If reports making the rounds this week are true, it seems Microsoft’s tablet will be powered by an ARM processor, run Windows RT software, and come bundled with OneNote and a digital pen for note-taking functionality.
To be fair, OneNote is free for everyone these days, and both Dell and Asus offer digital pens for their tablets. But neither of those devices has an ARM chip… they have Intel Bay Trail processors and run the full version of Windows 8.1.
So umm… yeah, I guess that Surface Mini will stand out. It just remains to be seen if it’ll do that in a positive way.
When Microsoft started working on Windows RT, ARM-based chips were way ahead of Intel and AMD chips when it came to power consumption. If you wanted all-day battery life without a 2 pound battery, ARM was the way to go. But Intel has done a pretty good job of catching up to ARM in power consumption, and its chips have the benefit of x86 architecture, which means that in addition to new “Modern” Windows apps, you can run classic Windows desktop apps on a device with an Intel Bay Trail chip.
Of course, most of those apps will be hard to navigate on a tiny 8 inch touchscreen display, so it’s not likely that you’re going to want to run a lot of software designed for a desktop system on a small Windows tablet… but you can if you want to, and if you plug in an external display, keyboard, mouse, or other peripherals, you might really want to.
Still, Microsoft put a lot of time and money into developing Windows RT, so it’s not surprising that the company is trying to produce another device running the software in hopes of kick-starting the platform. If Microsoft doesn’t launch any new Windows RT devices, who will?
Anyway, Neowin and WindowsITPro are both reporting that Microsoft will tout a “high quality” stylus for the Surface mini and the company will offer a click-in case with a built-in kickstand. The tablet is expected to hit the streets in June.