Microsoft is holding an event on May 20th where the company might unveil a new, smaller version of its Microsoft Surface tablet. While the company isn’t providing many details (what would the purpose of the event be if the details were made public early?) the invitations say “join us for a small gathering.”

Either that means we can expect something “small…” or Microsoft is launching a new line of Magic: The Gathering cards. My money’s on the latter.

Microsoft Surface Mini

Anyway, Microsoft’s been offering Surface tablets with 10.6 inch displays for a few years. The latest models include the Surface 2 with an NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor, 2GB of RAM, a full HD display, and Windows RT software, and the Surface Pro 2 with a Core i5 Haswell CPU, up to 8GB of RAM, digital pen support, and Windows 8.1.

Update: Several sites are reporting that the tablet will have an ARM CPU, Windows RT software, OneNote integration, and a digital pen. 

But some of the best-selling tablets on the market are models with smaller, 7 or 8 inch screens like the iPad mini, Google Nexus 7, Amazon Kindle Fire, select Samsung Galaxy Tab models, and even Windows tablets like the Dell Venue 8 Pro. So as Microsoft struggles to make any money from its own tablets, it makes sense for the company to try something smaller… and possibly cheaper as well.

What’s interesting about the move is that when the original Surface tablets launched, they were among the first Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets, and they sort of showcased Microsoft’s vision of a Windows tablet. So even if they weren’t profitable on their own, they helped pave the way for many third-party Windows tablets, which would net Microsoft licensing revenue.

When it comes to small Windows tablets, Microsoft is one of the last major tablet makers to get into the game. Acer, Asus, Dell, Lenovo, and Toshiba all sell inexpensive, small Windows tablets already. And Microsoft recently made it even easier for device makers to sell small tablets at low prices by offering Windows free of charge for small tablets and phones. So it’ll be interesting to see whether Microsoft’s Surface Mini (or whatever it’s actually called) can manage to stand out and justify its existence in a somewhat crowded field.

via Engadget and Business Insider


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14 replies on “Microsoft Surface Mini announcement coming May 20th (maybe)”

  1. Microsoft really needs to go balls out on this Windows RT / ARM thing. They are traditionally a software company, and they *should* have the expertise to make it happen, and break down barriers to making it so hard for Windows RT adoption.
    Just a *few* programs have to be ported over, like Java. I mean, Oracle already make a first-part port of JRE/JDK for ARM, yet there is no actual Windows RT support.

  2. Everyone’s assuming this will be a hardware announce; here’s my 2 cents: Microsoft will be combining RT with Windowsphone and the next RT tablet will be running Windowsphone.

    1. It might be a ‘phablet’ from Microsoft? (part cell phone and part tablet?). It would be interesting if something like that would work?

    2. At the recent //build/ conference, MS announced their toolkits to develop cross-platform/universal executables. There’s no need to merge Windows RT and WindowsPhone.

      I think that it is more likely that a Surface mini will be equipped with a Bay Trail processor running x86 Windows. It will include the connectivity and ports that make the Surface line stand out from the rest.

      And just so that Microsoft keeps the confusion at a level they are known for, they’ll call it “Surface Mini” (without the “Pro” designator…which they’ll drop when they discontinue the sales of RT-based tablets)

      But we’ll see soon enough.

      1. Personally I hope they go with Mullins. It destroys bay trail at the same TDP/SDP at GPU and beats it slightly in CPU

  3. I’m hoping this is one of the first devices shipping with Mullins. But knowing Microsoft they will probably go with Intel again. Hope this will be good!

    1. I think it will be neat to have a tablet with the Mullins by AMD in it.

  4. Lets hope the specs dont resemble the typical 8-inch Win8 tablet lineup too much. If it has an i5, 4gb ram, and a full size USB, I would be a customer. My Baytrail doesn’t run Lightroom well enough. My Surface Pro is too heavy to travel with.

    1. I hope the early rumors of ARM and RT were wrong. I’m not a fan of RT nor Android and iOS on something larger than a phone. Although, it may be called “Pro” if it had an x86 CPU and Windows 8 to match the 10″ models. Maybe a Surface Mini Pro will be released too.

      The only i5 UMPC I know of is a ~$2000 Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 with a 7″ screen and 4-8 GB of RAM. It has a SATA SSD instead of eMMC as well. Maybe a consumer oriented version of this could reduce the price a lot but I’m not sure if an OEM would make such a thing.

    2. im thinking along the same lines as you! after having my pro for a bit im realising that it is a bit heavy to take with me, i still take it but if i’d known they were planning a mini i would’ve waited 🙁 if it has an i5 processor and usb port i’ll be so upset! i love my pro but something smaller and more portable would be so much better

    3. I would definitely be up for that but I think we’re a some years away before Intel can make the Core line of chips efficient enough to be put into a UMPC with a more consumer friendly price. Right now, at best the Mini would have a Bay Trail chip. Too bad most of the rumors before were about ARM, RT or some Phone/RT merge.

  5. In your guys opinion, what makes a device a great notetaking device?

    Great battery. Wacom digitizer. Silo slot or other way to attach pen to device.

    Light. Thin.

    Full windows vs RT? If I am only using onenote and browsing I guess RT is okay… I guess it will have to be okay… 8(
    Just gotta use the tablet only for certain things.

    Alot of people hate on the rear camera calling it useless by I very often take pics of the board of use it to scan paper;

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