More proof that Microsoft's Surface Mini almost launched in May

Still don't believe Microsoft was poised to launch a Surface Mini this year? Maybe this will convince you.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

I know there are a lot of doubting Thomases and Thomasinas out there who didn't believe that Microsoft was on the brink of launching the ARM-based eight-inch Surface Mini on May 20.


For those who refuse to believe, here's more proof.

Microsoft made available for download on June 20 a Surface Pro 3 User Guide, meant to assist those buying the third-generation Intel-based Surface Pro 3 tablets, which are for sale starting today in the U.S. and Canada. That guide, as Windows Supersite's Paul Thurrott noted on Twitter, includes several mentions of the Surface Mini.

(My guess is the team writing the Surface Pro 3 user guide did some cutting and pasting from the guide meant to accompany the Surface Mini.)

From the mentions, it looks like the same pen that comes with the Surface Pro 3 also was going to ship with the Surface Mini. One of the handful of mentions, focused on the top button on the new pen, notes:

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

Microsoft was expected to launch both the Surface Mini and the Surface Pro 3 on May 20 in New York City, according to information provided by my own and others' sources. At the last minute, Microsoft is believed to have decided against launching the Mini. Rumor has it the decision was CEO Satya Nadella's, and he decided the smaller, ARM-based Surface wasn't differentiated enough to make sense to launch at this time.

Microsoft allegedly manufactured quite a few of these devices ahead of the launch, most likely as part of its testing process. If the company is waiting on Windows Threshold and/or the touch-optimized Windows Store "Gemini" Office apps to launch the Surface Mini, we may not see these devices until Spring 2015 at the earliest. I wonder whether Microsoft will end up using the ones it built for parts.

I was more excited for the Surface Mini than the 12-inch Surface Pro 3. I was hoping the Surface Mini might finally get me to abandon my paper notebooks and real pens for notetaking. Maybe next year....

Meanwhile, speaking of Surface, on June 20, Microsoft officials updated the Microsoft online Store to reflect that the Core i3 and Core i7 models of the Surface Pro 3 will be available to ship on August 1, instead of August 31. The Surface Pro 3 dock also now has an August 15 availability date in the Microsoft online store. (These dates are for U.S. and Canadian customers only, as far as I know.)

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