back to article Surface Mini on shelves NEXT YEAR – and it will run Windows RT

Microsoft isn't done with its second round of Surface tablets, but a Mini version with an eight-inch or smaller screen and running Windows RT probably won't arrive until next year, according to the latest rumors. Longtime Redmond-watcher Mary Jo Foley's sources say Microsoft is readying a pint-sized portable to round out its …

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JDX
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I think Pro on a 8" screen is pushing too far. OK for the common W8 stuff it's fine but you can do all that on RT, and I don't think regular apps will suit a small screen. Plus trying to fit a fully fledged x86 PC in an 8" case is really sounding hard to me.

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Ive got a sony UX1-XN - that managed a fully fledged x86 machine with a 4" screen

It was perfectly useable, ticked along ok with a Core Solo (even did hardware virtualisation with a bios hack!)

just two let downs, a resistive touch screen - it was 2010 and an awful keyboard...

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JDX
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So apart from being able to actually interact with it, it was just fine? I think that's part of my argument... non-RT apps (i.e. all those Windows applications) will look crappy on 8" and be hard to use.

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"non-RT apps (i.e. all those Windows applications) will look crappy on 8" and be hard to use."

Yes, they will but:

a) They can be used in an emergency - in much the same way that I currently occasionally use my Galaxy Note 8 to RDP to a server when I'm not carrying a laptop. Not perfect, but workable.

b) It's likely that an 8" Surface would still have a micro HDMI connection, so could be connected up to a monitor where those desktop apps become much more usable.

I know a lot of people believe that RT should drop the desktop, but in this case, I'm of the opinion that more is more. I would make the desktop more open on RT so that ISVs can compile their existing desktop apps up for the ARM platform. I have a SurfaceRT, and I'd find it much more useful if I could get apps like Chrome up and running on it.

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JDX you are assuming developers won't make the (often minor) mods necessary to make Windows desktop applications work well on an 8" multitouch screen. I for one have several apps that would work well on this kind of device but have enough complications (e.g. 3rd part libraries) porting to WinRT that I simply don't have the incentive to invest the time while RT-only accounts for such a tiny part of the market.

The new Atoms from Intel fit just fine.

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Unhappy

@qwerty

"I for one have several apps that would work well on this kind of device but have enough complications (e.g. 3rd part libraries) porting to WinRT that I simply don't have the incentive to invest the time while RT-only accounts for such a tiny part of the market."

Which I think is rather the point,

Increasing the "ARM is rubbish" meme and supporting their long term partner in crime (and I mean that literally give the number of cases they've been involved with) Intel.

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Smaller device

Less volume. Smaller hole needed for the devices that don't get sold.

Who says Microsoft doesn't think of the environment?

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Trollface

Re: Smaller device

NEW! Smaller, more convenient, arse-wipe size!

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Mini or Note, mini-note perhaps?

Any guesses on the screen size where MS blow its little mind because it can't decide if the device is a Windows Phone or a Windows RT slab? I suppose they could merge the to and call it Windows PhoRT.

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Re: Mini or Note, mini-note perhaps?

If it's a small tablet they could call it TaRT.

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Trollface

Re: Mini or Note, mini-note perhaps?

I prefer the name 'Zune4'

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Re: Mini or Note, mini-note perhaps?

I agree - I don't see how this would be any different to the already foreshadowed* MicroNokiasoft Phablet except without a mobile data connection.

*Your clue to quality literature.

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They are looking more and more like a drowning man desperately trying to grab anything, anything at all, that might possibly float.

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Presumably, "GDR" here stands for

Great Disaster Repeated?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Presumably, "GDR" here stands for

German Democratic Republic?

(hint: any country with 'Democratic' in its name is guaranteed not to be...)

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Joke

Re: Presumably, "GDR" here stands for

Groundhog Day Rerun?

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Perhaps microsoft like Windows RT on ARM because they don't want to put all their eggs in the Intel basket incase Intel fall behind in the mobile race again.

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Anonymous Coward

Indeed. Amazing how many people comment from an incredibly short sighted perspective.

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Unhappy

Windows RT makes ARM look bad

I sometimes wonder if Intel didn't do a deal with Microsoft so people associate ARM based crippled RT tablets with bad, and Intel based ones running full fat Windows with good less bad.

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That's why I like ARMs too!

"But Foley's sources say Microsoft likes ARM chips for tablets because they offer both lower price points and longer battery life than Intel's offerings."

What do you know? That's why I like ARMs too. Ship with an unlocked booloader, and I can get one of these, ditch RT and put some nice software on it.

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The maddness continues

I don't know why Microsoft won't follow the Reg's suggestion and just have two operating systems - Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8?

Both Google and Apple have a mobile operating system that works on both phones and tablets. I don't see why Microsoft can't manage this too?

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Re: The maddness continues

But they need to scrap the 4" phone UI from Windows.

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JDX
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Re: The maddness continues

They've said that converging the OS is on the cards already.

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Anonymous Coward

Will they still be around next year?

Pretty much every single Microsoft product line is upto it's neck in crap right now.

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Re: Will they still be around next year?

"Lync, Microsoft’s enterprise-focused communications suite brought its parent company $1 billion in revenue during its 2013 fiscal year....Lync grew 30% in the fiscal fourth quarter,"

.

"Office 365 is currently generating revenue at a run rate of $1.5 billion per year at the end of Microsoft’s fiscal fourth quarter, up 50% from the number quoted at the end of the company’s fiscal third quarter"

.

I'd love to own a company "that's up to it's neck in crap" with figures like those.

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FAIL

LostALLFaith: Will they still be around next year?

Maybe, but they lost $1bn with the RT disaster and just bought a $5bn Titanic ... Windows Phone loses more money every day and Xbox One looks like a Fail on launch ... they can earn as much as they like, if they are throwing more money out of the window than they make, they are doomed ... and they do not look like they will dump Windows RT & Phone, their only option to stay afloat....

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JDX
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Re: LostALLFaith: Will they still be around next year?

MS is STILL profitable even with all those losses. Even if they make NO profit, that means they have paid all their staff and kept the business running and their cash-pile intact.

When you can 'waste' $5bn and still be in profit, you're not about to disappear.

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FAIL

Re: Will they still be around next year?

"Pretty much every single Microsoft product line is upto it's neck in crap right now."

Blah blah..

Now if you'd had the guts to put your name on that post...

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Re: Will they still be around next year?

-------------

"Lync, Microsoft’s enterprise-focused communications suite brought its parent company $1 billion in revenue during its 2013 fiscal year....Lync grew 30% in the fiscal fourth quarter,"

--------------

Probably more to do with the fact that they massively increased the price rather than it selling like hot cakes..

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Re: Will they still be around next year?

"I'd love to own a company "that's up to it's neck in crap" with figures like those."

But that is all about cash cow Office money. It has zero to do with pathetic phone sales, worse tablet sales, or pushing Windows under the bus to try and force people to use their phone UI on computers (even on servers).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Will they still be around next year?

"Now if you'd had the guts to put your name on that post..."

It would have made his argument no more or less valid. The old AC straw man argument is so feeble.

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Meh

Re: Will they still be around next year?

"It would have made his argument no more or less valid. The old AC straw man argument is so feeble."

Wrong.

Because in 5 or 10 years time we'd know who made such a remark and recall that either they were a)Farsighted and wise or b)A fool with no knowledge of history.

I'm no great fan of MS (which you can check my posts to confirm). They've released many s**t products over the years, sometimes multiple fails in the same year.

But they are so damm big (and have so many lawyers and PR types to do lying

damage control for them) that the odds on bet is they will survive this, just as Linux will not be the desktop OS of 2014 either.

Their "argument," as you (they?) put it is simply an assertion.

Mine is based on historical evidence.

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The irony here is that MS (and their god forsaken OEMs) would likely sell more of these sorts of things if they didn't insist on locking the UEFI down tighter than a duck's arse.

Of course I realise that the reason that they do that is because the whole point of them selling these things is to lock you into their <ahem> "ecosystem", tie you to their Windows store and basically nickel and dime you for eternity, just like apple do.

No thanks, I'll pass.

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JDX
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Who exactly are all these people who want to buy a tablet and have even heard of UEFI? A few geeks who probably wouldn't buy one anyway.

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Yeah, because that's just exactly how the inital netbook craze kicked off. You don't think that people actually bought those eepc's and left that godawful Linux OS in situ do you?

The fact is they would sell more of these if there was a broader market appeal.

It's a pretty basic concept.

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Windows RT

I don't want it, you don't want it, nobody wants it. But Microsoft want you to have it, so that's what they're selling and you'll jolly well like it.

It's the Microsoft way.

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if this were a flick: Zabriskie Point

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"if this were a flick: Zabriskie Point"

Because it's also a bit s**t?

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Anonymous Coward

Price point!!!

FFS Microsoft, price this under £200, and people might buy it. Anything over that, forget it already.

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Anonymous Coward

Deja Vu

So, following the late arrival of the first generation Surface Pro this year, the 8" tablet is going to be a 2013 device clad in 2014 clothing (and if Microsoft marketing continue with their current thinking, priced at state of the art hardware levels).

I like the whole Surface concept but looks like its going to be generation 3 before Microsoft get all their ducks in a row. Must be terribly frustrating for those guys working on the Surface family in Redmond to be screwed around by bad high level decision making and marketing.

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Unhappy

Doing everything to try to help Intel.

You've got to ask if this is bumping up Intel's sales of their processors more than it's costing MS.

Can you say "Inter company cross subsidy?"

Seriously MS had to put in significant effort to make winRT different to Win 8.

If your business is selling software you don't care whose processor it runs on as long as you get paid. Which should be determined on how useful that software is.

But as we've seen once MS gets anywhere near a level playing field it usually gets stomped.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Doing everything to try to help Intel. @John Smith 19

Can you ease back on the bold a bit, please? It's breaking my reading flow.

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This is a good move

People didn't like RT because they thought it was full Windows and didn't get that they couldn't install x86 software on it until they got home. With the 8" tablet, people are going to realise that this isn't a full PC and will not have incorrect expectations of it.

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I've been willing to give the Surface strategy the benefit of the doubt and I actually like Windows 8 on my PC and don't feel Windows 8 RT is a pox but what is the point in a 8" Surface? The whole differentiator between Surface and other tablets was Office and the keyboards...how the hell am I going to comfortably type on an 8" keyboard?

Look, Nokia are bringing out a snazzy Win8 RT tablet under the lumia brand, just bring out an 8" Lumia RT tablet.

GDR is General Distribution Release, it's what Microsoft has been calling the minor updates on WP8 in between the big updates such as WP8.1. They've been coming out with names so don't expect it to be a point release such as Windows 8.11 RT

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RT (Right for Tablets) vs Windows 8 (right for desktops/laptops)

First you have to understand and accept that you're using a TABLET and not a miniature PC. I suspect that if Microsoft had not created the Surface Pro and confused the public, the Surface RT would have sold a whole lot better. Fact is, on an 8" (or so) tablet RT will shine. I have one of the current crop and it works just fine, thank you, as well or better than either the 7" or 10" Android slabs I own. Windows RT (which should stand for "Right for Tablets") is a TABLET OS, just as iOS and Android are. (You don't see Android on many desktops or even laptops, right? And iOS is on NONE.) THINK of it as a tablet OS ... USE it as a tablet OS ... and suddenly it will make sense. And you'll find just how fun it is to use.

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