Surface Mini this Summer? Yes, Says Leaker. No, Says Me.
The Surface Mini is quickly becoming my favorite piece of vaporware. Rumored since last year, we were supposed to see the Windows RT-powered tablet debuted this past May, right along with the Surface Pro 3. When that event came and went, rumors about the Mini have swirled, with the last report claiming that the project was likely simply dead in the water. Today, however, notable device leaker @evleaks claims that the Mini could be out this summer.
The scoop is pretty simple. Here it is, straight from Twitter:
Microsoft Surface Mini is back in production, in anticipation of a summer release. – http://t.co/a7DRVU3CdY
— @evleaks (@evleaks) July 7, 2014
It’s possible, I suppose. After all, none of the previous reports definitively said that Microsoft had definitely killed the Surface Mini. Even still, from what we’d heard, there was pretty compelling evidence as to why the tablet was put on indefinite hold, and little reason to think that Microsoft would reverse course before the end of the year – and certainly not to allow for a summer release.
The reasons given for the Surface Mini being held back from the event earlier this year made a lot of sense: it just wouldn’t have impressive-enough specs to differentiate itself from the competition. When you combine that with the fact that Windows RT has failed to really take hold as a viable operating system, one has to wonder whether the Surface Mini would really ever need to happen.
So if @evleaks is right, what’s changed? Why would Microsoft now be interested in releasing an under-specced product with an unpopular operating system in a marketplace that’s already saturated with low-priced competition? As you can probably tell, I have my doubts. My only thought is that Microsoft already pumped a decent amount of money into R&D and production – since the Mini was going to be unveiled in May, and wants a return on its investment in some form. Certainly some revenue coming in would be a nice alternative to a giant line of red ink that shows how the Mini was a complete waste.
On the other hand, it’s not like Microsoft is short on cash. While the Surface division has been a money-loser, it’s not like one more loss is going to break them by any stretch. Moreover, CEO Satya Nadella took over the company after the Mini project had already gotten started under his predecessor, Steve Ballmer. The failure of the Mini wouldn’t really reflect poorly on Nadella since it wasn’t his project, right?
If the Surface Mini does come out this summer – or even before the end of the year – we’ll take a look and see what makes the device so compelling that Microsoft decided to dip back into Windows RT. But more than likely, I’d bet a buck or two that we won’t ever actually see this thing.