Menu
Whoops! Microsoft goof confirms Surface Mini

Whoops! Microsoft goof confirms Surface Mini

Erased the smaller tablet from launch plans, but left mentions in documentation

Microsoft has inadvertently confirmed that it had a smaller Surface tablet ready to release when it unveiled the larger Surface Pro 3 last month.

Eagle-eyed observers today pointed out that the Surface Mini, a long-rumored small tablet, was referenced several times in the Surface Pro 3 User Guide, which is available online.

Microsoft started selling some models of the Surface Pro 3 in retail today, and began delivering devices that customers had pre-ordered since the May 20 introduction.

The Surface Mini was featured most predominantly in the user guide's discussion of the Surface Pen, a writing and sketching tool that comes with the Surface Pro 3, and apparently would have accompanied the smaller tablet, too. Mentions of OneNote, Microsoft's note-taking app, were scattered throughout the guide, including the sections where the Surface Mini was mentioned.

"Click the top button [of the Surface Pen] to open OneNote, even if your Surface is locked," the guide stated. "Bluetooth technology links your Surface Pen to your Surface Mini or Surface Pro 3, so when you click the button, your Surface responds instantly [emphasis added]."

That matches what some reported prior to Microsoft's May 20 event: The Surface Mini, those reports claimed, would be pitched as a note-taking device, and released in time for the back-to-school sales season.

The Surface Mini was assumed to be a 7-in. or 8-in. tablet akin to the Surface 2, the second-generation of the Surface RT, a tablet powered by Windows RT, the tablet-only operating system that features colorful tiles and boasts a new ecosystem of apps.

The day before the Surface event, Computerworld reported that Microsoft would not unveil the Surface Mini. Later accounts elsewhere claimed that the device was pulled from the presentation -- and thus release -- at the last minute as executives feared that the Mini wasn't sufficiently different from lower-priced rivals to do well in the market.

Microsoft's skittishness may have stemmed from memories of the $900 million write-off it took in mid-2013 to account for lackluster sales and overstocked inventories of the original Surface RT tablet.

It's possible that Microsoft will eventually launch a smaller Surface, perhaps even the built-but-not-sold Surface Mini, but the company has not publicly confirmed the tablet's existence, much less a timeline for its release.

The Surface Pro 3 user guide can be retrieved from Microsoft's website ( download PDF).

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

Read more about tablets in Computerworld's Tablets Topic Center.

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftWindowshardware systemstabletssoftwareoperating systems

Slideshows

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Reseller News looks back on a tumultuous 12 months for the New Zealand channel, assessing the fallout from a year of sizeable industry change. Whether it be local or global mergers and acquisitions, distribution deals or job changes, the channel that started the year differs somewhat to the one set to finish it - Reseller News assesses the key moments that made 2016.​

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016
​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

Hewlett Packard Enterprise honoured its top performing Kiwi partners at the second running of its HPE Partner Awards in New Zealand, held at a glitzy ceremony in Auckland. Recognising excellence across eight categories - from distributors to resellers - the tech giant celebrated its first year as a standalone company, following its official split from HP in 2015.

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel
Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix recently took to the seas for a Christmas Cruise around Sydney Harbour with its Australia and New Zealand staff, customers and partners to celebrate a stellar year for the vendor. With the sun out, they were all smiles and mingled over drinks and food.

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise
Show Comments