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10 things we want to see in Microsoft's Surface Mini

Brad Chacos | May 8, 2014
If Microsoft indeed intends to release a shrunk-down Surface Mini this month, as an invite for a "small" Surface event suggests, merely downsizing the tablet's design to fit an 8-inch frame ain't going to cut it. Sure, the Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2 are beautiful pieces of kit, but they're made for big-screen productivity--the Surface Pro is essentially an Ultrabook without a keyboard. That experience won't translate well to a smaller form factor, better suited for content consumption than content creation.

That said, the Surface Mini can't be priced above the iPad mini if Microsoft wants it to be even a modest success with every day users. (The original iPad mini costs $300; the Retina version starts at $500.) Witness how disastrous the Surface RT's run was when it matched the full-sized iPad's $500 price point: The company wrote off nearly a billion bucks and still loses money for every Surface sold to this day. The further the Surface Mini stays away from the $500 price point, the better.

Yes, Microsoft's mini-tablet has room to rise to the surface in a sea of tablets, as Windows Phone's Cortana says. But to be truly successful, the Surface Mini needs to bring a thoughtful, differentiated approach to the table while still making sure the 8-inch slate doesn't completely obliterate the bank. We'll know May 20!

 

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