In the wake of Microsoft’s surprising Surface Pro 3 introduction and even more shocking Surface mini setback, the question on everyone’s lips is whether the diminutive Windows RT-based tablet has been delayed or terminated altogether.
When Microsoft invited the press to a “small gathering” in New York City on May 20, the only conceivable headliner of the event was the small Surface we’ve been hearing from various sources for a year or so now.
But surprise, surprise, MS, like an Olympic champion in against-the-current swimming, unveiled a bigger, badder slate with full Windows 8.1 Pro and a target way outside of Nexus 7 or iPad mini’s comfort zone: conventional, full-sized laptops.
Nice ruse, huh? Unless it wasn’t all a trick. After all, they say there’s no smoke without fire, and holy smoke, has the atmosphere been foggy of late. Now Bloomberg adds to the confusion by reporting the Surface mini was very much real and slated for a public debut 24 hours ago, until Satya Nadella and Stephen Elop suddenly got cold feet, pulling the plug at the last minute.
Indefinitely? Yeah, probably. Permanently? Maybe not, as the financial publication’s insiders claim Microsoft’s two decision makers reckoned the in-development product “wasn’t different enough from rivals and probably wouldn’t be a hit”.
Sounds plausible, so how does MS plan to fix the problem? Likely by ditching both Windows RT and ARM-based Qualcomm chips. Panos Panay, the tech giant’s very supervisor of the Surface project, insisted in an interview following the Pro 3 announcement that MS hasn’t given up on smaller than 10-inch slates yet, though he of course offered no specifics or timelines.
However development evolves, the earliest a Surface mini could break cover now is next year, once competition worries and a clear target audience are addressed. Solid, tactful plan, albeit the 7 to 8-inch market is starting to flood.
Will 2015 be too late for Surface Pro’s oft-delayed little brother? Should have Microsoft taken the leap of faith yesterday and gambled once again on Win RT? Is 7, 8, 10 or 12 the sweet spot for you? We’re all ears.