Microsoft hints at Surface Mini announcement on May 20

The long rumored Surface Mini Windows RT 8.1 tablet may finally make an appearance May 20 at a press event in New York City.

The email invitation requests that recipients "Join us for a small gathering," which may be a reference to the screen size of a mini Surface vs. the 10.6-inch displays on the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2.

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Further rumors say Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will preside over the event. If he does announce Surface Mini it would be his second major product announcement since taking the reins in February. The first was Office for iPad.

Last month a manufacturer posted a catalog item on Amazon.com for a Surface Mini case that stated the case would be available May 18.

Rumors have been swirling for months that Microsoft is working on a 7.5- or 8-inch model for its Surface line of Windows 8.1 machines to compete with Apple's iPad Mini. Surface 2 is a fair Microsoft approximation of an iPad.

With the success of Amazon's Kindle Fire and other small format specialty tablets, more than half the tablets sold in 2013 had screens measuring 8 inches or smaller, according to IDC.

Tim Greene covers Microsoft and unified communications for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at tgreene@nww.com and follow him on Twitter@Tim_Greene.

Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.

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