It’s no longer a matter of speculation, Microsoft is alone in the Windows RT tablet business and will be for time to come. But as hard as it might be to believe, the first-gen Surface RT and Surface 2 will get company sooner or later.

microsoft surface Rumor roundup: Surface Mini still very much real, but not landing in 2013 after all

And I’m not (just) talking about the Nokia Lumia 2520, which technically may become Microsoft property soon after its release. There’s also a Surface Mini in the making, which rumor had it was to come this fall, alongside a bevy of smaller or larger Windows 8.1 slates.

According to new whispers however, that plan fell through and the iPad Mini, Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 challenger is now slated for an “early 2014” launch. Why so late? Apparently, the Surface Mini will be one of the first devices to come pre-loaded with a new Windows version, which will take 8.1 RT to the next level, internally known as “Spring 2014 GDR”. Or in other words, GDR 4.

At the same time, Microsoft is expected to bump Windows Phone up too, courtesy of the platform’s “first major update” since WP 8 was rolled out a year ago. Codenamed “Blue” (hmm, where did we hear that before?), the new version of the OS could actually end up being called Windows Phone 8.1 and is believed to be the first step towards the unifying of WP with RT.

surface 2 Rumor roundup: Surface Mini still very much real, but not landing in 2013 after all

Complicated and confusing stuff, I know, so let’s leave all this software mumbo-jumbo aside for a moment and instead talk specs. Albeit it’s much too early to take anyone’s word for granted, Rhoda Alexander with IHS iSuppli claims her rock-solid sources have informed her the Surface Mini will come with a 7.5-inch display in tow.

Well, that’s new. And you know what else could be new, as well as quite the risky gamble? A 4:3 aspect ratio and 1,400 x 1,050 pixels resolution for the 7.5-inch screen. 4G LTE connectivity is reportedly in the cards for the tab too, which may well explain (and confirm) those rumors that surfaced (no pun intended) a couple of days ago. Still, Windows RT? Come on, Microsoft, you can do better than that. Much better.

Sources: ZD Net, Neowin, CNet