Mini-Surface Expected To Launch at May 20 Microsoft Event

Microsoft is getting ready to release a mini-tablet, according to news reports. The tech giant has issued an invitation for a press event May 20 that it is describing as a "small gathering."

As Apple and Samsung do in their event invitations, Microsoft's choice of wording in this and other invitations, notably its reference to "small," is seen hinting about the product being unveiled. The company's tablets currently have 10.6-inch touchscreens.

The new mini-Surface will feature a 7.5-inch, 1440x1080 display, according to The Verge, and it will run Windows RT instead of the full Windows 8. If this report is accurate, it means that the new tablet would not be able to run legacy Microsoft software. If so, the intended purpose might be more as a media consumption device.

Keyboard Option?

Last month, The Wall Street Journal also reported that Microsoft was working on a 7-inch model, in addition to other new versions. However, at the time the Journal said the Windows 8 spec was being adjusted to handle tablets with smaller screen resolutions. The Verge also indicated in April that Microsoft was looking to release a 7-inch tablet, but under the Xbox brand.

Laura DiDio, an analyst with Information Technology Intelligence Consulting, told us that "it's fine if they have an RT version, as long as they don't have a lot of versions that confuse everybody." She noted the popularity of small tablets because "they can fit into your pocket or your purse."

Ross Rubin, principal analyst with Reticle Research, wondered if a smaller Surface would also have a keyboard option, which he called "one of the most distinguishing characteristics of the Surface." He noted that it could be "more challenging" to have a decent typing experience on a device with, say, an 8-inch screen -- although he pointed out that "Logitech has done a...

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