Microsoft may be preparing to build a 7 inch version of its Surface tablet. That’s hardly shocking. We’ve been hearing rumors and spotting evidence for months. But now The Wall Street Journal reports that “people familiar with the company’s plans” say new Surface tablets are in the works… and that includes a 7 inch model.
According to the report, Microsoft hadn’t originally planned to offer a 7 inch tablet running Windows software. Right now Microsoft’s only tablets are the 10.4 inch Surface Pro and Surface RT, and every PC maker that’s released a Windows RT or Windows 8 tablet has gone with a 10 inch or larger screen.
But some of the most successful tablets on the market today have 7.9 inch displays (like the iPad mini), or 7 inch screens (like the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire). So it would make sense for Microsoft to try to meet consumer demand for a smaller tablet… although it remains to be seen whether there’s significant consumer demand for a Windows tablet with that screen size.
Shipments of traditional PCs have been declining, while mobile tablet sales have been on the rise. So Microsoft took a big gamble with the launch of Windows RT and Windows 8, focusing on making its flagship operating system more touch-friendly. That hasn’t seemed to help PC sales much in the short term, but it’s probably a bit early to count Microsoft out.
Desktop and laptop PCs may represent a shrinking portion of the computing pie, but Microsoft’s software still dominates those platforms.