Microsoft had tablet fans all fired up about the release of its Surface Mini in 2014, but the tech giant then canceled the little tablet just weeks before its official debut.
There have been only a handful of Microsoft Surface Mini promo images, and the world has never seen real pictures of the since-canceled device, until now.
The Surface Mini, which was a dream project of division chief Panos Panay, was meant to be a smaller version of Microsoft Surface tablets.
But the device never saw the light of day because, firstly, it didn’t offer much variation from other smaller tablets available in 2014, and secondly, the tablet world was suffering from a consistent decline in sales.
Windows Central got its hands on the little Microsoft tablet, so it’s time for the public to finally see the seemingly revolutionary Surface Mini tablet.
Microsoft Surface Mini, which was canceled by CEO Satya Nadella and EVP Stephen Elop at the very last minute, was supposed to be the smaller version of the Surface Pro 3, which was announced on the same day with its mini counterpart.
A major difference between Microsoft Surface Mini and Surface Pro 3 is that the former featured the home button in portrait orientation.
Microsoft equipped the Surface Mini with a kickstand similar to the Surface 3, which entered the tablet market in 2015. The little tablet was also rumored to support the same pen as its larger counterpart, Surface Pro 3.
With its angled edges, the eight-inch Surface Mini was claimed to be the perfect little tablet for note-taking.
Exclusive images of Microsoft Surface Mini show that the little tablet featured a microSD card slot for extra storage, headphone jack, Micro-USB port and USB-OTG.
In 2014, rumors were circulating that Microsoft wanted the mini tablet to run on the limited Windows RT operating system, which was eventually axed by the tech giant the following year.
As for the device’s hardware, the Surface Mini was equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor with 1GB RAM, and had a screen resolution of 1440 x 1080, according to Engadget.
The Surface Mini was meant to join the big Surface family, which has been the primary focus of Microsoft’s device sales over the years. Last year, Microsoft reported Surface sales in fiscal Q4 at just below $1 billion.
But Microsoft apparently lost enthusiasm for the Surface Mini, as the company surprisingly canceled the little device right before its debut.
While some tech experts say the Surface Mini was never supposed to find success due to its lack of uniqueness, others say Microsoft reacted to the downward tablet sales trend and couldn’t risk releasing a tablet that just wouldn’t sell.
Tablet users, however, had been pretty fired up about the release of Microsoft Surface Mini, as the eight-inch tablet would offer them a mid-alternative between a smartphone and a tablet.
Microsoft apparently feared the Surface Mini would not be able to compete against competitor Apple’s iPad Mini.
In 2014-2015, the tablet industry experienced a major drop in sales, which means Microsoft may have made the right call when it decided to ax the Surface Mini, especially considering that the little tablet would have been released the same year as the Surface Pro 3.
This year, Microsoft reported that Surface revenues fell 26 percent compared to last year, according to Engadget.
It is unlikely Microsoft will ever resurrect the Surface Mini, as the tech giant is busy working on its new Surface Pro 5, set to hit the shelves later this year.
Instead, there have been persistent rumors that Microsoft will release a smartphone to rival the iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy range. With the rate in which technology has changed and developed since the Surface Mini was supposed to be released, a Surface smartphone would likely incorporate all of the features of the planned tablet, and plenty more.
[Featured Image by Bebeto Matthews/AP Images]