Microsoft is planning to build a seven-inch Surface tablet with production beginning later this year, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The move will see Microsoft stake its claim on the rapidly-growing market for smaller, lighter and most importantly, cheaper tablets. Among those to have already entered the seven-inch slate market are Apple, Android hardware makers, such as Asus, and Amazon with the Kindle Fire.
The smaller version of Microsoft's so-far slow selling 9.7 inch told the WSJ.and is a response to Apple's iPad Mini and Google's Nexus 7 tablets, sources close to the company's plans
While there's no word on branding, it's likely to be a Surface device: Microsoft has repeatedly talked about. And while some analysts have found a , others have called demand for the . Microsoft has released no sales figures for the RT or Pro, but it is believed to have sold around 900,000 Surface RTs since launching.
Microsoft wasafter recently relaxing Windows 8 certification guidelines for the minimum resolution from 1366 x 768 to 1024 x 768. The smaller resolution is in line with the iPad Mini (1024 x 768) and the Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7, which are both 1280 x 800.
Apple's around half the , according to IDC.coincided with Microsoft's . Since then the share of smaller tablets has grown, with chopped-down slates accounting for
A smaller Surface RT and the arrival of smaller Windows 8 tablets by OEMs may help Microsoft address the pricing challenges it currently faces. IDC noted last November that although Microsoft's Surface offered a third credible choice to consumers, it would struggle at prices starting at $500.