Surface Mini event is on, press event scheduled for May 20th

Microsoft has sent out Surface mini press invitations and May 20th is the date where Microsoft will be announcing the highly anticipated smaller version of the Surface in New York.

The tablet has been rumored for well over a year but it looks like the time is finally right for the device to be launched. With May 20th just a few weeks away, all will be unveiled in a short order of time. 

The event will kick-off at 11am EDT / 8AM PDT.

We already know a little bit about the device as the specs have slowly leaked leading up to the announcement that will take place on the 20th. It will be a device in the 7-8in class and will support a pen input which means that it has a Wacom digitizer (or similar) underneath the glass.

As always, Neowin will be covering the event and keeping close tabs on what Microsoft is doing leading up to the announcement. Stay tuned as we work to bring you more details about the device over the next couple of weeks.

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fingers crossed that there will be a side announcement. Maybe something along the lines of the Surface 2 Pro getting LTE connectivity.

I'm actually more interested of the changes they made to Windows RT. If rumors are true we should see pen support for RT and other features taken from Windows Phone. Can't wait to have a more coherent WP RT experience on a tablet.

How do we know it isn't a phone :p

I would much rather have a phone than a mini tablet with the surface name, there are a few good windows 8 tablets in the 200-300 price range like the dell venue pro 8.

On every site that has been reporting this so far and based on previous comments based on previous rumours, this will DEFINITELY be their best seller and has great demand.

I hope availability won't be too long after the announcement... Would love one ASAP :D

prettyconfusd said,
Paul Thurrott is heavily implying we'll see more than one new Surface launched at the event...

Should be exciting!

Most likely the third gen Surface and Surface Pro models?

prettyconfusd said,
Paul Thurrott is heavily implying we'll see more than one new Surface launched at the event...

Should be exciting!

Surface 8 RT and Surface 8 Pro :)

But here's hoping for either a bigger Surface (13") or a Surface laptop as well.

Dot Matrix said,

Most likely the third gen Surface and Surface Pro models?

Well Broadwell isn't out yet, so I'd doubt there will be a new Surface generation. Maybe they'll just update the Surface Pro 2 to the new refreshed Haswell CPUs.

Dot Matrix said,

Most likely the third gen Surface and Surface Pro models?

"Small gathering" maybe more than one smaller device... Surface Phone! Come on :D

Great news, hopefully this means pen support will come to the Surface RT 3. That would be an insta-buy to upgrade my Gen 1 Surface.

Right on, 16:10 is better suited for dual landscape/portrait use cases. Partly because it has better weight distribution in portrait mode.

Why would you make your decision based off of screen resolution? There's a lot of deciding factors I can think of, but considering that even Apple sells 13" Macbook's with 1/2 that resolution, it seems like an odd deciding factor.

greenwizard88 said,
Why would you make your decision based off of screen resolution? There's a lot of deciding factors I can think of, but considering that even Apple sells 13" Macbook's with 1/2 that resolution, it seems like an odd deciding factor.

What Apple does is hardly relevant to any other company. People will buy an Apple device because it is an Apple device. Not many crazies like that for other companies.

mrp04 said,
Wacom or don't bother

I'm curious - if they did, that would raise the price. Si it wouldn't be a bargain-basement tablet. Where are they planning to hit, pricewise?

Chikairo said,

I'm curious - if they did, that would raise the price. Si it wouldn't be a bargain-basement tablet. Where are they planning to hit, pricewise?

Surface tablets are not bargain basement devices. If you want bargain basement, don't expect it to come from Microsoft.

Chikairo said,

I'm curious - if they did, that would raise the price. Si it wouldn't be a bargain-basement tablet. Where are they planning to hit, pricewise?

It won't make it TOO much more expensive but yeah it definitely will increase the cost. There are plenty of cheap-ass Windows tablets if you want a cheap one, Surface has always been higher end.

As long as accuracy and performance of the digitizer system is part of the design, build and testing of the Surface Mini it shouldn't matter which technology used. I know that some OEMs have had a tendency to should slap a digitizer but I can't see Microsoft overlooking the technical details in implementing, building and supporting digitizer tech in a form factor ideal for that use case. We'll see but I wouldn't be surprised to see them come out with their own digitizer technology. Something they can not only include with Surfaces but ultimately license to tablet makers to make up for some lost revenue on the Windows licensing costs (for devices under 9"). I know in years past Microsoft Research had been working on a technology that could essentially digitizer enable any display.

mrp04 said,

It won't make it TOO much more expensive but yeah it definitely will increase the cost. There are plenty of cheap-ass Windows tablets if you want a cheap one, Surface has always been higher end.

I don't want a cheaper one. I'm sort of relieved by the idea, actually. A lot of the problems in the PC industry are self-inflicted wounds due to the "race to the bottom" for pricing with OEMs. If a company makes a quality product, then I don't mind them charging a bit more so there's an actual, decent, profit margin. The whole razor-thin, "make it up in volume" model does have some benefits, but I think the industry is at the point they need to reconsider that.

I'm hoping ARM.. I want something with stellar battery, but if they do go x86 I hope they have the thing optimized like crazy;P

dingl_ said,
I'm hoping ARM.. I want something with stellar battery, but if they do go x86 I hope they have the thing optimized like crazy;P

X86 vs ARM barely makes a difference with the latest x86 CPUs. Windows RT has become pointless. But if it wasn't ever made then Intel night not have made x86 that power efficient.

mrp04 said,

X86 vs ARM barely makes a difference with the latest x86 CPUs. Windows RT has become pointless. But if it wasn't ever made then Intel night not have made x86 that power efficient.


At the same time, what's the benefit of x86 for something that small? And likely low-powered? A desktop app is going to rather painful to use, IMO. You're not going to get any real work done, and you'll be severely limited in regards to games.

Honestly, Windows RT/Modern/Metro and ARM make sense at that size and below. Especially if they eventually marge RT and WP. We're headed that way with the universal apps, I think.

dingl_ said,
I'm hoping ARM.. I want something with stellar battery, but if they do go x86 I hope they have the thing optimized like crazy;P
i currently have a Dell Venue 8 Pro and battery life is no problem on it. the Atoms have gotten really good for that. would like it to be a little more powerful though (minecraft lags a little bit :p) so hoping for good specs on the surface mini

Chikairo said,

At the same time, what's the benefit of x86 for something that small? And likely low-powered? A desktop app is going to rather painful to use, IMO. You're not going to get any real work done, and you'll be severely limited in regards to games.

Honestly, Windows RT/Modern/Metro and ARM make sense at that size and below. Especially if they eventually marge RT and WP. We're headed that way with the universal apps, I think.

i totally set up minecraft to work with a ps4 controller on my Dell Venue 8 Pro. works surprisingly good too.

Chikairo said,

At the same time, what's the benefit of x86 for something that small? And likely low-powered? A desktop app is going to rather painful to use, IMO. You're not going to get any real work done, and you'll be severely limited in regards to games.

Honestly, Windows RT/Modern/Metro and ARM make sense at that size and below. Especially if they eventually marge RT and WP. We're headed that way with the universal apps, I think.

There are many things on the desktop that you might not want to use while away but are useful.

mrp04 said,

X86 vs ARM barely makes a difference with the latest x86 CPUs. Windows RT has become pointless. But if it wasn't ever made then Intel night not have made x86 that power efficient.

Using the Desktop on a 7 or 8 in devices is pointless and overkill.

mrp04 said,

X86 vs ARM barely makes a difference with the latest x86 CPUs. Windows RT has become pointless. But if it wasn't ever made then Intel night not have made x86 that power efficient.

I disagree. For a device like this, x86 is a lousy choice of processor to go with.

ians18 said,

Using the Desktop on a 7 or 8 in devices is pointless and overkill.

But being able to dock to an external monitor is incredibly useful :)

ians18 said,

Using the Desktop on a 7 or 8 in devices is pointless and overkill.

Dot Matrix said,

I disagree. For a device like this, x86 is a lousy choice of processor to go with.

Why? The power usage difference is almost negligible. There are zero advantages to using ARM. If you don't want to use the desktop then you don't have to. I like having it available. Going with ARM rules out people who want x86. Going with x86 doesn't really effect people who would be fine with ARM. My x86 Venue 8 pro can do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING Windows RT can do, but not the other way around.

It can also run malicious code, aka viruses.. Windows RT nothing can run except Store apps and approved compiled ARM desktop programs(of which only Microsoft has produced Office etc)

I want to try a nice lightweight tablet that is immune to any kind of malicious infection, something I can give to my mom as a gift. tho it looks like its going that way anyway Surface Mini is said to use Qualcomm processor ;)

mrp04 said,

Why? The power usage difference is almost negligible. There are zero advantages to using ARM. If you don't want to use the desktop then you don't have to. I like having it available. Going with ARM rules out people who want x86. Going with x86 doesn't really effect people who would be fine with ARM. My x86 Venue 8 pro can do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING Windows RT can do, but not the other way around.

x86 carries with it all that legacy baggage, like dingle said above - malware being the biggest threat.

dingl_ said,
It can also run malicious code, aka viruses.. Windows RT nothing can run except Store apps and approved compiled ARM desktop programs(of which only Microsoft has produced Office etc)

I want to try a nice lightweight tablet that is immune to any kind of malicious infection, something I can give to my mom as a gift. tho it looks like its going that way anyway Surface Mini is said to use Qualcomm processor ;)

Dot Matrix said,

x86 carries with it all that legacy baggage, like dingle said above - malware being the biggest threat.

do you guys really think RT is going to stay malware free forever? not even iOS can stay fully malware free, every now and then something sneaks through

Brando212 said,
do you guys really think RT is going to stay malware free forever? not even iOS can stay fully malware free, every now and then something sneaks through

That's not the way RT works. It's nearly impossible to run unsigned code on RT, unless it comes through the store.

Dot Matrix said,

That's not the way RT works. It's nearly impossible to run unsigned code on RT, unless it comes through the store.

same could be said about iOS as well (talking about non jailbroken here). but my previous post still stands true about it

Dot Matrix said,

x86 carries with it all that legacy baggage, like dingle said above - malware being the biggest threat.

You can simply turn UAC all the way up or run as a standard user. Never answer yes to UAC and you basically have Windows RT. Using x86 would only increase the amount of potential buyers. There are only a very small amount of people who would actually prefer ARM/RT

Dot Matrix said,

That's not the way RT works. It's nearly impossible to run unsigned code on RT, unless it comes through the store.

Yet people nearly instantly found a way to do so. I don't know if that hack still works since I don't care for Windows RT but people were running unsigned Win32 programs on the desktop shortly after release.

All the "baggage" still exists in RT as evidenced by the fact that simply recompiling those desktop programs for ARM allowed them to run on the desktop once the code signing requirement was disabled.

mrp04 said,

You can simply turn UAC all the way up or run as a standard user. Never answer yes to UAC

Then you literally would not be able to install anything.

ians18 said,

Then you literally would not be able to install anything.

That option is for people who are saying they'd prefer RT. If you have x86 and do that then it's basically RT. You can still install things from the Windows Store because that doesn't require UAC elevation.

I on the other hand wouldn't do that since I want to be able to use desktop things occasionally.

See, x86 tablet can fit BOTH use cases, where ARM can ONLY fit the modern apps only use case.

mrp04 said,

That option is for people who are saying they'd prefer RT. If you have x86 and do that then it's basically RT. You can still install things from the Windows Store because that doesn't require UAC elevation.

I on the other hand wouldn't do that since I want to be able to use desktop things occasionally.

See, x86 tablet can fit BOTH use cases, where ARM can ONLY fit the modern apps only use case.

Sure, from a security standpoint, but from the battery life, cheapness, and connected standby, thinness (no fans, less resource intense = lower component requirements), and the premium feel of the hardware RT devices are better.

ians18 said,

Sure, from a security standpoint, but from the battery life, cheapness, and connected standby, thinness (no fans, less resource intense = lower component requirements), and the premium feel of the hardware RT devices are better.

i have a dell venue 8 pro
1. it has no fans.
2. battery life is just as good as most arm tablets out there.
3. if feels pretty premium to me (and very thin)
4. it was nicely priced
5. x86 windows 8 tablets do have connected standby

can't really comment on the resource usage as i haven't messed with RT too much

Brando212 said,
i have a dell venue 8 pro
1. it has no fans.
2. battery life is just as good as most arm tablets out there.
3. if feels pretty premium to me (and very thin)
4. it was nicely priced
5. x86 windows 8 tablets do have connected standby

can't really comment on the resource usage as i haven't messed with RT too much

Another thing great about RT is you can hand these things to students, and no viruses/malware can infect the machine. UAC is not an option, users can just say yes.

ians18 said,

Another thing great about RT is you can hand these things to students, and no viruses/malware can infect the machine. UAC is not an option, users can just say yes.

i'm not gonna argue that a locked down system like RT wouldnt be good for cases like schools because you are right in that regard.

what would make it even better though is if RT supported workgroups which i'm pretty sure it still doesn't (honestly not sure why MS left that out. it would have made RT a LOT more appealing to businesses and schools if the devices could be joined in the network)

Sold!
tho I'd much prefer it ran WinPhoneOS i'm sure I can make use of another Small tab, been liking my Venue8Pro quite a lot, always in the Metro/modern side

but I will buy Microsofts Mini just because I want to support what they're doing

dingl_ said,
Sold!
tho I'd much prefer it ran WinPhoneOS i'm sure I can make use of another Small tab, been liking my Venue8Pro quite a lot, always in the Metro/modern side

but I will buy Microsofts Mini just because I want to support what they're doing

How is handwriting with it? I heard conflicting reports about it and withheld buying it. If MS one has a Wacom I am sold though.

Cosmocronos said,

How is handwriting with it? I heard conflicting reports about it and withheld buying it. If MS one has a Wacom I am sold though.

If you mean the Dell V8P, handwriting on it is quite good out of the box. It isn't as good a pen as the Surface, so if that's important to you then Surface is better. The V8P pen does have decent pressure-sensitivity and is plenty good for my note-taking and sketches.

smot said,

If you mean the Dell V8P, handwriting on it is quite good out of the box. It isn't as good a pen as the Surface, so if that's important to you then Surface is better. The V8P pen does have decent pressure-sensitivity and is plenty good for my note-taking and sketches.

Thank you

warwagon said,

Give me Give me 4:3 and i'm in! To Me 4:3 feelsso much more natural as a table than 16:9


4:3 is more obsolete as an aspect ratio than Windows XP is obsolete as an operating system.

warwagon said,
Give me 4:3 and i'm in! To Me 4:3 feels so much more natural as a table than 16:9

4:3 is a horrible aspect ratio. Nothing is built for it.

warwagon said,
Give me 4:3 and i'm in! To Me 4:3 feels so much more natural as a table than 16:9

I think it will be more natural in Portrait at 16:9 at 7-8". That size works very well particularly for note taking and document signing.

Dot Matrix said,

4:3 is a horrible aspect ratio. Nothing is built for it.

IPad mini / IPad, the 2 tablets that pretty much dominate the market, are built for it.

Edited by warwagon, May 6 2014, 1:35am :

warwagon said,

IPad mini / IPad, the 2 tablets that pretty much dominate the market, are built for it.

And? Are movies,and other media running on that 4:3?

Dot Matrix said,

And? Are movies,and other media running on that 4:3?


Indeed. The only type of media that looks good on an iPad is something that was originally
made in the 4:3 aspect ratio. Like an original series episode of Knight Rider from 1984 ... !

Dot Matrix said,

And? Are movies,and other media running on that 4:3?

Correct. Movies are great on 16:9 ... umm that's about it.

I was always wondering what I liked about my HP touch pad that I gave to my mom with android on. I always liked it much better than my Nexus 7. Come to find out 4:3 screen!

warwagon said,

Correct. Movies are great on 16:9 ... umm that's about it.


Movies yes ... and pretty much every TV show made in widescreen and/or HDTV.

warwagon said,

Correct. Movies are great on 16:9 ... umm that's about it.

I was always wondering what I liked about my HP touch pad that I gave to my mom with android on. I always liked it much better than my Nexus 7. Come to find out 4:3 screen!

Movies shot in 16:9 look great on 16:9 screens, but most movies are now shot in 21:9 (The Amazing Spider-Man 2 for instance), so you still get black bars...

warwagon said,

Correct. Movies are great on 16:9 ... umm that's about it.

I was always wondering what I liked about my HP touch pad that I gave to my mom with android on. I always liked it much better than my Nexus 7. Come to find out 4:3 screen!

Note taking as well, works better on widescreen. Everything we do today is widescreen based. Our photos are taken in widescreen aspect ratios. Movies. TV.

Widescreen simply allows for more doing.

Dot Matrix said,

4:3 is a horrible aspect ratio. Nothing is built for it.

It's much better for reading books on.

68k said,
It's much better for reading books on.

Books are better in 4:3. Everything else, not so much. Netflix/Movies, 4:3 is awful for them. I would rather have 16:9 or 16:10 because of that. But the book thing is definitely true =).