Surface Mini tablet to launch this year

Microsoft seems all set to launch the second generation of its Surface tablet and rumors suggest that the company will also launch a Surface Mini tablet this year.

The company launched its first tablet range, which included the Windows RT-powered Surface RT and Windows 8 run Surface Pro tablets, last year. The Surface RT hit the shelves in October 2012 and a few months later the Surface Pro went on for sale in February this year.

Both the 10.6-inch tablets failed Microsoft's sales expectations and did not attract many customers. Some reports indicate that the poor compatibility of the Surface RT and the high price tag of the Surface Pro tablet have contributed to the not-so-great sales of the first-generation Microsoft tablets.      

Apple initially launched the 9.7-inch tablet and in 2012 entered the smaller tablet market with the launch of the 7.9-inch iPad mini. It seems that Microsoft wants to grab a share of the smaller tablet market with the launch of a compact version of the Surface slate. However, customers may have to wait a bit longer before the company launches the Surface Mini tablet.

"While Microsoft is announcing the initial two second generation Surface devices tomorrow (sic Sept. 23), I don't expect them to launch until October 18, 2013, when Windows 8.1 hits the streets. Perhaps Surface 'mini' will ship later, in November. But I've not heard," reports WinSuperSite.

Technology blogger Paul Thurrott also notes on WinSuperSite that the Surface Mini will have an 8-inch display and a Qualcomm (ARM) processor. The rumored tablet is expected to run on Windows RT 8.1.

Apple is also due to launch the second-generation  iPad mini. Some rumors suggest that the company will reveal the iPad mini 2 along with the iPad 5 in October this year, but a confirmed launch date is not known.

The upcoming iPad mini 2 is expected to sport a Retina display and some improved features. If Microsoft launches the Surface Mini in October or November this year, the tablet may give stiff competition to the next-generation iPad mini 2.

With competition increasing in the tablet arena, however, Microsoft will have to put a competitive price tag on the Surface Mini tablet to attract more customers.  

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