Microsoft scrapped iPad mini competitor late in development process, documents suggest

Posted:
in iPad edited June 2014
References to a "Surface Mini" discovered in the user manual for Microsoft's latest tablet foray suggest that the software giant scrapped or delayed the long-rumored 8-inch variant -- which would have gone up against Apple's iPad mini -- at the last minute, opting to put all of their eggs in the larger basket.




The manual makes at least four references to the more diminutive version of Microsoft's tablet, referring to processes for pairing and using the Surface Pen with the Surface Mini. Microsoft watcher Paul Thurrott first discovered the references and they were published by PC World.

Microsoft was widely expected to unveil a smaller, ARM-based version of the Surface at their media event late last month. Instead, the company only showed off the Intel-powered Surface Pro 3, leading to reports that the smaller variant had been pulled at the last minute -- whispers now backed up by the recent discoveries.

Surface chief Panos Panay seemed to confirm that the Mini was still in the works during an "ask me anything" session on social news site Reddit following the May event.

"As you've likely already read, we've said all along that we have a roadmap of products," Panay said at the time. "Exactly what they look like and precisely when they might come to market, you'll have to wait and see."

The iPad mini has proved popular for Apple, with its two variants -- one with a Retina display, one without -- taking some 41 percent of Apple's tablet sales over the holidays. It is unclear how that might change if Apple follows through on rumors of a 5.5-inch "phablet" version of the iPhone, with many consumers likely to consider the slightly smaller device in favor of simplification.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    It must be hard to be Microsoft....
  • Reply 2 of 34
    negafoxnegafox Posts: 480member

    My guess is that Microsoft will replace the Surface RT line with the Surface Mini. They released a Surface Pro 3, but not a Surface 3. By not refreshing their RT line, my guess is they chalked it up to a failure and planning something else like a Mini.

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    Microsoft scrapped iPad mini competitor late in development process, documents suggest


     


    What documents suggest they scrapped an iPad mini competitor? There is a manual with references to a Surface Mini which may still be development but inadvertently revealed in the manual.

  • Reply 3 of 34
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,069member
    At least the bigger model can somewhat pretend to be a compromised laptop of sorts. A smaller Surface, without a reasonable selection of touchable apps, no good support for legacy Windows apps and only limited means to add a remotely usable keyboard... is no product at all, only a next-of-Kin.
  • Reply 4 of 34
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Judging by the Surace line that DID ship, the Surface Mini would have been about three inches thick... with an optional added-cost keyboard that isn't as nice as the real laptop-style keys found in the Logitech iPad covers that Mictosoft copied.
  • Reply 5 of 34
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    [QUOTE]The manual makes at least four references to the more diminutive version of Microsoft's tablet...[/QUOTE]

    Should be easy to fix. I'm sure Word has a global replace / delete feature.
    Doesn't it?
  • Reply 6 of 34
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Just for kicks I went to my analytics to check how many hits I have received from Surface devices, Going back 30 days I came up with zero. 28% of my hits are from IE but none for ARM and none for Touch, which are in the user agent for Surface. This is a medical site with thousands of visitors per day.

     

    Other stats:

    Chrome 34%

    IE 28%

    Safari 19% (69% iOS)

    Firefox 12%

    Android 3%

     

    Interesting iOS  I got 4 hits from 9537.53 which is iOS 8

  • Reply 7 of 34
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    Originally Posted by Negafox View Post

     

    My guess is that Microsoft will replace the Surface RT line with the Surface Mini ...


     

    My guess is that Satya Nadella has been ordered by the Microsoft board to pick one of the following and kill it:

     

    Windows 8.x (Surface Pro and legacy desktop)

    Windows Phone

    Windows RT

     

    Should be an easy choice, no?

  • Reply 8 of 34
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,716member
    Didn't we already know this a month ago? [URL=http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-20/microsoft-said-to-back-off-plans-to-debut-smaller-surface.html]Microsoft Said to Back Off Plans to Debut Smaller Surface | Bloomberg.com[/URL]
  • Reply 9 of 34
    The 5.5-inch iPhone phablet would just be a stretched smartphone¡
  • Reply 10 of 34
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member

    For a change, MS made the right decision.

     

    I'm fairly certain that at least 75% of all non-Apple tablets ever released should never even have been made.

  • Reply 11 of 34
    dreyfus2 wrote: »
    At least the bigger model can somewhat pretend to be a compromised laptop of sorts. A smaller Surface, without a reasonable selection of touchable apps, no good support for legacy Windows apps and only limited means to add a remotely usable keyboard... is no product at all, only a next-of-Kin.

    The flip side is that this Surface mini might have made a convincing imitation of a post-PC style tablet, like the iPad. The PC-in-tablet-clothing Surface Pro is always dressed and used like a laptop every time I've seen it in the wild, in marketing ads, and in store demos. It only manages to convince me that its really a laptop with a touchscreen.
  • Reply 12 of 34
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,003member
    Microsoft ... the company based on Mac OS (ripped off by funny hair cut man Gates) and Steve Jobs' Office (which Microsoft was hired to develop, for the Mac, by Steve). In other words, the company that should not exist.
  • Reply 13 of 34
    apple ][ wrote: »
    For a change, MS made the right decision.

    I'm fairly certain that at least 75% of all non-Apple tablets ever released should never even have been made.

    Yeah, but they make good Christmas gifts from clueless grannies to kids who asked for an iPad... then the following summer they make good garage sale fodder for even MORE clueless rubes before hitting the landfill. You can't get that kind of use out of an iPad. /s
  • Reply 14 of 34
    karmadavekarmadave Posts: 300member
    I've played with the Dell 8" Windows tablet and based on my experience I think MS would be smart to kill the product. Windows 8 tablets are really just hybrid laptops and an 8" screen is simply too small to be useful. This why MS went with a 12" screen for the Surface Pro 3.
  • Reply 15 of 34
    ingelaingela Posts: 217member

    Anyone that owns a Windows 8 touch machine would know right off that the OS is barely workable with screens that are larger that 10"

    There is no way that it would have worked on smaller form factors and they knew it.

     

    Word is that they will scrap any incremental improvements to 8 and just get right to 9 with a redesigned interface. Good thinking. This isn't just picking on MS, it really is a huge mess.

  • Reply 16 of 34
    karmadavekarmadave Posts: 300member

    Problem, for Microsoft, is they still don't have a decent tablet OS so any 'improvements' would need to be made on touch and developer support. My constantly trying to 'extend the PC' they developed an OS that is neither a tablet or desktop OS...

  • Reply 17 of 34
    relicrelic Posts: 4,735member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ingela View Post

     

    Anyone that owns a Windows 8 touch machine would know right off that the OS is barely workable with screens that are larger that 10"

    There is no way that it would have worked on smaller form factors and they knew it.

     

    Word is that they will scrap any incremental improvements to 8 and just get right to 9 with a redesigned interface. Good thinking. This isn't just picking on MS, it really is a huge mess.


    That's not true at all, I absolutely enjoy using my ThinkPad 8. Even though I probably wouldn't use it for Photoshop work unless it was connected to a monitor there are still many Metro apps that work quite well. The two things that it does extremely well, even much better than iOS is surfing and multimedia, can even do both at the same time with split screen. Since it has a built in micro HDMI and MiraCast, displaying movies on a projector or TV couldn't be easier and is a much better experience then most tablets. I know I'm in the minority here but I like Windows 8 on a 8" screen, it's not perfect but nor is it far from useless or a huge mess, it's a great size for content consumption and the ability to just plug it into dock or simply lay it on the bed and connect it via Miracast to the TV with a wireless keyboard and mouse is pretty great.

  • Reply 18 of 34
    alfiejralfiejr Posts: 1,524member

    as many note already, Surface Windows on a small screen mini tablet is simply unworkable. W8 software designed, let alone optimized, to be usable on such a small screen simply does not exist. Nadella realized that the only possible format for that concept is a large tablet. and even that Surface Pro is not selling like hotcakes. but MS can keep it alive as their desktop OS Windows tablet "hobby" indefinitely.

     

    Windows RT was meant by Ballmer to fill that smaller tablet role. except it's a half ass Windows in name only total flop and clearly doomed. so no one is writing software for it. there will never be another RT model after next year (maybe a final spec bump this year, while they are working on ... just like they did with the slowly dying Zune and Windows Phone 6).

     

    so after abruptly pulling the plug on the Surface mini for all these reasons immediately after he took over, i expect what Nadella's MS is doing now is what they always should have done - scaling up Windows Phone OS into having a tablet variant, just like iOS. otherwise Windows Phone as an isolated one-off is also in real danger of irrelevance and atrophy, leading to ultimate total failure. having made its big bet on Nokia, that is MS' last hope to really establish itself in the phone/tablet post PC world. 

     

    all this may actually have been the failure that got Ballmer fired.

     

    so once ready, the retooled MS WP mini and full-sized tablets that will come out in 2015 may even carry the Nokia brand.

  • Reply 19 of 34
    pazuzupazuzu Posts: 1,728member

    And hopefully Apple does the same with the "iWatch" and instead deliver a new Apple TV- something everyone wants not some niche product,

  • Reply 20 of 34
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,003member
    alfiejr wrote: »
    as many note already, Surface Windows on a small screen mini tablet is simply unworkable. W8 software designed, let alone optimized, to be usable on such a small screen simply does not exist. Nadella realized that the only possible format for that concept is a large tablet. and even that Surface Pro is not selling like hotcakes. but MS can keep it alive as their desktop OS Windows tablet "hobby" indefinitely.

    Windows RT was meant by Ballmer to fill that smaller tablet role. except it's a half ass Windows in name only total flop and clearly doomed. so no one is writing software for it. there will never be another RT model after next year (maybe a final spec bump this year, while they are working on ... just like they did with the slowly dying Zune and Windows Phone 6).

    so after abruptly pulling the plug on the Surface mini for all these reasons immediately after he took over, i expect what Nadella's MS is doing now is what they always should have done - scaling up Windows Phone OS into having a tablet variant, just like iOS. otherwise Windows Phone as an isolated one-off is also in real danger of irrelevance and atrophy, leading to ultimate total failure. having made its big bet on Nokia, that is MS' last hope to really establish itself in the phone/tablet post PC world. 

    all this may actually have been the failure that got Ballmer fired.

    so once ready, the retooled MS WP mini and full-sized tablets that will come out in 2015 may even carry the Nokia brand.

    What amazes me is Microsoft have the stupidity to try again ... and call it Surface Tablet Pro 3 ... They may as well come out with Zune 2 while they are at it. Let me see ... Why didn't Ford try again and call it Edsel 2?
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