Should Microsoft Launch a 7-inch Surface Tablet?

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News Posted: Thu, Apr 11 2013 9:38 AM
It's tough to ignore the demand that exists for tablets in the 7-inch category, regardless of whether they're being scooped up for their size and portability, or because they typically cost significantly less than larger slates. Even Apple decided to jump into the category with its iPad mini. Will Microsoft be next?

It appears that way. Citing "people familiar with the company's plans," The Wall Street Journal reports Microsoft is developing a brand new line of Surface slates, including a 7-inch model that will go into mass production sometime later this year.

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If Microsoft is serious about selling its own hardware, a 7-inch slate might be the best way to go. Consumers haven't flocked to Surface RT the way the Redmond outfit hoped. Back in January, the International Data Corporation (IDC) released data showing Surface RT was unable to crack into the top five tablets in terms of shipments after moving less than 900,000 units in the fourth quarter of 2012. To be fair, Surface RT debuted about a month into the quarter, but the sales figures just aren't super impressive still to this day.

Also according to IDC, half of all tablets shipped in Q4 were smaller than 8 inches, so there's a big market opportunity there. The question is, can Microsoft compete against the likes of the iPad mini, Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD, Nook HD, and others?
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No they should make a better windows lol

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JohnTaylor replied on Thu, Apr 11 2013 10:08 AM

no

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Might be good if it wasnt a RT model.

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OSunday replied on Thu, Apr 11 2013 10:53 AM

No, Microsoft should refrain from launching any other surface tablets since other larger models have also bombed.

Which occurred not because the screen was to big but because it was to expensive and and can't compete against less expensive more powerful laptops.

I'm with Zack Temple on this one, they should focus on refining Windows 8.

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karanm replied on Thu, Apr 11 2013 11:08 AM

I would agree that Microsoft shouldn't release a 7 inch tablet unless it was comparable to the Surface Pro in terms of power while keeping the cost down. I would buy the Surface Pro right away if it was cheaper.

As for Windows 8, Microsoft is working on 8.1 which supposedly fixes some of the problems that people have.

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Clixxer replied on Thu, Apr 11 2013 6:37 PM

karanm:

I would agree that Microsoft shouldn't release a 7 inch tablet unless it was comparable to the Surface Pro in terms of power while keeping the cost down. I would buy the Surface Pro right away if it was cheaper.

As for Windows 8, Microsoft is working on 8.1 which supposedly fixes some of the problems that people have.

Well if they can could get the price down pretty low for a 7" RT model then I think people would be interested. I just dont think with all the power the Pro has that 7" would be enough space but I could be wrong. Their issues is going to be pricing. If its $4-600 then I bet it will be welcomed to lukewarm reception but if they could get it in the $200-350 range then I could see alot of people forking over the money to try it out.

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JDiaz replied on Sat, Apr 13 2013 11:33 AM

Supposedly, the Windows 8.1 (Code Blue) upgrade will also merge RT with Windows 8... If true, it could mean they're reducing or perhaps even eliminating the limitations they've imposed on RT.

Maybe the advent of the newer Cortex A15 based ARM SoCs is what's changing the situation... Since Cortex A15 has improvements like better support for hardware virtualization, which would make providing legacy support a bit easier.

Though, all this is rumors at this point... for all we know this 7" could be a Windows Phone 8 tablet and will strictly be a mobile device... Though, it depends on the timing of the release, the upcoming Bay Trail ATOM update will start shipping by the end of September and could provide enough performance for a 7" model to stand out and the Code Blue update could address the present UI concerns.

RT was only ever required for running on ARM devices, but between Bay Trail and Haswell that need is far less and they may just stick to x86 based products to avoid any compatibility issues.

 

The cost of the ATOM SoCs are also pretty close to ARM now, Clover Trail Z2760 is listed for just $41 for example...  So aside from the cost of the OS, they should be able to make a pretty low cost 7" tablet... unless they throw in premium features like a WACOM digitizer pen, etc...

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