Microsoft Confirms Smaller Windows 8 Devices Coming

Dennis Faas's picture

After weeks of speculation, Microsoft has finally acknowledged that it is currently working on smaller touch screen devices running Windows 8. So far, most critics appear to approve of the move.

In a recent statement, Microsoft chief financial officer Peter Klein noted that his firm is "working closely with OEMs on a new suite of small touch devices powered by Windows."

Klein didn't say what the new tablets would look like or what their specifications would be, but he did note that Microsoft was determined to offer "competitive pricing" for the devices, which will become available "in the coming months." (Source:

Bigger Surface Tablets Remain Unpopular

So, why would Microsoft build smaller Windows-based touch screen tablets?

Simple: because bigger and more expensive Windows-based tablets aren't selling. So far, reports indicate that just 1.5 million Surface tablet computers have been sold. About 400,000 of those sales involved the more expensive and more powerful Surface Pro.

The Surface has struggled because of its price: $500 or so for a Surface RT, $1,000 or so for a Surface Pro.

As far as features go, there's not much to distinguish the Surface RT from a similarly-priced Apple iPad or to set the Surface Pro aside from any number of touch-enabled ultrabook devices.

Right now, many consumers are opting for cheaper tablet computers. These devices -- including the Samsung Galaxy Tab, Amazon Kindle Fire, Google Nexus 7, and iPad Mini -- come equipped with a 7-inch display and retail for around $200 to $400.

Experts See Opportunity for Microsoft

Industry experts believe releasing a smaller, cheaper Windows-based tablet device will pay off for Microsoft.

"A 7-inch Windows 8 tablet in the $200 price range would change everything, driving adoption of Windows 8," noted PC World's Tony Bradley.

"It would fill a gap between smartphone and laptop, and provide the consistent Windows experience alongside tools like Microsoft Office." (Source:

WindowsBlue blog editor Onuora Amobi agrees. "It's a (good) sign that the new Microsoft is aggressively and proactively going to play in every new hardware segment ... They'll stop to figure out if it's a good decision later. That's a good strategy."

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