Surface Mini resurrection? ;)

Hey all,

Long-time lurker, first-time poster 😉

With Apple rumored to be releasing an iPad mini 5 this year, should Microsoft resurrect the Surface mini? 🙂

Windows 10 and Windows on ARM is in a much better position than Windows RT or Windows 8 ever was, so I think there might be a shot (and I do believe the market is there, just like for smaller smartphones).

What do y’all think? (Especially Brad and Paul) 🙂

Cheers 🙂

Conversation 21 comments

  • MacLiam

    Premium Member
    03 February, 2019 - 3:33 pm

    <p>I think the role of the Surface Mini has been appropriated by the Surface Go, which has about the smallest display that can be used effectively with Win10 — even in tablet mode, which is weakened by its far from optimal capability as a tablet OS. I still have a five-year-old HP Stream 8 that will run under current Win10 and most insider releases. It works with a BT keyboard and mouse, but that doesn't make it a production device. It is <em>really </em>slow, even by Surface Go standards.</p><p><br></p><p>It's possible that one of the proposed foldables could function as a Mini. I expect Andromeda or successors under other names could be powerful enough that with extension to a large screen and keyboard/mouse/trackpad accessories they could be considered productivity devices for short-term out of office use.</p><p><br></p><p>I really don't see a standalone Mini as a new niche filler in the Surface lineup.</p>

    • skane2600

      03 February, 2019 - 5:39 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#401523">In reply to MacLiam:</a></em></blockquote><p>It's hard to see a price/performance advantage of a Mini/Andromeda/etc compared to a standard laptop. How much would people be willing to spend on a device that is adequate only for short-term out of office use? Even my WP 8.1 can act as a "Plan B" device for running Office, but I can't imagine paying hundreds of dollars for a slightly better Plan B experience. </p>

    • irfaanwahid

      04 February, 2019 - 1:40 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#401523">In reply to MacLiam:</a></em></blockquote><p>My HP Steam is practically unusable. Too sluggish to do anything. I feel I wasted my money on it. It runs Windows 10 Anniversary Update.</p>

      • Vladimir Carli

        Premium Member
        04 February, 2019 - 6:20 am

        <blockquote>I think the problem is that most people want too much from a computer for too little cost. The current reality is that a computer to adequately run a complex OS as windows is expensive. Those that want to stay in the 300-400 dollars range should buy an iPad or a Chromebook and accept their limitations.</blockquote><blockquote>V.</blockquote><p><br></p>

        • navarac

          04 February, 2019 - 7:11 am

          <blockquote><em><a href="#401672">In reply to Vladimir:</a></em></blockquote><p>As an aside, I recently bought a Chromebook to explore Chrome OS, and must say that it is quite adequate for general computing duties. Even using MS Office apps is good enough for lightweight use.</p>

          • Greg Green

            11 February, 2019 - 7:30 am

            <blockquote><em><a href="#401675">In reply to navarac:</a></em></blockquote><p>This is the problem MS has. Instead of making their OS lighter they keep adding more crap to it. If they want to compete in the small screen world they need to rethink the basics.</p>

  • skane2600

    03 February, 2019 - 5:33 pm

    <p>The primary difference between Windows RT and Windows on ARM is the latter's ability to run 32-bit Win32 applications in emulation. But the emulation performance is fairly poor even on the relatively expensive devices that support it. A Surface mini would have to be considerably less expensive and we could expect its emulation performance to be even less adequate. </p>

  • jimchamplin

    Premium Member
    03 February, 2019 - 6:12 pm

    <p>Windows 8 was head and shoulders better than Windows 10 on touch-first machines. Tablet Mode is a sad, empty shadow of the fluid touch mode in 8.</p>

    • skane2600

      03 February, 2019 - 9:24 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#401586">In reply to jimchamplin:</a></em></blockquote><p>Both tablets and traditional PCs ultimately suffered from the start of the "One Windows" approach starting with Windows 8. "Tabletizing" the UI for both is what caused the backlash by PC users that resulted in later versions being less useful on tablets. </p><p><br></p><p>Microsoft should have made their tablet OS the best it could possibly be on that type of device without thinking about legacy Windows at all. Instead they ended up compromising both the products and their potential profitability.</p>

      • Daishi

        Premium Member
        04 February, 2019 - 12:55 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#401603">In reply to skane2600:</a></em></blockquote><p>The remarkable thing though is that there is a switch in the OS that obstensivly takes you into a tablet centric interface which, as Jim mentioned, is an objectively worse tablet experience than bog standard Windows 8’s hybrid interface was. </p><p><br></p><p>Given that no one using a desktop PC would want to activate tablet mode (or if they did would certainly be in no position to complain about it not working well for them) this surely should be where they try to reimagine the way their systems work to improve and customise the user experience on touch devices. Who knows, maybe in the process they could even come up with a better approach for the desktop as well. Instead tablet mode seems to do little more than triggering a full screen mode for UWP apps and the start menu.</p>

        • skane2600

          04 February, 2019 - 2:26 am

          <blockquote><em><a href="#401642">In reply to Daishi:</a></em></blockquote><p>I think we agree for the most part. There was never a user-centric reason to create a hybrid OS. Microsoft wanted Windows 8 on the desktop to lure users into their mobile offerings and it failed spectacularly. There's also a recurring naive belief on the part of many software developers that they can create these "one-size-fits-all" platforms. Ultimately they always fail to achieve their goals. </p>

          • Daishi

            Premium Member
            04 February, 2019 - 6:20 am

            <blockquote><em><a href="#401660">In reply to skane2600:</a></em></blockquote><p>Yeah I was attempting to agree with you, but reading it back now I can see it wasn’t really clear. I was probably rushing to post it before I got off the bus.</p><p><br></p><p>What I was trying to get at was just that even without a dedicated tablet OS today they could still be doing the work to make tablet mode the best tablet experience it can be without the risk of alienating desktop users the way they did with 8. But instead it’s worse than their hybrid os was, which was actually a pretty decent tablet experience.</p><p><br></p><p>I also agree that one of the big mistakes of the 8/RT generation was to try to make them look, feel and work the same way. Even if RT had been the way it was and 8 had been like 8.1 I feel like a lot of the bad blood towards it could have been avoided. </p>

            • jimchamplin

              Premium Member
              11 February, 2019 - 10:04 pm

              <blockquote><em><a href="#401671">In reply to Daishi:</a></em></blockquote><p>My thought eventually became that instead of Windows 8, they should have released Windows 7 SE with the same guts and desktop as 8, but with an updated tratidional Start menu.</p><p><br></p><p>The Tablet UI would have been an optional component only installed by default on touch devices. The end result would have been something very close to Windows 8.1, but wouldn't have forced the touch UI on everybody.</p><p><br></p><p>But let's be honest we were dealing with a madman in Sinofsky.</p>

            • William Clark

              12 February, 2019 - 12:37 pm

              <blockquote><em><a href="#401671">In reply to Daishi:</a></em></blockquote><p>I think the whole reason for a Windows "tablet" is so that I have a seamless experience across my tablet and my laptop/desktop computer. If the tablet experience is significantly different than my desktop then I don't see any real value in having a "sort-of-Windows" tablet. Might as well go with an iPad which has great apps and decent performance.</p>

  • simont

    Premium Member
    04 February, 2019 - 3:56 am

    <p>They did resurrect the Surface Mini – It's called Surface Go.</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      04 February, 2019 - 8:05 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#401665">In reply to simont:</a></em></blockquote><p>Yep. </p>

  • AnOldAmigaUser

    Premium Member
    04 February, 2019 - 10:57 am

    <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent;">What would be the point? Is there a Win32 app that you really want to run on an 8" screen, without a keyboard and mouse? Or is there a need for a new Microsoft device without apps? At some point, perhaps a mini-tablet could be made with sufficient processor and memory that it could be docked or used with a continuum like interface to meet all one's computing needs, but in end it would be a compromise, and that would leave no one happy.</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent;">Please note, I'm not trying to be snarky, I still use a Windows Phone, so I am just speaking from experience.</span></p>

  • Tony Barrett

    05 February, 2019 - 11:01 am

    <p>Considering barely anyone uses store apps, that leave win32 (as usual), and on a tiny screen…. don't think so.</p>

  • Ron Diaz

    05 February, 2019 - 11:20 am

    <p>Please just let Microsoft’s failures Rest In Peace.</p><p>They are dead and buried. </p><p>We don’t need the return of Microsoft zombie products…</p>

  • smidgerine

    Premium Member
    05 February, 2019 - 11:31 am

    <p>I would like one that could make calls and run Android apps. But maybe that's Surface Phone XL.</p>

  • aelaan

    12 February, 2019 - 12:58 pm

    <p>While that might sound enticing what is the true use case here? We have Surface Go already. I think the efforts for MS should be on the Surface Book 3, the Surface Laptop 3 and a strong USB-c dock that also still has the Surface connector. We need to get to the thunderbolt 3 market. Remember that use and requirement for this type of connectivity will only increase with healthcare, with putting surface devices in many manufacturing applications. Microsoft does evaluate the market frequently but what is the use case for an 8 inch device that cannot be done through a Phablet or a Surface Go? And ARM? I wonder why Apple has not ventured out in that market…. Only Lenovo brought us the 630 and that one was slow as heck. With better, modern connectivity the Surface devices will be able to access new markets. What if Microsoft was working on a container option that could let you run Android apps just like ChromeOS…</p><p><br></p>

Windows Intelligence In Your Inbox

Sign up for our new free newsletter to get three time-saving tips each Friday

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Thurrott © 2024 Thurrott LLC