Don't expect Microsoft's Surface Mini to debut this summer

Don't expect Microsoft's Surface Mini to debut this summer

Summary: Is Microsoft restarting production of the rumored Surface Mini, with plans to roll it out this summer? My sources say no.

SHARE:

The respected mobile tip leaker Evan Blass, aka @evleaks, has a good rumor track record.

But, from what I hear from my sources, I don't think he's right about Microsoft rolling out the Surface Mini this summer — which he tweeted on July 7 would be the case.

evleakssurfacemini

Think this through.

Based on what we Microsoft watchers have heard (and seen), Microsoft was planning to roll out the ARM-based Surface Mini on May 20 as part of its latest Surface tablet launch. (Instead, the company launched a larger screen Intel-based Surface Pro 3 device.) Sources have said that CEO Satya Nadella, and possibly other Microsoft managers, decided at a relatively late hour against rolling out the Surface Mini.

Why?

Primarily because the touch-first "Gemini" apps for Windows 8.x were not yet ready. Without those apps, the Surface Mini wouldn't be all that compelling or differentiated, even though a touch-first/Windows Store version of OneNote is already available for the platform.

Has that situation changed since April/May?

No.

Microsoft's Office team is still working on the touch-first version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint (and possibly Outlook) for Windows 8.x. But that suite is not yet available, not even as a public beta.

The Office team is believed, at least by my sources, to be further along in the development of touch-first Office for Android tablets. The rumored release date for the Office on Android suite of apps is before the end of 2014.

The rumored release date for touch-first Office for Windows is supposedly now some time around spring 2015.

My sources say that Microsoft has not tabled completely the idea of releasing a seven- or eight-inch Surface Mini tablet running Windows. But that Surface Mini tablet isn't likely to debut until some time in 2015 at the earliest, I hear.

I am definitely intrigued by the possibilities of a mini Surface with a pen. But I'm hearing I'll have to wait until next year to find out if such a device really will replace my paper notebook and ink pen...

Microsoft officials are not commenting on the latest Surface Mini rumors (@evleaks or mine). The closest thing to a comment I guess we will get is Microsoft Corporate Communications chief Frank Shaw's tweet today that said, "Was there a 'crazy rumor day' declaration that I missed?"

Topics: Mobility, Tablets, Microsoft Surface

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

44 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Windows On A Small Device Is Like Watching TV While Wearing Sunglasses...

    What's the point?

    MS has no answer for this form factor because they do NOT have a mobile OS.

    When in doubt, throw Windows NT-Metro on it and pray for the best.

    MS is so desperate they will try anything once... twice... or a litany of times over the span of a decade!
    orandy
    • uh, what?

      "Microsoft does NOT have a mobile OS"? What is Windows Phone? a desktop OS, a server OS? Windows 8 is both a mobile OS and a desktop OS, though they did not join it all together well, it can actually do both. With each new update/release, Windows 8 is approaching the goal of running on any size screen. This will increase with Windows 9 and Windows Phone 9.

      I don't see that Microsoft is actually desperate, they still make more than enough money to continue working on things that other companies would abandon. This is actually great for consumers as each update pushes competitors to keep updating as well.
      grayknight
      • Always a waiting game with Microsoft and fans.

        "Just wait till the next version, and then the next version, and the version after that. You'll see!"

        While Microsoft continues to try and figure out their mobile strategy, which MUST include"Windows" btw. iOS and Android continues to expand their mobile lead. Forcing them to have to release Office for their competitors before their own platform.
        dave95.
        • Not sure about all that

          I'm actually not sure all that is accurate. I've not seen any reports where the global market share of iOS + Android has increased. I mean because of course everyone else got it right the first time. Let's just be honest. Windows Phone is basically in version 2.0. The new Windows is basically on version 1.1. What company out there doesn't have to promise certain improvements in the next version? They're playing catch up. That's a fact, but they're making strides every day. There were some good things added to the 8.1 updates to both Windows and Windows Phone, and Microsoft is on a path to continue these improvements with threshhold.
          Sonic98
          • They are always playing catchup, that's the problem

            If your strategy is to play catch the leader then you will continue to lose. As you take two steps forward the competition is taking 10. Focus more on differentiating your offerings. For instance, games are the number one category in all app stores and you are the company that sells the successful (in terms of brand) XBox. Instead of focusing on keeping Windows relevant in this space, which no one cares about, why not instead put your resources on releasing a mini Surface built around kickass XBox-like quality games?
            dave95.
      • @graynight

        Windows Phone is a crippled phone OS by MS that nobody uses!

        No matter how many updates that Windows 8 receives, it will NEVER be a mobile OS.

        Windows 8.x has been summarily rejected by humans on the planet earth!

        People are forced to make it look like Windows 7 just so they can use it!

        Yes, MS is lost in a storm. Mobile technology had rendered MS all but obsolete.

        There are people out there that spent 2-days trying to get their 8.1 update to work (PCWorld.com). I will never even try to update my hybrid because I know MS all too well, and I also know that Win 8 and Metro sucks anyhow.

        How long do you think that sane folks will put up with this crap... another 3-decades?

        Don't count on it buddy!
        orandy
        • @orandy

          Although somewhat biased, your post made me laugh.

          Do you have any clue how many Windows 8.x licenses were deployed in the first year of the OS? HINT : Nearly the total amount of iPad sold ever.

          For a piece of software "rejected by humans on the planet", it is a fairly good score.
          Troll.
          TheCyberKnight
          • Agree About Laugh

            ORandy's post was pure troll. It was dripping in troll juice (what ever that is). Maybe it was sarcasm. No one can honestly believe all those things.
            MichaelInMA
          • And yet...

            Only about half are actually in service (if that much)... The rest are Windows 7.
            jessepollard
          • And....

            Where did you get this information from? Link? Can you supply evidence or do we have to take your word for it?
            Gisabun
        • What are you ranting about this time?

          - I use Windows Phone, as well as Android. Functionality-wise, it's nowhere near crippled. In fact, my lowly Lumia 520 lacks the slight "lag" that my G2 has. If anything, WP8's pretty healthy for an operating system.

          - No matter how many updates iOS gets, it could never be a real tablet OS. See? I can make claims based on my opinion too.

          - A little over 10% of all PCs in usage are running Windows 8/8.1. I'm pretty sure that those people live on earth.

          - Are you talking about the start menu? That little thing that people open for a few seconds to launch applications? Or were you talking about the desktop, where the actual work gets done?

          - Here comes another "Post PC" world rant... (Randy thinks that smartphones will replace desktops)

          - There are "some" people out there with update problems. That "some" isn't everybody.

          - Putting up with "crap"? I wonder what you think of the compet
          ForeverCookie
        • Is the rant over?

          People aren't forced to do anything. They simply can't get out of their old way. PC users just can't deal with change. Apple could do a complete 180 and change everything there is about iOs, and their Fanboys would still eat it up. The same is probably true of Android. Most PC users if they download an update to an application, and it changes how the icon looks they panic. You have PC users on Windows 7 complaining they're not still on XP. The majority of people who complain about the start menu being removed from Windows 8 don't even use it that much. Seriously, if someone is still going to all programs to open an app they have to open 3 or 4 times a day instead of just pinning it, creating a desktop shortcut, or creating a task bar icon, is any change ever going to satisfy them? Almost every person I've ever met or watched comment online that complained about Windows 8, when you press them on how they really use the start menu and why they can't live without it, they don't have much to say.

          Windows 8.x is on about 13% of PCs. What percent does it have to get to to satisfy people? 25%? 30%?

          As for updates, the vast majority of people had no trouble getting 8.1 or Update. There will always be a percentage of people who have problems. But let's not act like people haven't download updates to iOs and had all types of problems before.
          Sonic98
      • optimized apps for Windows 8 tablets

        Windows 8 is great on a regular sized monitor (over 13 inches) and Windows Phone is great, but everything in between lacks optimization. Without a touch version of Office, MS is way behind on tablets. I love my Surface Pro, but I always hook it up to an external monitor. It travels well, so it is my main workstation (I am a C#, MongoDB programmer.)
        bocaguy
      • Errr

        Can't you tell Orandy is anti-Microsoft. No point in making comments. Goes in one ear and out the other in a matter of milliseconds.
        Gisabun
    • Dont confuse

      Don't confuse UI with OS. Windows phone is its own OS its bases on NT the same way Android has a Linux kernel or iOS with OSX(BSD Hybrid). WinRT has no problem with smaller screens as there are a number of windows tablets in the 8 inch market. WinRT is very young when compared to win32 and .net; but it is designed for the future. Todays WinRT will not look like yesterdays WinRT. Win32 is frozen and will start to fall behind as more WinRT api begin to gain win32 capabilities, win32 is here and will be supported until 2020 when windows 7 is retired. But between then and now WinRT will pickup stream and functionality til it reaches parity with win32.
      Meansman
    • Sorry

      but Windows 8.x is a great mobile OS. Having used iPads and Android tablets at work, I waited until Windows 8 came along before I bought a tablet.

      Having used the iPads and Androids for testing at work, I was always left with a question: Why would I want a tablet?

      Then Windows 8 came along and suddenly the lightbulb went off in my head: This is why I would want a tablet! I can use it as a tablet on the move and have "emergency access" to desktop apps on the move, then in the office, I dock it and it becomes a fully functional desktop computer, all in one device, all for around the price of an iPad.
      wright_is
  • MS is stagnating.

    They're not releasing the mini because they have no touch first office and they're prioritizing this for android over windows. Additionally, news is now filtering through that Cortana's release is delayed in the UK which is a real kick in the teeth for those in the UK who have invested in the MS brand.

    I don't think people should invest in MS devices since there's clearly very little reward for that degree of brand loyalty and financial investment. They no longer even describe themselves as a devices company.

    Buying Samsung or Apple is starting to sound like a sensible solution at this point.
    Xippy
    • Staganating

      your title doesn't match your content; you point to office touch being released on iOS and Android as a sign of stagnation; but releasing Office on Non-windows OS's isn't a sign of stagnation. Its the sign of a new way of thinking at Microsoft that doesn't tie software and services to one platform.
      You point to the delay of Cortana as another sign of stagnation which is absurd. Delaying a product by a month or two isn't a "kick in the teeth" to UK users; releasing a app without it being ready and completely functional would lead to a bad UX. How many people would have been upset if apple had release MAPS when it was flawless vs releasing it with gaping holes in functionality. 1st impressions are hard to overcome and can linger even after the problem has been fixed.
      "I don't think people should invest in MS devices since there's clearly very little reward for that degree of brand loyalty and financial investment. They no longer even describe themselves as a devices company"
      This statement is at odd with what has been publically stated and their latest developments.
      At Build 14 they stated they were a device and services company. I am not sure what it is that your looking for from the devices; they just release window phone 8.1, windows 8.1, surface pro 3, Nokia-X. What's sensible is using the solution that works best for you; might not be a Microsoft devices or run a version of windows but only the person buy the device knows how it will fit into their life. Telling someone that they should go with Samsung or Apple is just playing into the dated schema of one brand or another. why should someone in the Android market choose them over another vendor and at the end of the day its Google Ecosystem. With Apple you are choosing a ecosystem. My point being there is more than brand of phone or devices but the ecosystem around them and how they best serve you.
      Meansman
      • I agree.

        People do have a point. Microsoft SEEMS to be taking way too long with things. Windows Phone 8.1 took forever to be developed and officially released. Cortana and Bing aren't getting to other countries as fast as many had hoped. But honestly, it's not the end of the world. I don't know why, but when it comes to Microsoft, people seem to take things too personally, like they purposely aren't releasing an update, service, or device to them. People almost have like a spoiled baby syndrome when it comes to Microsoft that it doesn't have with everyone else. Whatever Microsoft does has to be 100% from top to bottom the way they want it to be, all you get is whining and complaining. They act like Microsoft is trying to specifically slight them. They're like a friend that gives you advice and if you apply 8 of the things they suggested, they complain you don't listen because you didn't do all 10.
        Sonic98
      • They are stagnating for people who purchase devices.

        If I subscribe to Sky and they then give Sky Atlantic to Virgin Media and not to me I'd be pretty hacked off. Microsoft sell their devices to people and then don't give them the software (touch office) but give it to competitors, so they are starting for people fool enough to buy their devices.
        Xippy