No Surface Mini? What Microsoft didn't announce

In spite of leaks indicating a mini ARM-based Surface was to launch at Tuesday's gathering, no such device materialized. What happened?

d36cb495-6137-46c3-ad4c-1dd7f903df39.jpg
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella did not announce a Surface Mini. But why? Sarah Tew/CNET
It's not fair to call an unofficially announced product "delayed" when it doesn't debut according to the rumored schedule.

But that said, I'm calling the ARM-based Surface Mini delayed. I won't say the long-rumored device has been axed (though it may have been). But I will say, based on reports from my own trusted sources, not to mention sources from a number of my colleagues, Microsoft was planning to unveil a 7- to-8-inch ARM-based Surface tablet on Tuesday in New York.

It didn't happen. Instead, the company rolled out an Intel Core-based Surface Pro 3 with a 12-inch screen.

So what happened to the Surface Mini? I have a couple theories.

One, I'd say Windows 9, a k a "Threshold," happened.

It was no secret that Terry Myerson, Microsoft's operating system group chief, is/was no fan of Windows RT operating system that currently powers the Surface RT and Surface 2 devices. And it's also widely believed that Myerson's team is in the midst of revamping the version of Windows that runs on ARM so that the same version of Windows will be able to run on ARM-based Windows Phones and smaller ARM-based Windows tablets.

Secondly, Microsoft officials said that the reason the company got into the PC/tablet business was to address the segments of the market that its partners couldn't/wouldn't. There are already a few affordable 8-inch Windows 8.x tablets on the market from Dell and Lenovo, among others.

And without the "Gemini" touch-first versions of Office apps for Windows that are in development, would a Surface Mini make a lot of sense? There is a version of OneNote that works on Windows RT, but the other core Office apps still require the Desktop in Windows 8.X.

What are your theories? Why did Microsoft either kill or postpone again the Surface Mini? Will it ever surface?

About the author

    Mary Jo Foley has been a tech journalist for almost 30 years. She is editor of ZDNet's "All About Microsoft" blog. She authored "Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft Plans to Stay Relevant in the Post-Gates Era" and co-hosts the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT Network.

     

    Join the discussion

    Conversation powered by Livefyre

    Show Comments Hide Comments