Microsoft's rumored smaller Surface tablet won't be out until early next year, potentially missing a huge surge over the busy holiday period. There have been hints we'd see a follow up Surface to compete with the likes of Google, Amazon and Apple, but it was never clear when Microsoft intended on releasing such a device. According to NPD DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim, supply chain checks and balances suggest the device's arrival is still many months off.

When the tab does arrive, however, Shim believes it'll sport a 7.5-inch display with a 1,400 x 1,050 resolution, a higher pixel density than that of the iPad mini and Nexus 7. While Shim estimates a significant volume of 7.5-inch Surface devices will produced in Q1 2014, he doesn't rule out the possibility of lower production before this year is up. That would, then, potentially mean some units would be available during the holiday season.

The very latest Surface rumor, from May 2, suggested Microsoft is prepping a device between 7- and 9-inches, with a possible announcement this June. But before the smaller tab actually hits the market, Microsoft is looking for ways to develop a cheaper product, Shim said, but didn't say how cheap. However, CNET, per an unnamed source, said $399 is a current target, though that could move lower as production gets underway.