Microsoft Mini Tablet Expected to Surface
Go small or go home? Microsoft is expected to show off a miniaturized version of the Surface as small slates score big sales for tablets makers.On the eve of a big Microsoft announcement, the industry is waiting to see if a smaller, more compact iteration of the Surface tablet is part of the company's new "mobile-first" approach to IT. Tomorrow, the tech press will descend on Lower Manhattan to see what Microsoft has in store for its Surface tablet product portfolio. The invitation from the Redmond, Wash.-based software and cloud services giant promises a Surface-themed "small gathering," a clue that Microsoft's tablet is shedding some inches. The company is widely expected to announce a smaller version of the non-Pro Surface tablet. The original Surface and Surface 2 are 10.6-inch tablets that run Windows RT, the ARM-compatible flavor of the company's touch-optimized Windows 8 operating system. Despite a big launch alongside Windows 8 in 2012, Surface RT failed to gain much traction in the competitive tablet market. Unlike the Surface Pro, Surface RT tablets can only run ARM-friendly "modern" Windows (formerly Metro) apps, effectively shutting out the massive x86-based software library that Windows has amassed.
Class-competitive specs, premium build quality and an innovative keyboard/cover didn't sway the market. Consumers largely shunned the Windows-in-name-only experience, causing Microsoft to post a massive write-off last summer due to slack Surface RT sales.