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Microsoft's late to the mini tablet market, but still has a shot at sales

Gregg Keizer | May 8, 2014
Microsoft may be ready to roll out a small tablet later than rivals, but analysts say a petite Surface is still a good idea.

"Pen support will be a differentiator from the iPad Mini and Nexus 7," said Ubrani. "And the timing is right for the back-to-school season, where this could be easily marketed as a note-taking device."

None of the analysts, however, thought that the addition of a miniature Surface tablet would measurably move the needle for either Microsoft or the broader Windows-based tablet ecosystem. Singh, for instance, called a prospective Surface Mini a "niche" product and added, "While there may be significant demand for small-screen tablets, it is unlikely to be from the segments targeted by Microsoft."

According to IDC, Windows powered about 3.4% of all tablets shipped in 2013, a far cry from the 35% of Apple's iOS and 61% of Google's Android.

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