Apparently, Microsoft is ready to enter the mini-tablet market. The Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft is planning on developing a new 7-inch Surface tablet, expected to go into mass production later this year.
The move comes as the popularity of smaller tablets continues to grow with products like Apple\’s 7.9-inch iPad Mini on the market and Google\’s new Nexus 7-inch tablet set to arrive soon. At the same time, PC sales continue to decline. According to IDC, half of the tablets shipped in Q4 were smaller than eight inches.
According to the report, a smaller tablet wasn\’t originally on Microsoft’s radar, but due to the change in consumer demands, the company has decided to jump on board. Last October, Microsoft revealed its new Windows 8 operating system designed for touchscreen devices, including tablets and conventional computers. The software wasn\’t received as well as hoped by consumers and IDC blames confusion with the software for some of the drop in PC sales.
Until last year, when the company debuted the 10-inch Surface tablet, Microsoft was primarily a software company, Xbox 360 aside. But now with plans for a second, smaller tablet and possibly even its own smartphone on the table, Microsoft is moving its business model towards what CEO Steve Ballmer calls a “devices and services” company.
According to The Journal, Microsoft is also planning price cuts for its Windows and Office software, in an attempt to progress the development of low-cost touchscreen devices designed to run Windows 8.
Source: The Wall Street Journal