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
Since Microsoft decided not to announce the Surface mini at the Surface Pro 3 launch, its future and even 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. We expect it will arrive sometime this year. 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.
The latest update comes from evleaks, which says the Surface mini is back in production in anticipation of a summer release.
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 device will be between 7- and 8in in size, according to Neowin. A 7.5in size is possible with a 4:3 aspect ratio and a 1400 x 1080 pixel resolution.
When the Surface mini does arrive, it will mimic the design of the larger 10.6in models and use the same materials in its design.
"Microsoft likes to market products at what they are designed to be used for, and for the Surface mini, it will be all about taking notes." says Neowin. To this end, the Surface mini will come with a digital pen – something along the lines of a Wacom digitiser.
The Surface mini will come pre-loaded with Windows 8.1 RT which means Microsoft is unwilling to put the cut-down OS to bed. The software giant believes ARM offers better price points and battery life.
Microsoft recently launched Windows 8.1 Update and announced its Surface 2 tablet with 4G support is coming to the UK on 8 May. It's available for pre-order now at £539.