Microsoft's attempt at a first-party Windows 8 tablet lineup was a failure. A year on from the launch of its Surface tablets, the company took a $900 million adjustment on unsold Surface RT tablets during its fourth quarter. Significant price drops for Surface tablets followed, and Microsoft even took to getting rid of its unsold Surface tablets through its "Bing For Schools" initiative.
Today, Microsoft is expected to push ahead with its tablet initiative, announcing an updated lineup of Surface tablets at an event in New York. This time, however, the company may have learned at least one lesson. Rather than focus on new full-sized, relatively expensive tablets, Microsoft is rumored to be preparing a smaller-sized Surface tablet.
The Associated Press is reporting that the small Surface tablet could be sized to compete with 7- and 8-inch tablets from Apple, Google, and Amazon. The report also states that the new Surface could have an Intel Haswell processor.
Since Amazon unveiled its Kindle Fire device in 2011, smaller tablets have taken over the tablet market. Google quickly followed suit with its Nexus 7 device, and even Apple was forced to keep parity by releasing the iPad Mini. Smaller tablets seem to be the form-factor most in demand from consumers, with prices under $200 being a major factor in their success. For Microsoft to find success in the already-crowded mini-tablet market, the company will have to price its Surface Mini at a significantly lower price than its previous-generation Surface tablets.