Rumor: Microsoft Plans A Surface Mini, Following The Tablet Herd

Does this sound familiar? Take your 10-inch tablet device and try to broaden its appeal by selling a smaller, cheaper, more portable version.

Microsoft has a big press event today about its Surface tablet plans. Aside from revealing what everyone suspects will be the Surface 2, Microsoft may be about to show us a "Surface mini"--a new device with the same end-use but in a smaller chassis.

The rumor came first via Paul Thurrott's Supersite for Windows. While we know nothing about the hardware, the rumors suggest the screen will be 8-inches across and the tablet will be a Windows RT device running an ARM processor inside. That places it as the natural successor to Microsoft's initial Windows RT tablet, which was pitched as a cheap entry-level tablet compared to the incredibly expensive "full" Surface tablet. The Surface RT has been a flop in stores, forcing MS into a write-down of nearly a billion dollars.

Apple's iPad Mini is perhaps the best known of all mid-size tablets, and followed in the footsteps of the original larger iPad. The company is about to release an upgraded iPad Mini in an event that's rumored for October 15.

Last week rumors suggested that MS was keen on the "phablet" device category too, and combined with the new rumor, MS really is desperately trying to catch up to the lead that Apple, Samsung, and Google have achieved in the mobile devices market.

[Image via Flickr user: Jason Howie]

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