Microsoft's Surface tablets haven't been the biggest success but they do offer a unique proposition: a full-spec PC running full Windows 8 but in a portable tablet. format. A mini tablet format, even more. So perhaps a Surface mini could change the firm's fortunes. Here we'll tell you what we know about the Surface mini release date, price and specs. We'll update this story as we know more. Read: See also: Microsoft Surface Pro 3 launch video as it happened.
Following the trend of smaller tablets, Microsoft is thought to be launching a Surface mini in 2014. It will be a 7in tablet, with an Intel processor running full Windows 8. Expect an integral digital pen. You will be able to use it on the move as a tablet, and at your desk as a PC with separate keyboard, mouse and display. And with a case the Surface mini will work as a laptop.
Here's everything else we know about the Surface mini to date.
Surface mini: Release date UK
The Surface mini release date is a highly debated issue and although we've not seen Microsoft mention the device at its last couple of launch events, the latest news is that it will arrive in time for Christmas. This is according to the below tweet from TK Tech News which says supply will be limited.
Sources claim surface mini to launch with surface 3 before holidays. Limited supply on mini
Since Microsoft decided not to announce or mention the Surface mini at the Surface Pro 3 orWindows 10 launches, its future and even its existence are up in the air. There are two possibilities here: the first is that Microsoft has decided to axe the Surface mini and the second is that it is simply still working on it.
We think the latter is true and the device is delayed rather than cancelled. In fact, Neowin claims to have got some hands-on time with the Surface mini.
We expect it will arrive sometime this year and the above tweet agrees. ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley agrees but Bloomberg reports that CEO Nadella and EVP Elop decided to back away from the project because 'wasn't different enough from rivals and wouldn't be a hit'.
"Windows on ARM continues to be an important element of the Windows strategy," is the only thing Microsoft is saying on the subject. evleaks reports that the Surface mini is back in production in anticipation of a summer release.
In Microsoft's FY14 Q4 earnings report, the firm says: "Current year cost of revenue included Surface inventory adjustments resulting from our transition to newer generation devices and a decision to not ship a new form factor."
We saw the 'newer generation' in the Surface Pro 3 so it seems highly likely that the 'new form factor' is the Surface Mini. Hope is not lost for those pining after a Surface Mini, however. Just because it decided against shipping the tablet in May doesn't mean it's given up on the device altogether.
Surface mini: UK price
It's somewhat unclear how much the Surface mini will cost (if it ever does tip up) with one rumour attaching a $450 tag on the device. The original Surface sells for £279 in the UK so we would expect it to come in at the same or lower. However, since the device is quite a bit newer than the Surface, Microsoft could pitch it at around the £300 mark, making it aNexus 7 andiPad mini 2 rival.
Surface mini: Specs
How much the tablet will cost is unclear but the specs of it are more readily available. Via Neowin's hands-on with the Surface mini, it will use an 8in screen,Qualcomm processor, 1 GB of RAM and Windows RT 8.1.
It also has USB support, a microSD card slot and will come with the same pen which is shipped with the Surface Pro 3.
As far as its physical appearance, it looks much like a Surface Pro 3 but in a smaller form factor, according to Neowin. It will supposedly mimic the design of the larger 10.6in models and use the same materials in its design.
Microsoft has apparently made cases for the device which include a kickstand a pen holder and screen protector. The size is simply too small to fit a keyboard like the existing Type Cover.
Neowin said: "This device is the pen and paper killer. The size is fantastic, although the bezel does seem large for the size of the display, but the case creates a compact, easy to carry and highly functional tablet. The bezel size is large enough to have a full size Windows button, exactly like the Pro 3 at the bottom; at the top, there is a front facing camera with roughly the same size bezel."
It's worth bearing in mind that the specs could change by the time the Surface mini launches (if it ever does) because Microsoft has delayed bringing it to market and won't want the components to be out of date.