It didn’t turn up at Microsoft’s press conference earlier this week like the Associated Press said it would, but a smaller Surface tablet is almost certainly in the works. The latest report suggesting Microsoft is on the verge of announcing a “Surface mini” comes from IHS iSuppli analyst Rhoda Alexander, who told CNET that the upcoming Windows RT slate will feature a 7.5-inch display with a 4:3 aspect ratio and 1,400 x 1,050-pixel resolution. The only other detail provided was that the new Surface tablet may include embedded 3G/4G connectivity, which would be a first for Microsoft. A separate report on Wednesday from ZDNet suggested that Microsoft’s tinier tablet won’t debut until next year, so those looking for a new Surface in 2013 will seemingly have to choose to either the Surface 2 or the Surface Pro 2.
Microsoft isn’t just releasing new versions of the Surface Pro and Surface RT this year. According to Paul Thurrott’s Supersite for Windows, Microsoft plans to unveil a smaller 8-inch tablet that will run on a Qualcomm ARM processor and Windows RT 8.1. Thurrott says that the smaller “Surface mini” tablet won’t be announced during the company’s big Surface press event on Monday but will instead be announced at a later date. We’ve known for a while now that Microsoft has been planning to release a smaller version of its Surface tablet that it will price to compete with Apple’s iPad mini, Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD. Microsoft made some important changes to its hardware certification standards earlier this year by lowering minimum display resolution requirements, thus making it easier for companies to produce smaller devices based on Windows 8. More →