Surface Mini: 8in, ARM, pen support and coming in June

Microsoft’s Surface mini has been a bit of an elusive tablet; having been rumored for over a year and then not arriving in the fall when many expected it to show up on retail shelves, we finally have a press event for the new device. We had previously reveled that the device would come with a pen and the tablet is ready to launch but beyond that, the details were a bit slim, until now.

We knew that Microsoft was working to make the device note-taking friendly but sources are now saying that that OneNote will be baked deep into the platform. What this means is a bit unclear, but OneNote will be getting a prominent role with the tablet so look for it to be a focal point of the device. To build upon this, Paul Thurrott has his own sources who say that the device will "differentiates from the mini tablet competition by providing a very accurate and high quality stylus for note-taking and OneNote integration".

If you were hoping for a kickstand to be built in, we have some bad news, kinda. The device will have a cover available that will work as a stand but, like the touch and type covers, will be an available accessory to the device.

When the Surface 2 launched, it brought with it a new color option, silver. The mini may expand upon the portfolio of options but we won’t speculate on the inclusion of color options on the smaller sized devices.

As previously rumored, the device will be in the 8in class and will be ARM based, which means that Windows RT will be the OS powering the goods. Not really a surprise here as Microsoft knows that if they don’t build RT devices, the OS will go unutilized in the market.

But the one thing everyone wants to know is the release date and look for a June launch but the actual release date is still waffling around a bit.

One item we are still digging to find out is the launch price, that is still not known at this point but we would expect Microsoft to keep it competitive iPad mini which starts at $299 and other tablets, such as the Dell Venue 8 Pro which starts at around $199 depending on which retail shop you find it at.

With Mary Jo Foley accurately hitting a couple of the key Surface mini points on the recent edition of Windows Weekly and our sources are matching that info quite closely, this gives us further validation that these bits should be representative of the final product.

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Just want to put it out there that 8.5"x11" paper is very close to 16x20 in terms of ratio, cutting down the screen size to 8.5"x5.35" would give the magically 16x10 ratio and leave a nice screen size for a purpose built note taking device.

Very disappointed but hardly surprised. I love my Surface Pro and would have picked this but RT is crap. Lack of Apps and support of different hardware is a deal killer for me. Knowing MS and with the way they price, this will be priced at $399 for sure. This will be a niche product and has a place in the market but sadly not in my house. I will stick with Android or iPad Mini for 7-8" Tablets and continue hoping for a miracle that will save RT or bring any apps to the platform.

For those wondering what kind of apps, one would run with Pro? Its not just apps but using that USB port for more than just transferring things over thumb drive. RT has no drivers for most of the hardware out there and just note taking doesn't justify spending money on it. Pen and paper will workout cheaper and more efficient :p

StandingInAlley said,

For those wondering what kind of apps, one would run with Pro? Its not just apps but using that USB port for more than just transferring things over thumb drive. RT has no drivers for most of the hardware out there and just note taking doesn't justify spending money on it. Pen and paper will workout cheaper and more efficient :p


Ask those that buy a Galaxy Note for note taking. Pen and paper is cheaper, and yet digital note taking is very popular with some advantages.

MS has a potential hit here considering how good OneNote is.

StandingInAlley said,
Pen and paper will workout cheaper and more efficient :p

Let me know when I can instantly search for a specific word or phrase with pen and a 200 page (or whatever) notepad, and then I'm fully on board. ;)

Nice I hope Microsoft will eventually release the courier interface as a app for Surface's or have it influence OneNote's direction.

I love my Surface pro but after using it since launch I could easily live with an 8 inch Surface RT device. I get by with 95% metro use and rarely use the desktop portion on my Surface Pro.

I'm more bummed about the lack of kickstand, the kickstand is VERY useful. If the price is right I will pick one of these up.

Island Dog said,
If they want it to even be close to competitive to anything, the price shouldn't be over $199.

It will happen once this becomes a flop, like Surface 1, Ms will be forced to cut the price and sell it for dirt cheap.

StandingInAlley said,

It will happen once this becomes a flop, like Surface 1, Ms will be forced to cut the price and sell it for dirt cheap.

I wouldn't exactly call the Surface 1st gen at $349 as being "dirt cheap".

It's a shame that this device (and any other Surface tablet) is not available in my country (Chile).

Here, the iPad and many other good Android tablets are everywhere.

Even Windows Phone and all Nokia's flashgip devices are gaining traction. But no word on Surface or even Xbox One. I couldn't not understand why MS is complaining about slow adoption if they even are on all markets.

Cheers.

Dear Microsoft,

If you're going to include a pen, how about including a slot on the tablet in which to place it?

Sincerely,
Surface Pro Owners

I'm amazed that they don't include a silo for the Surfaces that have a stylus. Surely they could have made space for one.

I can attach my pen to the charger port (you know the one on the right hand side of the device).

But that is only when the charger is not plugged in of course.

I am curious what kind of issues will it face? Possible answers:

- wifi issues (it took MS around 8 months with constant firmware updates every month to try to fix unreliable wifi issues)
- battery issues
- display issues

I mean knowing the Surface 1 and Surface 2 hw defects and software issues I am more than sure this mini will also suffer some problems.

I just hope that MS sell this at around $250! If there are anytime to take a lost to gain market share quickly, this is now the time.

Despite that this is RT, this is something I might buy, perfect companion to my Lumia 920.
I already have two laptops (12 & 15inch) if i need to do something heavier on the go.

If the price is right im buying it :)

Now lets see if Microsoft is going to go head to head with the Mini and release a Mini with a 4:3 screen.

My Nexus 7 gets next to no use. I just hate the rectangular screen, it annoys. me. My iPad 2 gets more use.

I am a big fan of small devices being the only machine needed. My 11in Air for example once I plug in my LCD display has then a full 22in 1080p resolution and I use my bluetooth keyboard and mouse with it and can work just as I do on my desktop... just no high end games.

I on occasion connect my BT devices up to my nexus 7 and use it like a small laptop, and on the road I have done the same with my phone even if i wanted to type out a long email.

I love small devices that can do 90% of the uses of everyday people. Email, and web is most of that. For most people youtube is the most intensive thing they do.

The reason that I wold like an 8in "pro" is simply for the ability to run Chrome. I have been tempted to get a DV8P, but with an 11in Air that Bootcamps with Windows 8 and a Nexus7, it feels like one to many devices.

I already have: PC desktop, 15in rMBP, 11in Air, Chromebook (never used), Mac Mini (never used),Nexus 7, nexus 5, and a T520 from work. I am debating selling the Mini, Chromebook and Retina MBP.

Edited by AltimaXP, May 16 2014, 6:46pm :

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