Today is the unofficial Surface Mini day.
No, the tablet has not been unveiled, no way near that.
But after months and months of mounting speculation and a few solid reports hinting the arrival, the good folks over at Microsoft have set May 20 as the day when they will hold a press event in New York to officially announce the anticipated tablet.
The news of the press invite was swiftly followed by some new rumors, about what the device might bring to the table. What it does bring to the table, we will find out smack two weeks from now.
However, there are a few thing Redmond just have to get right to make this tablet a success.
Now, depending on who you ask, the Surface Mini already comes with a little setback of sorts in that it is powered by Windows RT 8.1; and that means no legacy Windows programs, only Windows Store apps. Almost all other 8-inch Windows tablets are powered by Windows 8.1 Pro, a fact worth mentioning.
Obviously, when Microsoft said that they plan on standing behind Windows RT 8.1, they meant that.
And it is pointless to expect otherwise. If Microsoft does not develop RT based products, no one else will. But having said that, here are three things the company has to hit the mark with from the word go.
The first is stylus support. And that means unquestionably great style support; something that makes Surface Mini users want to whip up their digital pen and scribble on the screen. There are voices that say this is coming, so that’s a good thing.
Secondly, built-in cellular.
There are signs that the only reason why Microsoft delayed the release of the Surface Mini was to ensure that the 4G LTE version of the Surface 2 made it to the market first. Safe and sound.
Now that it has, the company can go on and add in support for wireless cellular in the smaller tablet.
And final point? Pricing.
Here, something around $250 sounds just about right. The Apple iPad Mini (not the Retina version) starts at $299. The Dell Venue 8 Pro can be had for as low as $199.
A middle of the road attempt makes all the sense in the world.