Microsoft Surface Mini delayed until next year
Microsoft announced its second generation Surface tablets a few days ago, yet both of those devices are basically just 10-inch successors to the first wave which became official last year. Throughout the past few months though we’ve heard several times that Microsoft is also working on a smaller Surface tablet – let’s call it the Surface Mini. This, the rumors went, would have a 7-inch or 7.5″ touchscreen, and because of its size would compete in the fastest growing segment of tablet sales.
So what happened? Were the rumors all false? Are the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2 really all we should expect for the next year? According to a new report, the Surface Mini is still coming, but it will only arrive on the market in spring 2014.
The Surface Mini will sport an ARM processor and as such will run Windows 8.1 RT. However, it looks like it will launch with a “Spring 2014 GDR” update to the OS. What this may contain is a mystery for now, but you shouldn’t expect big things so soon after 8.1 ships (the RT version will first be seen on the Surface 2 that’s due out late next month). This Surface Mini event could be timed to coincide with the release of Windows Phone 8.1, though for what possible reason is unclear (since RT and Phone are still quite different from each other, not to mention from Windows ‘proper’).
Now if you’re wondering why the Surface Mini isn’t already announced, apparently that has to do with Microsoft pulling people away from that project in order to help with the development of the Xbox One, its next gaming console.
This all comes from supposedly reputable sources, but as always take everything with a grain of salt. You should also realize that even if all of these things are true and planned at the moment, things may change at any point, further delays could happen, and so on (especially with Microsoft undergoing a CEO transition, then the possible integration of Nokia).
So yes, the Surface Mini may become a reality, yet that won’t happen in 2013. Regardless of these new mumblings, that seems pretty much to be the case anyway, since otherwise it would have been made official alongside the other two new Surface devices.
Sure, a smaller Surface should be cheaper and thus drive at least some sales, but the question of who exactly Windows RT is for remains (and who would be willing to use it and for what possible purpose). There are many good (and cheap) 7-inch Android tablets out there right now, and they all get access to a million or so apps (not to mention the iPad Mini). Windows RT can’t match that, and Microsoft so far hasn’t really pointed out any use cases that apply uniquely to its Windows RT tablets (other than using the word ‘Office’ too many times).