Microsoft Surface lovers will have to wait for a smaller version of the tablet. Why so late, you ask? Well, the tech giant is planning to release a new version of Windows 8.1 under codename "Spring 2014 GDR," along with the later release of the rumored Surface Mini, according to ZDNet.
With the release of the Amazon Kindle HDX this week, Microsoft has quite a bit of catching up to do. Yet with a release date of early 2014, Microsoft don't seem at all fazed by the tablet competition. The rumored sizes of the Surface Mini are purported to range from 7-, 7.5- or 8-inches, though none of the sizes have been confirmed.
A Surface Mini — regardless of price — would have to compete with Apple's popular iPad mini and Google's new slimmer Nexus 7. The only real issue with a Surface Mini is how much "work" you'll be able to do on a smaller display. Will Microsoft toss the idea of the Surface being a productivity device first?
Other rumors swirling around suggest Microsoft might release a tablet as an "Xbox Surface" to appease its gaming fan base. Microsoft fanboys are also wondering whether the upcoming Surface 2 with LTE is actually the Surface Mini, given that they are slated for release around the same time.
Despite the availability of Intel's newly released Haswell and Bay Trail chips, Microsoft will also continue to outfit its new tablets, including the rumored Surface Mini, with ARM-based architecture, since it believes the company offers better price points and battery life.
The release of Windows 8.1 in spring 2014 will also be lining up with its Windows Phone, which may be named "Windows Phone Blue" or "Windows Phone 8.1." This will be the first major update since Windows Phone 8 was released last year. Microsoft is also currently refining its third major update to Windows Phone 8, which will be adding 1080p support and will enable it to run the Windows Phone OS on five- and six-inch devices.