Much as Apple did with its iPad and smaller iPad mini, Microsoft is reportedly readying a smaller and cheaper Surface mini tablet. The device would allow Microsoft to go up against Apple and its iPad mini tablet. With smaller tablets growing in popularity, it is a market segment that Microsoft cannot ignore especially now that Windows supports smaller displays and lower resolutions.
Topology analyst Maxwell Chang expects that the Surface mini will come with a low-power Intel Atom processor and a touchscreen display measuring between 7.5- and 8-inches. It’s not immediately clear whether it would run Windows RT or Windows 8. It could sell for as low as US$299. At that price, Chang expects that Microsoft will aim to compete against Apple and its iPad mini rather than the multitude of 7- to 8-inch Android tablets already selling for significantly less.
Microsoft is reportedly already in discussions with “two or three Taiwanese original design manufacturers” but it is still early in the discussions and no partner has been chosen yet.
Topology predicts that worldwide shipments are expected to top 161 million units. Smaller-sized tablets, in the 7- to 8-inch range, are expected to account for 54% of those shipments. Windows only accounts for a 7.5% market share of the tablet space according to a separate report by Strategy Analytics. In comparison, Apple and Android both have over 40% market shares with OIS owning the biggest piece of the pie owning a 48.2% share.
The Microsoft Surface mini could launch sometime in Q4 this year.
Microsoft is also planning a new Surface Pro tablet model. It is likely to use a more powerful Intel Haswell processor. There is no word on when this model could be announced or how much it might sell for.
Source : Focus Taiwan