This could be big! Although many were expecting Redmond to release its smaller tablets alongside the second generation Surface refresh, but it appears the extra wait could be worth the while.

Microsoft is already working on a smaller Surface tablet, this much has been reported by a number of sources now. But a new report claims that the company is gearing up to introduce a few new features. In fact, it sheds light on a much more than that.

First up is the speculation that Microsoft is developing two variants of the Surface Mini.

Both are expected to feature an 8-inch 1080p display, but one is to be powered by an Intel Bay Trail CPU, and another will probably sport a Qualcomm chip — ultimately, one will run Windows 8.1, while the other will be powered by Windows RT 8.1.

But the most interesting bit here is that the company is ready to introduce a new technology based on Kinect. In other words, something that would recognize gestures, people’s faces, and allow users to control the tablet without touching the screen.

Obviously, having missed the Holiday rush, Microsoft is at ease when it comes to the official unveil.

Previous reports on the matter have hinted that the smaller Surface tablet would hit store shelves in the United States and Canada sometimes in early 2014. And with the BUILD developer conference slated to begin in early April, it is not unreasonable to expect the Surface Mini making its first appearance there.

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  • un-village-seoul

    If one is going to run RT, I feel certain it will not be a go. When is MS going to drop the RT OS?

    • Tarkus

      I would love RT in a Surface Mini. At that size I don’t need a full blown OS. And it will be a lot more affordable than a Pro version too.

    • WillyThePooh

      With a 8″ tablet, it won’t make much sense to run full power desktop programs. The screen is too small to be useful. I would go for RT instead. And MS is not going to drop RT but to merge it with WP8. I wish it merges quicker so that the RT app store will surge to over 200,000 right away.

  • Ray C

    Surface has been doing well over the last couple months, it’s going to really pick up once they release a mini version. I’m not a mini-tablet guy, but I can see a mini-Surface being really popular. Most mini-tablet users are the true “consumption users.” They really don’t need a pro version of the OS. Mini-tablets are kind of small to use as your primary business/real work tablet. More and more apps are coming every day. It’s just a shame the Phone/RT merger has not already happened. A mini tablet with Office touch and all the apps you can get on either platform is appealing to average users.