Microsoft Expected To Debut 'Mini' Surface this Month

Microsoft is widely expected to launch its long-anticipated "mini" Surface later in May.

The company this week invited some media outlets to a "a small gathering" in New York on May 20. The invitations are for a private press event regarding the Surface line of hybrid tablet PCs, though Microsoft did not offer much else in the way of details.

Speculation that the event will see the launch of a mini Surface tablet has been fueled by the wording on the invitation ("small"), as well as the fact that while smaller tablets are currently one of the fastest-growing device types, Microsoft's own Surface line lacks a product to fill that gap. In contrast, Apple released its iPad mini nearly two years ago, and there are already many Android-based tablets in that form factor.

According to ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will preside over the event, which is suggestive of a major launch.

It remains to be seen whether Microsoft will offer an ARM-based Surface like the Surface 2 that runs Window 8.1 RT, or one powered with an Intel processor running Windows 8.1 Pro. Other key questions are size -- whether the mini Surface device will have a 7- or 8-inch screen -- and price. There are a slew of mini Android and Windows tablets below $300. Microsoft had vowed with the original Surface not to undercut its hardware partners on price.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.