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Microsoft working on smaller Surface tablet

Windows Surface RT tablet
Windows Surface RT tablet

Microsoft’s differently successful stab at a tablet, the Surface, could be getting a smaller sibling, according to reports.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the company is working on a new line-up of tablets, including a 7-inch version set to enter production later this year.

According to “people familiar with the company’s plans”, Microsoft hadn’t originally intended to build a 7-inch device, but have had to in order to keep up with market trends following the successful launch of the iPad Mini and Google Nexus 7. Microsoft and its partners have not produced a device smaller than ten inches.

The smaller Surface tablet may also be related to a gaming device Microsoft has been thought to be working on. A list of specifications for “Xbox Surface” was leaked last year, describing a smaller device that would support up to four wireless game controllers. The smaller tablet could include high-bandwidth memory purposely intended for gaming and would run a special version of Windows rather than the full-fat Windows 8.

In the last quarter, half of all tablets shipped during the most recent quarter were smaller than eight inches. The company entered the market during the fourth quarter with its Surface with Windows RT tablet, but failed to reach the top five among tablet vendors after shipping a little less than 900,000 units, according to IDC figures.

Microsoft is also said to be working on producing its own branded smartphone, but it isn’t clear if this will ever see the light of day.

The company could not be immediately reached for comment.