Samsung has reportedly been tapped by Microsoft
to supply 7.9-inch panels for a smaller version of its Surface, according to Digitimes
. The purported smaller tablet could be released as soon as the end of June, however, no Taiwanese suppliers have yet been included on the supplier list. Microsoft has not revealed its plans for future versions of its Surface tablet, but it recently changed the specifications
of Windows 8 to accommodate displays that could be used on smaller tablets.
The Wall Street Journal reported in early April
that Microsoft was prepping a smaller 7-inch tablet. Sales of its larger Surface RT and Surface Pro have been relatively tepid
, along with sales of larger Windows 8 tablets generally. The rise in popularity of 7-inch Android tablets, as well as the 7.9-inch iPad mini have accounted for as many as 50 percent of all tablets according to research by IDC. Introducing smaller Windows 8 tablets will help to address up to 50 percent of the tablet market, which should result in an uptick in Windows tablet sales.
However, this is on the assumption that users continue to buy larger Windows 8 tablets and don't migrate en masse to the smaller form factor. It cannot, however, yet be predicted whether Microsoft and its partners will sell enough of the planned smaller form factor
devices to help boost overall Windows 8 tablet sales. The arrival of Windows 8.1
, also known by its codename Windows Blue, in the latter half of the years should also assist with user acceptance of its new operating system. This will also include a refresh of the Window RT tablet OS designed to work on low-power ARM processors.