Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Hands On - 008

In addition to a revamped Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, Microsoft is reportedly working on a smaller version of its young tablet lineup. According to sources speaking with CNET, the Redmond company is expected to sport a 7.5-inch (4:3 aspect ratio) display with a resolution of 1,400 x 1,050. Rumors of a small Surface device first started popping up all the way back in May, but have been relatively quiet since then.

Details surrounding the device’s features are relatively light, though one possible addition could be 3G/4G capability, which would be a first for a Microsoft tablet. Microsoft earlier this year said one of the biggest reasons it chose an ARM chip-based RT tablet is its support for mobile broadband; it would certainly give the device a leg up on some other smaller devices, but wouldn’t broadband capabilities be more suited for a larger Surface?

There’s currently no release date, though sources claim it’ll hit early next year. Judging from Microsoft’s most recent Surface announcement, it’s likely the smaller iteration will feature a similar design and two phase kickstand. As for pricing, the smaller Surface (Surface mini?) should be cheaper than any of Microsoft new devices, though it’s unclear how it’ll compete with tablets such as the Nexus 7—Surface 2 starts at $449.

A slew of smaller Windows tablets are expected to hit once Windows 8.1 hits in October, though given Google recently introduced its Nexus 7 and Apple could release an iPad mini 2, it’ll certainly be difficult for such devices to become popular. Microsoft addressed a lot of key issue when it introduced its most recent Surface devices; is a smaller version what the company’s lineup needs to be successful? That remains to be seen.