Microsoft Surface Mini could launch this summer -- report

The rumored mini-me edition of Microsoft's Surface tablet is back in production, claims veteran leaker @evleaks.

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Here's Microsoft's Surface Pro 3. Is a Surface Mini next? Sarah Tew/CNET

Microsoft may finally unveil a mini version of its Surface tablet, at least if a new tip from @evleaks is on the money.

On Monday, the often reliable @evleaks chimed in with its latest bit of scuttlebutt, saying that "Microsoft Surface Mini is back in production, in anticipation of a summer release." Rumors of a Surface Mini popped up in May after Microsoft invited journalists to a "small gathering" in New York City. But so far, a mini version of Microsoft's tablet has yet to appear.

Microsoft recently added to its Surface lineup with the Surface Pro 3, a tablet equipped with a 12-inch screen, a 2,160x1,440 resolution, an Intel Core i5 processor, and 8GB of memory. But the Surface Pro 3 starts at $800, a high price to pay for people who may just want a standard tablet. In contrast, 7-inch and 8-inch tablets have attracted consumers in part because of their low price tags -- usually starting at around $200.

A May report from Bloomberg claimed that a Surface Mini had been in the works but that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and executive vice president Stephen Elop scuttled the product after determining that it wasn't different enough from the competition. Microsoft itself hasn't yet revealed any specifics about a Surface Mini, though Panos Panay, corporate vice president for Surface Computing, told Bloomberg after the May 20 Surface pro event that Microsoft "is still working on smaller versions."

Microsoft has so far focused on the higher-end tablet market, even positioning the Surface Pro 3 as a laptop replacement. A low-cost 7-inch Surface tablet would certainly carve out more of the lower-end tablet market. However, this area is getting increasingly saturated with a flood of smaller-screened Windows 8.1 devices. To compete here, Microsoft would have to come up with one or more killer features to differentiate its Surface Mini from rival products.

Responding to a request for information on an alleged Surface Mini, a Microsoft spokesman told CNET that the company does not comment on rumors or speculation.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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