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Microsoft Surface event: Join us Tuesday, May 20, at 8 a.m. PT (live blog)

On Tuesday, May 20, at 8 a.m. PT (11 a.m. ET), Microsoft is holding a "small gathering" for what may be a smaller-screen version of the Surface tablet. Join the CNET live blog for real-time coverage.

Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (Windows 8.1)
Sarah Tew/CNET

Microsoft's Surface tablet family includes the flagship Windows 8 product (and one of the only remaining Windows RT models). Now, the existing 10.6-inch models may be joined by a smaller cousin.

That's the general interpretation of Microsoft's invitation to the tech press to what it calls a "small gathering" in New York City on Tuesday, May 20.

A smaller-screen version of the Surface, which has been rumored in past weeks, would be designed to compete with the iPad Mini , Kindle Fire HDX , and the current flood of 8-inch Windows 8 tablets. It's unclear if the purported new Surface would run the full version of Windows 8 (as the Surface Pro 2 line does) or the stripped down Windows RT operating system (found on the non-Pro Surface 2 ), but our money is on the former.

Microsoft Surface 2 (Windows RT)
The Type and Touch covers are considered a Surface highlight. Sarah Tew/CNET

Support documents found online also point to a possible Surface 3 product, leading some to speculate that a new 10.6-inch (or larger) Surface Pro would continue with an Intel CPU and full version of Windows 8, while a smaller Surface would be another ARM device.

The most recent generation of Surface products, the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 received mixed reviews. We said of the Intel-based Surface Pro 2 : "Improved battery life and better accessories make it a worthwhile (albeit pricey) laptop replacement," but without any changes to the chunky body, it "feels more like Surface Pro 1.5."

Of the Windows RT version, we said: "The Surface 2 ultimately suffers from the same problems as the original," most notably a lack of proprietary software, but that "it's faster, with a sharper screen, and houses better cameras." For both the Surface and Surface Pro, we remain enamored of the excellent keyboard covers, which are a design highlight of the Surface line.

Will the third generation of Surface hardware finally be the big breakout hit Microsoft is hoping for?

Tune in to CNET's live blog on Tuesday, May 20 at 8 a.m. PT (11 a.m. ET) to find out.