updated 05:55 am EDT, Thu April 11, 2013
Microsoft set to address popularity of sub 8-inch devices with own tablet
Microsoft is developing a 7-inch Windows 8 tablet, reports the Wall Street Journal. Citing "people familiar with the company's plans," the Journal contends that it will be launched as part of a second-generation range of Surface tablets later this year. Microsoft's current Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets center on a 10.6-inch display, however data from IDC shows that half of all tablets sold last quarter were under 8-inches.
Despite tablets starting to eat appreciably into traditional PC desktop and notebook sales, Microsoft's own range of 10-inch Surface tablets has failed to ignite interest in Windows-powered mobile devices. However, Microsoft could be compounding its problems by not having a 7-inch device that would also be cheaper and more accessible to would-be buyers or switchers. According to the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is said to have re-thought its position on developing a smaller device Windows-based device in light of the growing popularity of the smaller tablet device segment.
An earlier rumor separately had Microsoft's Xbox team developing a 7-inch gaming tablet, although, at this stage, it is thought to be a different project with different goals in mind. Microsoft has also recently changed its Windows 8 specifications reducing the minimum display resolution requirement from 1366x768 to 1024x768. This move has been perceived as paving the way for the development of 7-inch Windows 8 devices with companies like HTC said to prepping their own 7-inch Windows 8 tablets.