When Microsoft listed an upcoming event as a "small gathering," the company may have been alluding to a new product it plans to debut.
Bloomberg News reported yesterday that Microsoft plans to reveal a new line of smaller Surface tablets at a press event later this month along with a possible debut of the next generation of its existing 10.6-inch Surface and Surface Pro tablets. The new miniature model is rumored to be between 7 and 8 inches.
The company has reportedly been working on a smaller Surface tablet for nearly two years to compete with other miniature tablets like Apple's iPad Mini, Amazon's Kindle Fire and Google's Nexus 7. While rumors circulated that Microsoft would debut its Surface Mini last year, ZDNet reported Microsoft pushed back the mini tablet's unveiling until 2014 in order to preload the tablets with new Windows 8.1 software updates.
The new tablet will also come packaged with a high-quality stylus, which will enhance handwriting and note-taking applications like OneNote. The Surface Mini is also likely run Windows RT, the mobile operating system that currently powers the Surface RT. While Windows RT users can only install apps via the Windows Store, tablets running the mobile platform come with a built-in version of Office 2013, and the new Surface Mini will likely continue the trend. Other reports suggest the aspect ratio of the Surface Mini will be closer to the iPad's 4:3 aspect ratio rather than the widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio found on current Surface tablets.
Microsoft may also announce a major change in manufacturing for its Surface tablets at this month's event. Leaked details about the new Surface tablets suggest that new models shown off will feature Qualcomm chipsets. While the Qualcomm processor may only be used in the Surface Mini, it's possible that the new processor may replace Nvidia's ARM processor, which currently powers the Surface RT.
The event will be held May 20 in New York City.