Analysts working at IHS iSuppli have told CNet that a Windows RT powered tablet with a 7.5-inch display is being worked on by Microsoft. This ‘Surface Mini’ tablet will use a 4:3 aspect ratio 1,400 x 1,050 pixel display and it is also possible it will be equipped with mobile broadband connectivity. Earlier analyst insights provided to CNet suggested that the device will hit mass production early in 2014.
The latest CNet report says that the new information, revealed to them by Rhoda Alexander, director, Tablet and Monitor Research at IHS iSuppli, corroborates earlier market analysis from NPD DisplaySearch. CNet tosses its own thoughts into what may constitute the upcoming Surface Mini tablet, saying that it’s likely to offer cellular connectivity options. Earlier in the year Michael Angiulo, corporate vice president at Microsoft told the tech magazine that ARM powered devices with mobile broadband capability still offer much better battery life than Intel alternatives.
The Verge notes that the 1,400 x 1,050 pixel display quoted by analysts to CNet is much more likely to be actually 1,440 x 1,080. Earlier this year Microsoft updated its developer tools and they include specific references to this 1,440 x 1,080 resolution.
Earlier rumours about a Surface Mini from both The Verge and Wall Street Journal didn’t come to fruition at the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 launch this Monday in New York. However in an interview with The Verge following the Surface 2 launch Microsoft’s Panos Panay responded to a question about the utility value of a 7 or 8-inch Surface Mini by saying “If I told you how I'd do that I'd be giving one or two things away.”
We will be keeping an eye on these Surface Mini rumours and developments, hoping for an Intel Bay Trail powered Surface Mini and also for competitive/attractive pricing points.