Microsoft CEO Nadella expected to preside over New York City Surface Mini rollout

Microsoft CEO Nadella expected to preside over New York City Surface Mini rollout

Summary: Microsoft looks to be taking the covers off its long-rumored Surface Mini tablet on May 20 in New York City.


Microsoft just sent a number of us media folks invitations to "a small gathering" on May 20 in New York City.

The invitation, emailed on May 5, says it is for a "Surface event" and will kick off at 11 a.m. ET.


CEO Satya Nadella will be officiating, according to my sources.

Given the timing, my guess is this is likely to be the introduction of Microsoft's long-rumored Surface Mini tablet. Previous leaks have indicated the Surface Mini will be a 7- to 8-inch tablet that will come equipped with a stylus.

A recent leak by a case maker on indicated that the Surface Mini might be available (or at least announced) by May 18.

There's still a lot we don't know about the Surface Mini, including pricing, distribution plans and even whether the tablet will be powered by an Intel or ARM processor. However, original leaks about the Surface Mini pegged it as an ARM-based device running Windows RT

Update (May 6): Neowin and Windows SuperSite are corroborating that the Surface Mini will be an ARM-based device with real, digitizing stylus. OneNote will be key to the platform, given it is expected to debut as a notetaking-centric device. The eight-inch device will come with covers that will also function as kickstands, according to both sites. Both sites are reporting the Mini will likely be available in June (probably the latter half of the month). 

Windows SuperSite is also claiming there could possibly be a second Surface device of some kind announced at the May 20 event, but no hints as to what that device may be.

Update (May 7): Bloomberg also is reporting there will be more than just an ARM-based Surface Mini. One or more Intel-based Surface devices may also be unveiled at the May 20 event, Bloomberg said. It's not clear if these will be smaller, Atom-based Surface Minis or larger-screen successors to the Surface Pro 2.

Topics: Mobility, Microsoft, Mobile OS, Tablets, ARM, Business Intelligence, Microsoft Surface


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).

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  • Gaming Surface Tablet

    I think if Microsoft made a Xbox themed Surface gaming tablet, it could be real hit.
    Pollo Pazzo
    • Not yet.

      Mullins hasn't been out long enough for us to see that yet.

      Maybe in time for Chriatmas.
  • a question

    I have a question for the microsoft fans out there: how many mini-surfaces would microsoft have to sell in the first year, and ditto the second year, for you to consider the product to be a success? How low to be a failure?
    • Just one for me is a success

      If % share was big deal, Apple and Linux on desktop would have died decades back. There are lot of folks who don't want to get tied up with Apple or run amok with Android and Microsoft provides the right path forward

      I am waiting for it, and will be the first to pre-order. After using Surface RT and 2, both iPad and Androids are just consumption toys. Surface is the real deal, work and play together
      • +1

        Cost can be the issue, at least to attain a large enough base.

        In my engineering faculty and in the last few months, Surface RTs began to pop up like crazy among students and staff, after first edition models began to be offered by retailers with large discounts.

        The fact is that after being attracted by the price and the Office bundle that comes with RT, people realize they can be really productive in a 600 grams + keyboard package, in what is reasonable to do in a 10" screen. For deeper engineering stuff, a desktop or full blown laptop is essential, not even the Pro is an option.

        And, of course, use it as a playground after work and - so important - the ease of having the same work environment and work routines in all devices, smartphone included.
    • Good question long as they continue to exclude selling these into the Channel, they will continue to be a failure. Big box stores are the only ones that can currently sell Surface tablets, and they aren't interested in selling anything from Microsoft, hence Microsoft's push for stores-within-stores. Anybody looking at this situation can see it for the admission of failure that it is. Independent business resellers can't buy Surface devices through distributors, so they have no interest in recommending them either. This has to change for Surface to be a successful brand, because right now, it's a flop.

      I want to sell these as part of the "Microsoft Stack" to my business clients, but Microsoft STILL does not offer them through distribution, so I'm sticking with other brands. THAT'S the legacy that Microsoft is propagating.
    • Gains

      It's all about the gains. MS generated roughly $500M in revenue last quarter from Surface. My guess is that means they move roughly about a million a quarter. That's about in-line with what Amazon moves in Kindle Fire tablets based on market estimates. That also indicates to me that a less expensive tablet could dramatically increase their Surface revenue.

      It'd be nice to see them jump up to around 2 million per quarter sooner rather than later and see if they can approach 5 million a quarter in the Holiday season, though they may do well in back-to-school this year too. They won't approach the iPad in totals, but this is also a long game. Steady growth is a good thing.

      The key is making the Surface line profitable. A smaller tab could do that. I tend to think abandoning ARM may be wise too. The Intel solution is being delivered at lower cost.
      Jeff Rickel
      • 5 million for q4!

        I doubt they reach 2 millions sales among the entire surface line by then.
        Surface sales never conquered the world, market share and growth were underwhelming.
        If it was hard for them in a fast growing market, it's not going to be any easier now.
        • Not about the numbers for me

          Microsoft has to address their price and software quality issues. Price compared to competition is much too high.

          And after two major updates (8.1 and Update) and their built in software is still shabby compared to both Android and iOS. Folks in enterprise who want tablets have an iPad or Android already. To significantly penetrate the market MS has to be doing it better and for less.

          The current quality of these systems is embarrassing given the kinds of resources MS has.

          And lets not even talk about the number and quality of Market (Store) apps still lagging for MS.

          If Surface addresses those problems, I'll call it a success.
        • ...'surface sales never conquered the world'...

          thats because it was two inches thick and ugly. The new ones look great and are super light. Could change everything for their sales.
      • They lose $80 on every Surface

        They are losing money on every unit sold
        They need to sell less Surfaces, not more !

        At some point they will have to give up, and hope that otehr OEMs take up the Windwos Tablet mantle.
        • TROLL

          You cannot be so stupid, so you much be a troll. If you take out warehousing, transform etc, each surface sold would be profitable
          • Actually they are.

            They are betting that selling for under cost that it will pay for itself with use of MS services (OneDrive, Bing, Office, xbox, Skype, etc.) and app purchase will make up for the loss.
          • ??

            I agree with making up lost revenue profits with sales of apps and services, but don't list the ones that are given away for free. (onedrive, bing, skype, etc)
          • Please check the facts befe replying

            Until Surface makes a reasonable profit on per unit Surface sales, it makes no business sense to sell in high volumes. at the moment they are losing money per unit. Please check out the facts before you reply.

            Oh and by the way, I bought the Nokia Lumia 2520 Tablet, and I love it. So much so that I developed "Tank Commander 3D" for it.

            So don't call me any Troll,
      • You're very ignorant

        Intel has like 30-40 different windows models running on their chipset the last 2 years since the launch of Windows 8. Combined they shipped between 500k-1M last 3 months. Think of all the price cuts they've been having and commercials with asus t100 blasting the airwaves. Intel is a joke on tablets period. Stop bringing up tabs like the dell venue pro because they're not being bought by the masses. It's annoying how ignorant you are to how Windows tablets are actually selling. If you think intel tablets are so popular than provide a sell through number and let the rest of us be the judge. I guarantee it would be considered a colossal flop.
    • Common sense

      Common sense would suggest that it would be a success if it makes a profit, either directly or indirectly. A failure if it's only a money sink.
    • why care?

      I enjoy my Surface more than my Galaxy. Why would I care if it's the most popular tablet or how much of a success it is? It would bother me exactly none if I was the only one using it. I ride in a car, not a bandwagon.
      • I agree

        ... on principle. I will never decide on one device over another based on popularity of the thing in the market.

        However, one could make a case that a popular device is going to have benefits due to it being popular. As far as I'm concerned though, it's a nice surplus but not a requirement at all for me.
      • It matters because

        MS is still losing money on them and if they don't get market share so they can start making money on them, you won't be able to buy one in the future because even MS can only keep selling a product at a loss for only so many years.