Last year, rumors were flying around hot that Microsoft was putting together a pint-sized version of its Surface tablet, the presumed Surface Mini. From the sound of things, we’d be getting a device with a display in the seven-to-eight-inch range, and that the aspect ratio might change to an iPad-style 4:3. But then by the time 2014 started looming over the horizon, these Surface Mini rumors began drying up, and we haven’t heard anything noteworthy in several months now. All of a sudden, though, the Surface Mini is back in the spotlight with new rumors discussing the tablet’s hardware, Microsoft’s release plans, and how the Surface Mini might be positioned within the greater Surface lineup.
Reportedly, Microsoft intends to really focus on the Surface Mini’s ability to act as a digital notebook, rather than depicting the tablet as a laptop replacement, as we see with larger Surface models. That would mean support for a high-precision active stylus, like we see on Surface Pro devices.
We also hear that the Surface Mini is essentially a done deal at this point, and its release is simply a matter of Microsoft deciding it’s the right time. Specifically, multiple sources have suggested that a launch sometime this spring is likely, meaning we could be just one or two months away from its unveiling. Failing that, it would almost certainly arrive before the end of the year.
We still have oodles of questions: are we looking at another Tegra 4? How about another 1080p display (or a 4:3 equivalent)? And what could Microsoft be thinking so far as pricing goes? With the Surface 2 starting at $450, would the Mini be more like $350? If a spring launch truly is in the cards, we’re hoping those answers find their way to us soon.