Research firm: 68 percent of Q2 tablet shipments are small-screen devices

Microsoft's current Surface RT tablet has a 10.6-inch screen.

Much has been made about how Microsoft has recently cut the price of its 10.6-inch Surface RT tablet by $150. However, a new report by the research firm Canalys shows that the overall tablet market has now firmly embraced devices that are smaller than the 10.6-inch Surface RT and Surface Pro and the 9.7-inch iPad from Apple.

The Canalys report claims that 68 percent of all tablets shipped in the second quarter of 2013 had displays that were smaller than 9 inches.  Tim Coulling, Canalys Senior Analyst, states:

Consumers have been evaluating tablets and the results are now in ... With touch-screens contributing to a high proportion of the build cost of a tablet, small-screen products can be priced very aggressively.

Apple still leads in terms of overall tablet sales, but iPad shipments declined quite a bit in the second quarter of 2013, while shipments of tablets made by Samsung, Amazon, Lenovo and Acer each went up 200 percent year-over-year. That's mostly due to the fact that those companies sell tablets that are in the seven and eight inch range, which also makes them cheaper and perhaps more desirable by shoppers.

So far, the only Windows 8 tablet that's been released which is smaller than 10.1 inches is the 8.1-inch Acer Iconia W3, which hasn't exactly gotten the best of reviews. However, it looks like overall, the smaller and cheaper tablet is the one that people are gravitating towards from now on. Recent rumors indicated Microsoft is working on a Surface RT device with either a 7- or 8-inch screen.

Perhaps Microsoft should strongly consider launching at least one version of its next Surface RT tablet that has a 7- or 8-inch screen and let the Windows 8 and Intel-based Surface Pro have the larger 10.6-inch screen.

Source: Canalys | Image via Microsoft

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Apple sold 14.6 million iPads in the last quarter.
This is certainly good news for Apple. So good, in fact, that it sees no reason to change.
Henry Ford certainly don't want to change car models: "People can have the Model T in any color -- so long as it's black."
Nor was IBM in a hurry to shift gears from its hot-selling Selectric Typewriters.
Ditto for Kodak, that never even dreamed of leaving its lucrative film business.
Exactly how does one argue against present success -- the good and plenty that's here and now?
Apple investors certainly don't want to. And didn't someone say technology stopped evolving after Steve Jobs?

I found the size of the Acer Iconia W3 to be great. If only the screen quality was better and a Haswell processor was on board plus at least 4GB of memory and a 128GB SSD was included, and supported HDMI out, it will be killer.

Just keep in mind that a smaller surface would need to retain at least the same resolution of screen. The 10 (.1 ?) inch Surface RT is at or near the lower limit in terms of resolution support for the Metro interface if memory serves.

As long as they can shrink the screen size without reducing resolution, they should be fine. Though that would obviously reduce the size of all UI elements. they might have to tweak the default font sizes up a bit to compensate.

siah1214 said,
Microsoft REALLY needs to make a 7 in Surface... That's the form factor where ARM really makes sense.

A 7 inch surface absolutely makes sense sure, as long as they don't nix the bigger models. I love the 7"-ish size for play/reading/etc on my current tablets, but I really want to get a 10-11 inch tablet though for more serious work, it's next on my shopping list. Some applications just are rather inconvenient when there's not much screen real estate to work with. Even worse with a phone.. gawd try an SSH session on your phone some time.. it does work but inconvenient doesn't begin to describe it.. almost passable on my 7". Same with documents that don't resize/reflow well.

Max Norris said,

A 7 inch surface absolutely makes sense sure, as long as they don't nix the bigger models. I love the 7"-ish size for play/reading/etc on my current tablets, but I really want to get a 10-11 inch tablet though for more serious work, it's next on my shopping list. Some applications just are rather inconvenient when there's not much screen real estate to work with. Even worse with a phone.. gawd try an SSH session on your phone some time.. it does work but inconvenient doesn't begin to describe it.. almost passable on my 7". Same with documents that don't resize/reflow well.

Interesting how people preferences can differ: I am looking for a 7" Surface to use it, mostly, as an electronic Filofax and carry it around week-days; excellent for reading as well. My Lumia 920 is not a small device but the ability to handwrite notes etc. is unbeatable, and yes I do not type fast.
As a laptop/ Tablet, I use a Convertible one, the A4 format (8.3 in × 11.7 in) is perfect for me because it is the same size of paper sheets.

siah1214 said,
Microsoft REALLY needs to make a 7 in Surface... That's the form factor where ARM really makes sense.

And then the pundits would complain because of the desktop aspect of the OS not working too well on such a small space, and decry that Microsoft knows nothing, and sucks.

Dot Matrix said,

And then the pundits would complain because of the desktop aspect of the OS not working too well on such a small space, and decry that Microsoft knows nothing, and sucks.

Microsoft Windows Mobile, which mimicked the desktop, and at the time on screens quite smaller than nowadays, had more than 40% of marketshare.... My perfect home page on a 7' device would be Outlook Today....

Dot Matrix said,

And then the pundits would complain because of the desktop aspect of the OS not working too well on such a small space, and decry that Microsoft knows nothing, and sucks.


Sad but true.

siah1214 said,
Microsoft REALLY needs to make a 7 in Surface... That's the form factor where ARM really makes sense.

I also think they need to add the stylus software of the surface pro. I need that for notes in college.

Fritzly said,
Doesn't' t the Surface Pro support handwriting? Are you sure?

Yes, it does. Windows has supported handwriting since XP, and there already is a stylus available for the thing.

Max Norris said,

Yes, it does. Windows has supported handwriting since XP, and there already is a stylus available for the thing.

Thanks for the confirmation; this was my understanding as well......

Fritzly said,

Thanks for the confirmation; this was my understanding as well......

I meant like the one that's available on the surface pro.