Microsoft accidentally confirms existence of Surface Mini

Microsoft has confirmed the existence of the Surface Mini by including several references to the device in its user guide for the new Surface Pro 3, which went on sale today. As you can see in the image above, the document clearly references the unannounced device.

As we previously reported, the Surface Mini was killed at the last minute and is now expected to be announced when Gemini is ready for release. In total, there are four references to the Surface Mini, first spotted by Paul Thurrott on Twitter, but no further details are known about the device, other than that it was supposed to ship with the same Pen as the Pro 3.

While we don't know exactly when the Surface Mini will be announced, we do know what specs the device will include. The tablet is expected to have a display of 8 inches, feature an ARM CPU made by Qualcomm, have N-trig pen support (as noted by the Pro 3 guide) and does not have a kickstand.

This is obviously a pretty large goof up by Microsoft as this document confirms that the device is real and that our prior information is likely correct. We will be curious to see how long we have to wait for the Surface Mini to actually be release but this document shows that it was nearly ready to go at the time of the Pro 3 announcement.

We have reached out to Microsoft to get a comment on the Surface Mini and there is no comment at this time. When they do figure out how to dance around this mistake, we will be sure to update this post.

Download: Surface Pro 3 user guide (PDF)

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37 Comments

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I imagine this was a careful decision tbh, trying to reprint and repack all the user guides in a month time frame may have compromised their processes or at worst potentially slowed down the availability of stock - its not like the device isn't going to become a reality either.

I would be guessing post launch productions will contain an updated user guide - if they don't then it may be an indication the mini is not too far off.

It was my understanding that when the original SurfaceRT launched it lacked pen support because there wasn't an ARM SoC that would support Wacom digitizer.

Has this changed when they switched to NTrig?

Sucks cause I would have bought a Surface mini day one.

Instead I got sick of waiting and bought an Acer W4 8 inch win tablet that meets my need for a small win tablet very well.

Edited by swanlee, Jun 20 2014, 2:59pm :

Could it be that the documentation was written before it was mentioned that the mini was killed and MS didn't want to redo the docs?

Mini isn't killed, they're obviously simply waiting for Office Touch and the right time to market it (Back to School season).

along with the WP8.1 W8.1 unification making RT a closer relative of WP than full blown x86 windows. Now the Kernel is shared and the API's are being unified its not too far away.

I would love a true ARM only windows 8 OS (as in no desktop, no legacy menus or control panel, a true new OS for small tablets with great battery life and a fully sandboxed and protected environment).

I won't and cannot be the device that was scheduled for release last month.

Considering that the device is waiting for Gemini, it won't be in store before early 2015. By that time, the hardware that was selected for this summer will already have reached the end of its prime market time. And releasing a Mini with hardware significantly inferior to the competition (Apple & Samsung) would be pure marketing suicide.

Sad reality.

Who said it's waiting for Gemini? It's waiting for the modern versions of Office which they said was coming this fall. They're most likely simply waiting for Back to School season (August/September), since it would be stupid to market a device targeted toward students when school ends (June/July).

MS have tricks up their sleeve, they could release the device with a consumer preview version that gets updated to full at launch, I seem to recall something similar (rtm perhaps) for Surface RT.

elenarie said,
Please be a x86 device.

I doubt it, the mini x86 space is full with their OEM partners, they're not going to compete with them, they've said it time and again.

It'll be a ARM device, maybe Snapdragon 801 or 805 depending on when they do release it.

elenarie said,
Please be a x86 device.

I would hate that, I have no desire to try and run desktop apps on such a small device. I want ARM based long battery life and something that will let me browse and use apps for games and consumption.

AtriusNY said,
*an x86

I could of waited for a hour for the grammar Nazi to arrive, but than I rage quited and stopt waiting for they're lazy buts.

duddit2 said,

I would hate that, I have no desire to try and run desktop apps on such a small device. I want ARM based long battery life and something that will let me browse and use apps for games and consumption.

Games, exactly. Not the crap that is in the Windows Store.

duddit2 said,

I would hate that, I have no desire to try and run desktop apps on such a small device. I want ARM based long battery life and something that will let me browse and use apps for games and consumption.

Mini x86 that could be docked to a full screen would be bloody brilliant. I don't think people want to sit there on Office on a small screen, but you can use that for general browsing or whatever then dock to do real work. All on one device, brilliant!

By the way, "As you can see in the image above, the document clearly references the unannounced device." - Yes the pen is different but that isn't a Surface Mini, the dark line isn't the cut off of the machine, it's the kickstand...

elenarie said,

Games, exactly. Not the crap that is in the Windows Store.


Having an x86 processor would be terrible for gaming. Look at the x86 tablets out there -- they feature horrible integrated graphics. Any above-average x86 integrated graphics come at the cost of poor battery life. ARM chips have great graphics performance at reasonable impacts to battery life.

Compare the performance of the iPad mini to any similarly sized Windows 8.1 tablet with an Intel processor and graphics.

Anthony Tosie said,

Having an x86 processor would be terrible for gaming. Look at the x86 tablets out there -- they feature horrible integrated graphics. Any above-average x86 integrated graphics come at the cost of poor battery life. ARM chips have great graphics performance at reasonable impacts to battery life.

Compare the performance of the iPad mini to any similarly sized Windows 8.1 tablet with an Intel processor and graphics.

Horrible? The GPUs in the newer Intel CPUs are not horrible at all. You will not be playing the game at 1080p anyways, but at a more sensible res of 720p or something in between. So far, on the SP2, Portal, FlatOut 2, Braid, World of Goo, Civilisation 5, WoW, Hearthstone, they all run just fine with certainly more fps than the consoles of next-gen can manage. :laugh:

elenarie said,

Horrible? The GPUs in the newer Intel CPUs are not horrible at all. You will not be playing the game at 1080p anyways, but at a more sensible res of 720p or something in between. So far, on the SP2, Portal, FlatOut 2, Braid, World of Goo, Civilisation 5, WoW, Hearthstone, they all run just fine with certainly more fps than the consoles of next-gen can manage. :laugh:


Again, you're completely disregarding size, power draw and battery life. Your expectations are unrealistic.

Anthony Tosie said,

Again, you're completely disregarding size, power draw and battery life. Your expectations are unrealistic.

Perhaps, we'll see.

I think after intel introduced CPUs based on much smaller architecture (which consumes much less battery ) X86 will have an edge over ARM. it was they needed a kick in the bud to work faster. and that kick in the bud was Windows for ARM

elenarie said,

I could of waited for a hour for the grammar Nazi to arrive, but than I rage quited and stopt waiting for they're lazy buts.

Uh....

Your sentence is full of mistakes while trying to correct something what was already correct.... nice!

"a x86" is correct - "An" goes before words that begin with vowels. "X" isn't a vowel

"x86" is pronounced "ex-eighty-six", and as such, should be preceded with "an" ... just like "honor" is preceded with "an" not "a". It's about the sound, not the spelling.