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Microsoft Surface Mini: Was Microsoft right to ditch the titchy tablet?

Microsoft Surface Mini: Was Microsoft right to ditch the titchy tablet?

Despite chat to the contrary Microsoft did have a Surface Mini planned after all, it has confirmed.

But in its latest earnings report, the tech giant admitted it axed the titchy tablet at the last minute.

“Current year cost of revenue included Surface inventory adjustments resulting from our transition to newer generation devices and a decision not to ship a new form factor,” the Big M's statement said.

A couple of months ago, a report from Bloomberg said that Microsoft had decided “the product in development wasn’t different enough from rivals and probably wouldn’t be a hit".

As if more proof were needed of the device’s existence, it popped up in the user guide for the Surface Pro 3, which Microsoft launched on its own back in May.

So what do we know about the Surface Mini?

microsoft logo outdoors

It was said to be a 7-inch device running Windows 8, that came with a digital pen.

Microsoft’s full-size Surface tablets haven’t set the world alight in terms of sales.

Last summer, Microsoft admitted it had lost a whopping $900 million on unsold Surface tablets – that equates to about six million of the devices sitting unsold in a warehouse somewhere.

In many ways, a smaller Surface would make a lot of sense. Titchier tablets tend to be cheaper, and so more tempting to consumers.

Just look at the iPad Mini. The cheapest model is just £249, compared to £329 for the full-size iPad.

Smaller tablets are lighter and easier to fit in a bag as well, making them far more portable.

microsoft surface 2 large

These facts would no doubt have boosted sales of the Surface.

Canning the device on the grounds that it wasn’t up to scratch shows that at least Microsoft is exercising quality control.

But it’s a real blow for anyone looking forward to running Windows on a smaller screen.

It could just be the time wasn’t right for the Surface Mini.

With sales of the Surface slumping, Microsoft could want to make it more established as a device before diversifying its portfolio.

After all, who’s going to buy a smaller version of a device that they’ve only vaguely heard of?

Things are looking up for the Surface though. Microsoft says its Surface Pro 3 is its fastest-selling Surface yet.

microsoft surface pro 3

While Microsoft didn’t share exact sales figures, its CFO Amy Hood did confirm its latest tablet is outdoing its predecessor.

“While it’s still early, sales are outpacing earlier versions of Surface Pro,” Hood said during an earnings conference call to investors.

If Microsoft can maintain this momentum, maybe we’ll see a mini rival to the Nexus 7 and iPad Mini in a year or two.

Until then, those of us in search of a smaller slate will just have to take our money elsewhere.

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