Anyone looking for a full blown Windows 8 tablet in a smaller form factor has so far been met with disappointment, but Microsoft may soon fix that. According to The Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is currently working on the next generation of Surface tablets, which would include a 7-inch model. Sources speaking to the publication indicate that the tablet is due to go into mass production towards the end of the year.
A 7-inch tablet wasn’t originally part of Microsoft’s strategy, according to the Journal. The company is reacting to smaller tablets already out on the market instead, like the Asus Nexus 7 and Apple iPad mini. Both of those products have seen strong demand from people looking for a smaller tablet, so it makes sense that Microsoft would now want to jump into the market.
The timing of the report is noteworthy too. It comes not long after IDC announced that sales of PCs have dropped roughly 14% in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period last year. Rising sales of ARM products have no doubt contributed to the decline, but the introduction of Windows 8 late last year has also seemingly failed to spur any new sales in the sector.
Microsoft released the original Surface RT tablet towards the end of October, so we could be looking at an end-of-year debut for the 7-inch model. If Microsoft can release it in time for the all important holiday season, then it may just make a dent in the tablet market after all.