Microsoft to release 7-inch Surface tablet

Microsoft logoJoining the likes of Apple and Google, Microsoft is now also rumored to be making a 7-inch version of its first homemade tablet -- the Surface.

According to a recent report from Reuters, Microsoft is in the midst of creating a whole new batch of Surface tablets, which includes a 7-inch version.

The 7-inch tablet is expected to go into mass production later this year.

Microsoft, which released its first Surface tablet on October 26, 2012, hasn't seen the sales success it expected. Last month, a Bloomberg source anonymously revealed that Microsoft had sold 1.5 million Surface tablets at that point. More specifically, the company had sold a little over a million Surface with Windows RT tablets (features the Windows RT version of Windows 8 specifically for ARM processors) and about 400,000 Surface with Windows Pro tablets (features the full version of Windows 8 and an Intel Core i5 processor).

These figures missed analyst expectations of about 2 million Surface RT tablets in just the December quarter alone.

Microsoft launched Surface with Windows RT in October and Surface with Windows 8 Pro in February.

Microsoft likely wants to run with the big boys like Apple and Google in the tablet sector, and both have already released 7-inch tablets (which tend to be more affordable for consumers). Google's 7-inch Nexus 7 tablet was a hit at only $200 with a load of impressive features, and Apple released its 7-inch iPad mini for a little over $300 last November.

However, Microsoft may want to steer clear of releasing any more Surface tablets with Windows RT, since the operating system has largely been a bust. RT-powered tablets have dropped significantly in price in some cases due to lack of consumer demand, and many hardware makers are looking to just clear the dead weight out of their inventory.

Even analysts believe Windows RT will, at some point, just fade away.

"I think you're seeing discounting based on user demand. I never thought RT was going to be that successful," said Jack Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates. "RT will fade away over time. It's not a full Windows 8 experience. That said, why wouldn't I spend more and get a full Pro version of the device?"

Source: DailyTech

Tags: Microsoft, Surface, tablets

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