Mini Windows 8 Tablets Are Months Away
Microsoft said to expect downsized Windows 8 slates in the "coming months." The company also remarked on the upcoming Windows Blue update to its flagship desktop OS.Mini Windows 8 tablets are in the works, but it may be a while before it joins the Surface in retail. Coming off another round of record-settings earnings, Microsoft finally revealed on April 18 that the company is, in fact, working on building an ecosystem for small, Windows 8 tablets. The disclosure came after news reports and changes to the company's own Windows tablet guidelines that pointed to a smaller Windows slate to compete with popular devices like Apple's iPad Mini and Amazon's Kindle Fire. Last month, ZDNet's Ed Bott noticed that Microsoft quietly updated its Windows 8 certification requirements for OEMs, opening the door to 7-inch tablets. The changes were outlined in the March 12 edition of the Windows Certification Newsletter, which relaxed the display resolution requirements to 1024 by 768 pixels. Bott suggested that, at least in the near term, the chances of a flood of 7-inch Windows tablet are remote. "From the announcement, it appears that the new guidelines are effective immediately, but it's likely that any new devices that use this form factor will ship along with the forthcoming Windows Blue update," he wrote.
Remarks by Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Peter Klein lend some support to that line of thinking. During the April 18 third-quarter earnings call, Klein, who is leaving the company at the end of the fiscal year, said, "We also are working closely with OEMs on a new suite of small touch devices powered by Windows."