Report: 7 inch Microsoft Surface tablet set for production

Reports from the US suggest Microsoft is looking to broaden its hardware strategy and bring a new version of its Surface tablet to market.

Specifically, the tech giant is set to follow the same tablet path as Apple and other rivals, by scaling down the original 10.6in Surface to a new 7in model. Among 2012’s most popular tablets were the smaller form-factor iPad mini and Nexus 7, and according to research from IDC half of all the tablets sold in the fourth quarter of last year were under 8in.

Rumours of a 7in Surface come from the Wall Street Journal, which cites “people familiar with the company’s plans” as claiming the downsized slate will go into mass production later in 2013.

The sources revealed that a 7in model did not figure in Microsoft’s product plans last year, but it appears the Redmond firm is keener than ever to match the likes of Apple and Google, even if it means venturing further away from its software comfort zone.

When approached about the reports, Microsoft unsurprisingly declined to comment.

Starting at £479 including its trademark keyboard cover, many baulked at the Surface price tag and the customary manufacturer sales boasts were a little conspicuous by their absence from Microsoft.

The company will be hoping a more portable Surface will establish itself in the tablet arena, but with hardware juggernaut Samsung recently throwing another rival into the mix with its Galaxy Note 8.0, which is now on sale, competition will be extremely fierce for Microsoft.