In the past, Microsoft’s cheaper Surface and Surface 2 hybrid tablets contained ARM hardware and ran Windows 8/8.1 RT, which was a specialised version of Windows compiled for the ARM architectures that actually ran pretty damn well. The attraction to the platform was mainly the lack of any available malware for it and desktop applications weren’t a thing – everything ran using Modern apps with the exception of Explorer and the Office suite. Now, though, sources close to WinBeta say that the Surface 3 will pack an Intel Atom (most likely Braswell) processor, will be running the full-fat version of Windows 8.1 (soon to be Windows 10) and will have a display that almost certainly will be smaller than 10.1 inches to qualify for the free Office apps that Microsoft just announced for small tablets and mobile phones.
None of this is particularly surprising, but it does raise the question of what happened to the idea of Surface Mini, the 7-inch competitor to the iPad Mini. We’ll have to wait for the Windows 10 launch, expected in September 2015, to see if that will still be a thing. I just hope they don’t saddle it down with only 16GB of storage.