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May 4, 2013

Next Microsoft Surface tablet might have 7.5″ screen, retail for $399

The next Microsoft Surface tablet (or one of the upcoming models) has been detailed today, in a bit of info that kind of contradicts what we heard yesterday about Microsoft’s tablet plans.

The next Surface will be smaller than the current 10.6-inch models. The new tablet will have a 7.5-inch 1,400×1,050 touchscreen. Mass production is expected to start in the first quarter of 2014, and the device should cost $399 or less if Microsoft manages to get component prices down in the meantime.

Yesterday we heard that, indeed, Microsoft was readying smaller tablets for ‘Surface wave 2′, but these were supposedly going to be unveiled at the end of June during the company’s Build developer conference.

So what we have here are a couple of conflicting rumors. Now it could be that this one today is actually referring to a Surface wave 3 tablet, and other models will launch in June. Or not. There’s no way of knowing just yet. Two things are interesting to note, though. First of all, the currently selling Surface tablets have screens with 16:9 aspect ratios, whereas the rumored resolution for the smaller Surface would make its panel have 4:3 aspect ratio (just like Apple’s iPad and iPad Mini, incidentally). Second, at $399 this tablet would be $70 more expensive than the 7.9-inch iPad Mini (though that has a lower-res screen). Also, it would be effectively twice the price of the Google Nexus 7 (with a smaller, and once again lower-res screen). So if this pricing pans out, don’t expect this particular tablet to become Microsoft’s first mass-market success or anything like that.