Show us the Microsoft Surface Mini, Satya Nadella

If I could ask Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella just one thing during his Code Conference appearance tonight, it would be to show us the Surface Mini.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft's Satya Nadella is continuing his "meet the new CEO" tour this week, with a scheduled appearance at Recode.Net's Code Conference in Rancho Palas Verdes, Cali.


Nadella's session, which is scheduled for tonight, May 27, just after 5 pm PT, isn't going to be live streamed. And those of us not attending aren't able to submit questions, as far as I know.

But if we were, here's what I'd ask Nadella: Could you show us the Surface Mini?

Or if Nadella doesn't happen to have on his person one of the thousands of Surface Minis Microsoft allegedly manufactured as part of its testing process, I'd at least like to hear his explanation as to why he supposedly put the kibosh on the launch of the device.

Microsoft had been planning to launch the ARM-based, pen-centric Surface Mini last week in New York City, according to my -- and other Microsoft watchers' -- sources. Instead, the company launched the larger, 12-inch Intel-based Surface Pro 3.

Bloomberg reported last week that the Surface Mini wasn't deemed to be "differentiated enough" to be a hit. So Nadella decided against launching it. I'm curious if the Mini would have met Nadella's bar if Microsoft's touch-first, Windows Store apps ("Gemini") had been ready as of last week to preload on the Surface Minis.

While a number of Microsoft's OEM partners, now including Toshiba, have inexpensive 8-inch Windows 8 tablets on the market, they require the Windows 8 Desktop to run Microsoft's core Office apps. That doesn't make for a great experience on these small-screen devices.

I was really hoping to see if the rumored Surface Mini could replace the pen/paper I still use to take most of my notes. Yes, I know I could use a Surface Pro 2 or 3 with a pen to take notes. But so far, those form factors don't appeal to me the way something that actually is more the size of my paper notebooks might. If a Surface Mini was a true notetaking-optimized device, I wouldn't care about trying to use it with a keyboard or a mouse.

The Surface Mini just might be the more realistic realization of Microsoft's Courier vision (minus the second screen).

If anyone at the Code Conference gets a Surface Mini sneak peek, let us know.

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