Microsoft originally planned to introduce a Surface Mini tablet back in early 2014, but the company only ended up announcing the Surface Pro 3, while Satya Nadella, Microsoft's CEO, and Stephen Elop, Nokia's former CEO, canceled the Surface Mini just weeks prior to the unveiling event.
So many details have come out over the years about the Surface Mini, but only recently have images of the device finally, well, surfaced for the first time.
Windows Central has obtained those said images, featuring an 8-inch tablet with a notepad-like design. Microsoft's Surface chief, Panos Panay, previously called the Surface Mini as akin to a Moleskine, and looking at images of the device now, that seems a pretty spot-on description. Microsoft apparently planned for a variety of colorways, but only two have shown up thus far: a standard black one and a red configuration, the latter as seen in the images Thurrott has obtained.
Why Did Microsoft Cancel The Surface Mini?
No one can tell for certain why Microsoft decided to abandon the Surface Mini for good, but The Verge makes a good argument: The company's Windows-powered tablet venture hasn't had much success, and people gravitate more toward larger smartphones instead of 7- or 8-inch tablets.
As mentioned, Microsoft canceled the Surface Mini just weeks before its announcement, presumably because the device had insufficient selling points to warrant its existence at the time. In retrospect, that move seems wise now, considering Windows RT died just a few months later as the company unveiled Windows 10.
Microsoft Surface Mini Specs
Again, the Surface Mini had an 8-inch screen with a 1,440 x 1,080 resolution. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 chip powers everything under the hood, alongside 1 GB of RAM, an Adreno 330, and 32 GB of internal storage. The device even features Microsoft's signature kickstand also found on other Surface devices.
Because it has an ARM processor, the Surface Mini intended to run Windows RT, Microsoft's slightly downgraded mobile version of its Windows 8.x operating system. Microsoft also designed the device to support the Surface Pen.
Microsoft planned to market the Surface Mini as an excellent note-taking tool. Being like a moleskin and even having a Pen loop attached to the kickstand are details which support that supposed selling point.
The Surface Mini wouldn't have a type cover of some sort and is designed solely for pen and touch inputs.
What's Next For The Surface Line
Microsoft's Surface line arguably stands as the company's most recognizable products this era, rivaling Apple's iPad Pro tablet lineup. The Surface brand includes tablets, a full-blown desktop workstation called the Surface Studio, and even a standalone laptop.
Who knows? With Windows 10 arriving on ARM later this year, maybe Microsoft could rekindle plans for a brand-new Surface Mini — one with upgraded internals and features.
As for its more certain plans, Microsoft plans to release an LTE-enabled Surface Pro tablet this October, and the company could unveil refreshed Surface Book models later this year, too. Expect due coverage when we learn more.
Thoughts about the Surface Mini? Do you think Microsoft should have gone ahead and released the mini tablet? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!