Surface Mini? Amazon Product Page Prompts Rumors to Swirl

Friday, 25 Apr 2014 08:18 AM

By Nick Sanchez

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Rumors that Microsoft may soon release a Surface Mini tablet are swirling, after an Amazon vendor created a product page for a "Surface Mini Ultra-Thin Smart Cover Case."

Thus far, no such Microsoft product exists, and the company has only offered its Surface tablets in one size with a 10.6-inch screen, CNet reported.

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The product page for the protective case is vague, not listing measurement specs or other details, which has given tech enthusiasts wide latitude in making predictions about the hypothetical Surface Mini.

Apple has had its own "Mini" iPad since 2012, the same year Microsoft launched its first tablets, and it would make sense for the Seattle tech giant to mirror its highly successful rival with their own "mini." That is, unless one views a Microsoft foray into minis as a doubling down on its meager sales figures for the entire line of tablets to date. If the sales of the hypothetical mini follow the same trend as its bigger counterparts, Microsoft could be looking at huge losses. Still, both Dell and Lenovo already offer 8-inch tablets that run the new Windows 8.1 operating system, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see Microsoft follow suit.

Moreover, Microsoft has optimized its newest version of the Windows 8.1 operating system to work better with smaller devices, both in terms of computing capability and price; the company has announced that Windows 8.1 requires less memory capacity and will be free on all phones and other devices under 9 inches.

The listing pegs availability of the Surface Mini to May 18, which is in line with previous rumors seeded by informants on Microsoft's supply chain, as well as financial analysts' predictions for an early 2014 release of a new device.

Computerworld suggested any Surface Mini launch, regardless of screen size and processing power, must compete on price. Microsoft would be arriving late to the game, where the iPad Mini and Google's Nexus 7 are both under $300. Amazon's Kindle Fire HD is even lower, starting at $139.

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