Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) had been working on a mini version of its Surface tablet but had delayed it. According to a report from Digitimes, the company had said in the past that it had tabled plans for a mini version of the Surface because management did not think it would sell very well. However, the Surface Mini may be back in production, according to Twitter tipster @evleaks.
Microsoft Surface Mini is back in production, in anticipation of a summer release. – http://t.co/a7DRVU3CdY
— @evleaks (@evleaks) July 7, 2014
Microsoft Surface Mini coming soon?
There have been rumors about a Surface Mini going around for quite some time. Microsoft’s most recent addition to its Surface tablet lineup was the Surface Pro 3, which it launched at an event in May. However, the 12-inch tablet starts out at $800, which is far too high for those who are looking for only a standard tablet. Many consumers have been drawn to the $200 tablets that are seven to eight inches in size.
Microsoft management said a couple of months ago that the company was working on smaller Surface tablets. That initially led to speculation that the scheduled May event would have been about the Surface Mini. So far though, the company has only catered to the high-end tablet market. Microsoft has positioned the Surface Pro 3 as a replacement for laptops.
There have been indications that a Surface Mini is in the product pipeline though. The manual for the Surface Pro 3 referenced the Surface Mini, which had to have been an accident. Business Insider speculates that Microsoft had been planning to launch both the Pro 3 and the Mini at the same time but decided at the last second not to. Also a researcher noticed some “activity” in Microsoft’s supply chain regarding a tablet with a 7.5-inch display.
What would make the Surface Mini a success?
As CNET reports, releasing a mini version of the Surface tablet would broaden Microsoft’s addressable tablet market. However, the big problem faced by the company is the growing number of smaller tablets that already run Windows 8.1. If Microsoft wants to gain a foothold at the lower end of the tablet market, then the Surface Mini will have to have some unique features that set it apart from competitors.