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.

Microsoft Surface

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.

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12 replies on “WSJ: 7 inch Microsoft Surface tablet in the works”

  1. More Metro give it up M$ you lost!!!! METRO SUCKS AND NO ONE WANTS SO FUCK OFF ALREADY WITH THE METRO M$!!!!!!


  3. I think they do need a 7 inch form to compete with iOS and Android, but I can’t imagine using the desktop on a 7 inch screen will be fun. Perhaps by then Windows Blue will have solved some of the Windows 8/RT issues.

  4. Give us a pen!

    I’ve been waiting fifteen years for a good pen-enabled slate. I can’t be the only one who wants to see pen-tech evolve.

    Eventually I’ll cave in and get a q550 or a Motion pc, but I would much rather look forward to a device that look backward for one

    Microsoft- Stop repeating the same mistake. No one wants RT, and a 7 inch model is irrelevant, and I think unappealing, for most of your market. Leverage your assets while you can. Give us a pen!.

    1. The Surface Pro has a pen and it works pretty well minus not supporting pressure sensitivity in Photoshop.

      1. It’s a driver issue, not unusual as it’s rare that drivers not directly from WACOM provide pressure sensitivity… Fortunately WACOM is working on proper drivers, and should be out of Beta soon if not already…

        Otherwise, it varies per product as some companies provide better drivers than others… Samsung models for example are said to have pressure sensitivity working…

        While others can work with the W8 drivers for apps like Art Rage to have pressure sensitivity for now…

    2. Honestly, as non-inker and artist, I’d rather have a mouse embedded in the bezel to supplament the touch screen. If only the never released Viliv X70 (not the first version) would come out with today’s specs.

  5. I hope it’s running Windows 8. I guess that means Clover Trail unless who ever Microsoft has making the tablet can do some magic with Haswell.

    If it’s RT, I’m going to pass and just go for an iPad Mini or some Android tablet from Samsung. I just see RT as a gimped version of Windows 8. If I’m going to get a gimped OS then I’d rather go for a more established one.

    1. Yes please. As long as it’s not RT then anything will be an upgrade from my Viliv S5.

      Just come out with it Microsoft. Just pretend there’s a large market for it.

    2. I’m hoping for non-RT too.

      Disclaimer: I bought a bunch of Intel stock at the end of last November. Intel better win against ARM in the mobile space in next few years. Of course, they better not slack off in the non-mobile space either.

  6. Will this help or hurt? Price has been a problem when there are cheaper options (as a tablet). I am not sure Windows8 will scale well to that small size so usability (which is already a problem) will get worse.

    1. Depends, the main issue with sizing is when using the traditional desktop environment but the Modern UI can easily scale for pretty much any size screen and won’t have issues being limited to touch only input.

      While the MS App store is steadily getting larger and such later releases may see better success with a more developed app ecosystem to support them.

      It’s hard to tell at this point but depending on when this comes out it could use either the latest next gen ARM SoCs or the upcoming Intel ATOM Bay Trail, which should start shipping by the end of September.

      Mind, there are indication MS is merging RT with Windows 8 under the upcoming Code Blue Upgrade… So they may adapt a system similar to what Google is doing with Android and have the UI adjust itself depending on what size screen is being used.

      How well it all works will determine whether it helps or hurts them…

      Though, it’s entirely possible this may not be intended as a Windows 8 product but rather a tablet version of Windows Phone 8 OS instead, in which case it would be a lot like other mobile tablets… we’ll have to wait and see if any solid details get released later…

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