Does the world really need a Surface Mini Pro?

RELATED TOPICS

Tomorrow Microsoft will likely introduce a 7- or 8-inch Surface Mini running Windows RT. Some rumors also point to a Surface Mini Pro as well, running full-blown Windows 8. Does the world really need a full-bore small Windows 8 tablet?

There have been many reports about a Surface Mini being introduced tomorrow, including one by Bloomberg that says it will be powered by a Qualcomm processor rather than the current Nvidia ARM-based chip. The Verge and others report it will probably run Windows RT rather than full-blown Windows, and that it will have a 7.5-inch 1440 x 1080 display with a 4:3 aspect ratio. Several weeks ago, the electronics wholesaler Vostrostone (VSTN) posted a listing for what appears to be a Surface Mini case on Amazon.

surface_mini_teaser.jpg

People have been speculating that the Surface Mini will also have a digitizer pen, which makes sense for several reasons. Its big brother Surface tablets have pens. In addition, a pen would make it stand out in a crowded field of small tablets, notably the iPad Mini. With a pen and Microsoft OneNote, the Surface Mini would be a great small productivity tablet for taking notes and performing similar tasks.

If the Surface Mini is priced right, particularly if it seriously undercuts the iPad Mini's $299 starting price, and if it is just near Google's Nexus 7's $229 price, it can be a big seller. If it's priced up at the $299 range, it will likely have a hard time gaining any traction.

And that brings us to the possible Surface Mini Pro, which would run full-blown Windows 8 on an Intel processor. Several reports say that some Intel-based tablet might be introduced at Microsoft's press event tomorrow, and PC World's Brad Chaco speculates one might be a Surface Mini Pro running Windows 8.

Does the world really need a Surface Mini Pro? I think not. Windows 8's advantage over Windows RT is that it can run desktop apps. But do people really want to run desktop apps on a 7-inch or 8-inch tablet? Not really, particularly since there's an RT-based version of Office that would run on the RT-based Surface Mini.

A Surface Mini Pro would be more expensive than a Surface Mini, and price is key in the small tablet market. There's currently a very big price difference between an RT-based Surface 2 and a Windows 8-based Surface 2 Pro, with the Surface 2's starting price $499 and the Surface 2 Pro's starting price $899 -- a whopping $400. That means there would necessarily be a big price spread between a Surface Mini and a Surface Mini Pro of likely at least $100 and possibly more. That $100 or more would probably doom the device. So if Microsoft announces a Surface Mini Pro tomorrow, it likely won't sell.

RELATED TOPICS
The brave new world of Windows 10 license activation
View Comments
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies