Remember the mythical Surface Mini? The smaller incarnation of Microsoft’s famous slate which was, at one time, expected to emerge at the end of 2014, but ended up being canceled? Well, prototype devices were certainly built, and some images and details on the Mini have just been dug up.
As to what the Surface Mini looked like, you can (obviously) see that in the images here, which come courtesy of Windows Central, who also spilled details on the compact device.
According to the tech site, Microsoft’s Mini came housed in a soft ‘felt-like’ case material, unsurprisingly with a built-in kickstand which offered three different positions.
That kickstand is pretty much the same as the one used on the Surface Pro 3 tablet (in fact, Windows Central theorizes that Microsoft probably took this design from the Surface Mini, and used it in the Surface 3 which came out the following year).
Apparently the idea with the soft case material – and indeed the overall design – was to make the Surface Mini feel like a book, pitching itself as a note-taking device. Users could sling the Surface Pen through a pen loop attached to the kickstand and the large bezel gave plenty of room to hold the device while scrawling away on it.
It was supposed to be a compact digital notebook, in other words, which came with the Surface Pen (the same stylus tech that was introduced in the Surface Pro 3, in fact) – and no Type Cover (the detachable keyboard partner of the rest of the Surface range).
The core specs of the never-released-tablet include an 8-inch screen (as was pegged by rumor mongers at the time) with a resolution of 1440 x 1080, driven by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU (with Adreno 330 integrated graphics) along with 1GB of system RAM (ouch on the memory front).
It also ran with dual-band Wi-Fi along with 32GB of storage, and as for the operating system, it ran Windows RT 8.1.
Clearly then, there were a lot of headwinds against this machine: the reed-thin 1GB of system memory, the ever-popular Windows RT (ahem), and some of the design elements like the thick bezel aren’t exactly aesthetically pleasing.
That said, according to Windows Central, the Surface Mini is very comfortable to hold in the hands.
But this small slate getting binned isn’t really a surprise when you consider some of those downsides. It's likely Microsoft didn’t believe the Surface Mini had enough selling points to make it a tempting proposition for consumers.
We very much doubt, in this case, that Microsoft called it wrong.
Image Credits: Windows Central