It’s confirmed: the Surface Mini existed at some point, and you’ll probably never own one.
In a Wired story about the creation of the Surface Pro, Microsoft Vice President Panos Panay, head of the Surface team, talks about how much he loved his prototype Surface Mini back in 2013.
“It was like a Moleskine,” he told Wired. “It was awesome.”
The article then says the device, which worked with a Surface Pen, never shipped — something anyone hoping for a small Microsoft tablet knows all too well.
This is the first time anyone at Microsoft confirmed that the device ever physically existed.
The Surface product line currently includes the Surface Pro 4, which is 11.5 inches wide, and the Surface Book, which is even bigger at 12.3 by inches wide. The Surface Mini was rumored to be smaller than 8.5 inches — substantially smaller than any of their tablets.
The upcoming Microsoft Lumia 950XL is the largest Windows 10 Mobile phone made by Microsoft, but at 5.98 inches wide it’s smaller than the Mini could have been.
Microsoft alluded to the Mini’s existence in a 2014 earnings report, but only to say that a new form factor won’t be coming out:
“Current year cost of revenue included Surface inventory adjustments resulting from our transition to newer generation devices and a decision to not ship a new form factor,” the report stated.
Of course, back in 2014 Microsoft, when the Surface Mini was nixed, Microsoft’s hardware fortunes looked pretty different. Early 2015 saw the Surface line generate profit for the first time, and The Surface Book is getting decent press. So while Panos Panay may be the only confirmed Surface Mini user to date, who knows what could happen a year or two from now?
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