Microsoft doubled down on its Surface-as-PC-replacement gambit today, introducing A twelve inch Surface Pro 3 while skipping over the long awaited Surface Mini altogether. Now those who had been awaiting the Surface Mini release date – if there is indeed anyone waiting for it – are left with no more information than when the day began. Has it been delayed for technical reasons? Has it been killed off entirely? The absence of the Mini from today’s event is nearly as puzzling as Microsoft’s continued insistence that the Surface Pro is somehow the future of computing.
Over the past year-plus, Microsoft has spent massive advertising dollars trying to tell us that the Surface Pro, with its two operating systems and rubber keyboard, can replace both the iPad and the computer. The public’s reaction has been a collective yawn, and Surface marketshare has ended up being so tiny that it’s not even clear whether it qualifies as a niche product. Now that Microsoft has a new CEO and a second chance to join the tablet revolution, the Surface Mini would have been the logical next step. The public has demonstrated that it likes smaller tablets at smaller price points. But instead, Microsoft decided that the best way to make the Surface more appealing to consumers is to make it larger and more expensive.
Twelve inch tablet models have surfaced occasionally over the past couple years, and disappeared just as quickly. Meanwhile smaller tablets like the iPad mini and the Kindle Fire 7 have proved to be more popular than their larger counterparts. Once Microsoft learns the hard way that no one wants a twelve inch Surface Pro 3, will it finally get around to staging? a seven or eight inch Surface Mini release date, or is the company trying to lose the tablet wars on purpose?