The Surface mini project isn’t as dead as you might think, Neowin says, reporting that the device is real and may still launch in the future. The publication has confirmed that the mini tablet was excluded from the official Surface Pro 3 announcement following an “eleventh hour” decision – which apparently means as late as two days before the keynote – although it’s not clear whether or not Stephen Elop is to blame. However, it looks like Windows is waiting for one key feature to resurrect the Surface mini.
The publication says that Microsoft has already produced between 15,000 and 20,000 Surface mini units, partly to have them on hand for launch and partly to test the production line. They are now supposedly being stored somewhere safe.
Apparently, Microsoft wants its touch-first Office version to launch before it starts selling the Surface mini. Dubbed “Gemini,” the touch-first Office suite has been designed to better fit the needs of mobile device users, featuring a minimal design that’s more friendly to touch gestures than Microsoft’s Office desktop collection of productivity apps.
The Gemini has already been shown online in a few leaked images taken from a Microsoft presentation and should be launched this fall, according to Neowin.
The software pack is seen as a differentiating factor for the Surface mini, which would be able to offer users proper productivity tools on a smaller display. The publication says that Microsoft was afraid the Surface mini’s lack of differentiating features would make it a tough sale, which was a reason for postponing its launch, yet again.