After the 8-inch Surface Mini didn't surface at what Microsoft dubbed its 'small gathering' launch earlier this year, plenty of pundits decried the Surface Mini dead.
Suggested reasons for the Surface Mini kill-off included too much pressure against Microsoft OEM partners already selling 8-inch Windows tablets at competitive price points already lower than the cheapest iPads, as well as the lack of a fully native and touch-enabled version of Microsoft Office code-named "Gemini", as reported by Microsoft watcher Mary-Jo Foley
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|The alleged 8-inch Surface Mini
Thus, while reports suggested 15,000 to 20,000 8-inch Surface Mini tablets were produced for the launch, Microsoft made the unexpected decision to scrap its 8-inch Surface Mini at the last minute.
These reports were bolstered by Microsoft's recent earnings results which contained the sentence that the "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".
Now, a new report from Taiwan-based Digitimes says Microsoft is making a slightly smaller Surface after all, with a new 10.6-inch model starting production in August, volume production starting in September and an on-sale date starting from October 2014.
Digitimes says this new tablet will be "slimmer and lighter" and is "expected to have better sales performance" than the Surface Pro 3.
Given these developments, it's hard to say whether Microsoft will ever return to the 8-inch tablet space.
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|The forthcoming Surface Pro 3|
However, with the ongoing popularity of Apple's 7.9-inch iPad and a flurry of 8.x-inch Android tablets from Samsung, LG and others, there's still a very maxi chance we'll still see a newly improved and more powerful 8-inch Surface Mini still appearing sometime in 2015 - complete with iPad-like full touch-enabled Microsoft Office at last.