Surface Mini likely to debut at Microsoft's 'small' event (+video)

A not-so-cryptic invitation from Microsoft for an upcoming press event may confirm the release of a 'Surface Mini,' a smaller, updated, note-taking version of its Surface tablet.

By , Staff Writer

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    A member of the media tries out a Surface 2 tablet during the launch of the Microsoft Surface 2 tablets in New York. Microsoft is expected to unveil a Surface Mini on May 20.
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After promising holiday sales for the Surface tablet, Microsoft is looking to bring in reinforcements. In a few weeks, the tech company is likely to unveil a Surface Mini.

Microsoft sent out invitations to the media regarding a May 20  event in New York City that reads, "Join us for a small gathering," with a large Surface logo. Rumors of a smaller Surface, with a 7- or 8-inch screen size, have been floating around for a while, but this is the first time Microsoft has given any hint that the product is ready to be unveiled.

Here is what we know so far. Last month, Chinese electronics company Vostrostone listed two accessories for a Surface Mini on Amazon: an ultra-thin Smart Cover case and a mini keyboard portfolio case. It was listed as accepting pre-orders for a May 18th launch. Around the same time, several tech websites reported that the Surface Mini would focus on digital note taking, and come equipped with a stylus.

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This follows months of rumors that have given Surface fans a decent idea of what to expect. The Surface Mini is likely to feature a 7.5-inch, 1080p HD screen, with a 4:3 aspect ratio. It will also likely run on Windows RT, the specialized tablet operating system from Microsoft.

In the last day or so, Microsoft-focused blogs Neowin and Windows SuperSite are reporting that the Mini will also come with a cover that functions as a kickstand. They also say the device will likely be available in June.

This comes on the heels of a profitable few months for the Microsoft Surface tablet. Microsoft doubled its quarter-over-quarter Surface tablet sales in the last three months of 2013, and had a profitable holiday season. This is a huge change of pace from news over the summer that the tech company had to write off $900 million of Surface inventory due to lagging sales. The company is likely pushing out the Surface Mini in the hopes of capitalizing on this new success and diversifying the Surface brand.

According to ZDNet, Microsoft’s new CEO Satya Nadella will be presenting at the event.

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