ
    Surface mini in my opinion isn't going to do well unless Microsoft makes a mini touch cover for it (and makes it cheaper than the ridiculous $129.99).

    Too bad it's also using a ARM processor, only reason I would buy windows 8 tablets is so I can install programs that aren't limited by the windows Store.
    2
  • Darkk
    I think the Surface Mini will flop. To be sure they should release it small batches to test Market and see how it goes. The last flop cost them big time.
    -1
  • w8gaming
    The only way for Surface Mini (which runs on ARM) to be successful is to be cheaper than typical 7" Android tablet. And it is difficult to undercut that. At this point it is really hard to see how Microsoft can compete in this segment without Google first making some major missteps, such as raising their Nexus price to $399 so to leave plenty of rooms for other players to undercut them.
    0