According to the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is working on new line-up of Surface tablets that also includes a 7-inch version which is expected to go into mass production later this year. The Surface with 7-inch display could be a competitor to Google Nexus 7 and Apple iPad Mini.
Apparently, the tablet will feature the new Intel Atom Bay Trail SoC, which has just been officially unveiled at IDF in Beijing.
Clearly, Microsoft wants to increase the sales of the Surface series with this move and thus the market share of Windows tablets. So far, there is no Windows tablet in 7 to 8-inch display range. Microsoft has recently changed its Windows 8 policy and now the OS allows the creation of Windows 8 devices with a resolution of 1024 x 768.
The Google Nexus has been doing relatively well due to its low prices and good features. It is currently unclear whether Microsoft can offer a 7-inch Surface with such a low price that can compete with Google’s tablet. Also, there have been rumors that Google will launch the successor of Nexus 7 with Full HD display for as low as $150 that will go on sale around July.
Although Google has not revealed the exact sales figure, it is said that the company have sold about 4.5 million units of Nexus 7 in the first half year after the launch. On the other hand, Microsoft has sold just 1.5 million Surfaces. Of these, 1.1 million were Surface RT, which came on the market about six months ago and over 400,000 units of Surface Pro in two months since the release in February 2013.
In short, the 7-inch Surface fully coincides with Microsoft intensions of expanding its Surface product range.