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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.

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  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
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  • 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.
    Reply
  • teh_chem
    It's interesting, if you listen to interviews of tech folks who usually get Microsoft info virtually 100% correct, they all said that the mini was going to be the debut device at the June conference, and were shocked when the SP3 was the showcased device. Even leaked documents referenced specifically the Surface Mini, not the SP3. Curious why MS made the change. Maybe last-minute pressure from the OEMs who already offer smaller Windows tablets.
    Reply
  • DjEaZy
    ... Surface Mini May Hit Stores After All? Poor stores... i don't know, if the stores can survive a hit like that...
    Reply
  • kawininjazx
    Let me make a comment as an ACTUAL surface RT owner. I love it, the snap touch keyboard is amazing, the FULL IE browser is pretty much all you need. There are some apps and games to screw around with, but it's like having a super portable laptop and tablet in one. They are dirt cheap now, and with the updates and some tweaks they run great. I feel the mini can do well if the price is right. You can't run x86 programs on an ipad either, and can you plug your Galaxy S5 into your ipad's USB port and copy your pictures off your SD card? Didn't think so. Does an ipad have microSD or HDMI out? Nope. It has a lot going for it, and I imagine the Surface 2's Tegra 4 is even better.
    Reply
  • therealduckofdeath
    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.

    I don't think there's a big demand for keyboard covers on 8 inch devices. Though I agree this one will probably fail as much as any other RT device. They really ought to consider using Atom processors for the low budget Surface tablets instead of ARM.
    Reply
  • burkhartmj
    While I'll never be a fan of RT's continued existence, an 8 inch product based on it makes WAY more sense than a 10 inch device. People can complain all they want about it not supporting legacy programs, but who exactly is using such applications on an 8 inch tablet? Considering their plans to merge WinPhone and RT, I think it'd make a lot of sense to have this device based on ARM and make the 'low' end Surface 10 inch an Atom tablet.
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  • kawininjazx
    I have heard from a lot of developers that their programs can be recompiled for ARM and run on the desktop with no problem.
    Reply
  • stevejnb
    I'm interested in one of these - depending on price. I will *not* pay more than $250 for a mini tablet, and at that price point it had better blow me away. For $250 I'm expecting a digitizer, at least a USB 2.0 port, micro-hidmi (or equivalent) out with decent storage options and a processor that doesn't chug unless I really tax it. Windows RT blows the competing tablet OS's out of the water for productivity and pretty much anything but app selection, so I'm interested, but if they keep on charging for their products just shy of ridiculous iPad pricing, it makes it hard for me to justify.
    Reply