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Why a pen-focused cellular Surface Mini tablet would be awesome

We write, almost daily, throughout our professional and personal lives. Thus, it makes sense for the familiar pen and paper scenario to be replicated by the technology that is increasingly integrated into our lives.

Millions of people, including business professionals, writers, police officers, students, salespeople, doctors and regular Joes, carry a pen and paper. We often need to scribble some idea, epiphany or other valuable information onto a medium more enduring than our memories. Scrap paper, however, is often lost. And notepads are organized, effective, but finite in their capacity.

Though in our technology-driven world much of what we record with pen and paper is destined for the same "eternal" digital format as our typed data, writing is often more efficient, comfortable and socially acceptable in certain contexts. So writing is both more natural than typing and considered more polite in a social setting.

Microsoft, with its Windows Ink and cellular PC strategy, should launch an inking-focused, always-connected Surface mini tablet. Not a phone or ultramobile PC, just a simple seven-inch, pen-equipped slate running Core OS. This device would serve a multitude of note-taking scenarios and overcome the shortcomings of etching notes on traditional notepads.

What is Windows Ink?

Windows Ink is the evolution of inking capabilities that have been part of Windows since Vista. It allows users to use a pen to write on a touchscreen Windows 10 PC as naturally as they would on paper.

Touch and pen became prominent in Windows with Surface. The pen's integration with OneNote showcased Microsoft's hardware and software integration chops. Windows 10 introduced writing on web pages. And with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, which addressed the creator in everyone, Microsoft made inking front and center.

Windows Ink Workspace is an easily accessed and evolving section of Windows 10 that showcases various inking tool, including:

  • Sticky Notes now has pen support and Cortana insights. Cortana scans a note's content and can add reminders as it recognizes actionable data like day or time.
  • Sketch Pad provides users with a dedicated inking environment for doodling and notetaking. It's equipped with virtual rulers, pen types and more.
  • Screen Sketch allows users to write directly on a screenshot of their displays.

These capabilities can also be accessed from the lock screen, enabling the quick access often needed when people take notes. Microsoft also supports third-party, ink-focused apps like Ink Calendar. It's not hard to envision the usefulness of these tools on a seven-inch, pen-enabled, Core OS digital notepad.

What is Microsoft's Whiteboard app?

Whiteboard is a collaboration-focused, first-party inking app. It digitally replicates the physical whiteboard experience and allows remote users to work in the same digital environment in real time.

Whiteboard also incorporates intelligence. The "Ink to Shape" feature automatically creates a perfect shape out of a user's sloppy attempts. Additionally, after users enter an equation, Whiteboard provides the associated graph illustrating it.

With Bing integration, users can search for and insert images from within the app.

Windows Ink and Whiteboard on a mini cellular tablet

Surface Creator Panos Panay refers to his Surface Mini as a Moleskin (a type of notebook) and keeps it by his bedside for late night notetaking. In 2014, the pen-focused Mini was reportedly scrapped because it lacked a competitive advantage. Things are different now.

With cellular PCs coming to market this year, an eSIM-equipped, pen-focused mini-tablet from Microsoft would have the always-connected advantage the original Mini lacked. Furthermore, with Core OS Microsoft could ensure the full power of Windows while cutting features that may not be needed for the device's form factor and digital notepad positioning. Since inking would be the focus, Sticky Notes, Sketch Pad, Screen Sketch and upcoming inking capabilities would be highlighted features.

Whiteboard is initially targeted at the education sector, but it has broader potential applications on a digital notepad. Imagine business executives collaboratively strategizing from remote locations. Or students remotely working on group projects, artists collaborating, or engineers brainstorming. Field sales reps following up on leads could update the central office with "live" notes. Doctor-patient interactions would be more personal as the doctor faces the patient while writing on a digital notepad, rather than typing into a laptop with his back to them.

The time is right ...

Digital notepads would eliminate scrap paper and with cloud support enable virtually "infinite" note storage. The implications for personal and collaborative uses of an inking-focused mini tablet with Windows Ink and Whiteboard are far greater than what Surface Mini would have brought to market in 2014. With Continuum, Microsoft could even enable full desktop scenarios.

Is Microsoft's rumored 'Surface phone' a reimagined Surface Mini

If Microsoft threw in cellular voice, we'd really be talking (poor pun intended). But that's a topic for another day.

Jason L Ward is a columnist at Windows Central. He provides unique big picture analysis of the complex world of Microsoft. Jason takes the small clues and gives you an insightful big picture perspective through storytelling that you won't find *anywhere* else. Seriously, this dude thinks outside the box. Follow him on Twitter at @JLTechWord. He's doing the "write" thing!

129 Comments
  • Thanks for reading. Let's talk.
  • It would be awesom but there is some stumbling blocks. There is not enought good tablet apps and the crowd that think the browser apps is good enought are not big enough support such tablet. It would go up against the combined might of iPad and Note 8, both of which have apps plenty and no there is more to doing a good app for a tablet than Cshell.
  • A couple points that I think you get wrong. First of all, I almost never write anything on paper with pen or pencil. Second, I've never even heard of anyone using a pen on a tablet. I am not sure inking is all Microsoft is making it out to be as far as a market. I personally have zero interest in inking or pen input of any kind. I would like a small tablet though for touch input, 10' being the ideal size. The issue is that there is still no way to use it in the car for maps and music. CShell is useless unless it incportates in car scenarios.
  • Cshell useless except cars? Now that's a pretty narrow perspective.
  • It probably reflects Nadella's thinking though. Doubtless he'll be planning how to sabotage Cshell already. You have to think ahead in the IT business.
  • So I am the person you have never heard of. I use a SP4 for day to day and Until recently had a dell 8 inch tablet. I use inking all the time. Note taking, jotting changes down on visualisation designs, quick math. Inking has quickly become part of my work flow, changes to presentations etc is just more intuitive that way. I would say for a small tablet 8 inches is ideal, any bigger and I want real productivity, it’s where the iPad falls down for me.  
  • I use multiple pieces of paper for brainstorming on a team...
  • I use my stylus on my tablets all the time (Surface Pro, HP envy Note) and a know a few others that do as well. Windows Ink has been very helpful with notes while standing and moving around, where a keyboard is not ideal.
  • I prefer typing vs writing but there are some things you can't just type out. I regularly use the pen on my surface pro 2017. Granted, the field you work in or your hobbies in your free time may be so that you don't need to ink at all, but there are people definitely use the pen.
  • 'Never heard of anyone using a pen on a tablet' Are you serious? I've literally never heard of anyone never hearing of anyone using a pen on a tablet. That is the most ridiculous comment I think I've ever read on these forums. I write on my Surface Book all the time as do most of the people in the company I work for.
  • This is a device that I thought would have been done at the next year after Surface tablet first hit the market. What is Microsoft waiting for?
  • Small tablets are kinda dead. I don't think anyone is seriously selling a small tablet anymore. It isn't 2012, phablets replaced small tablets. The Note 8 is available now and does this better than any new Microsoft product can.
  • But, wouldn't be great if the Surface team partnered with Samsung and created a short of Windows Note product? That would be the ultimate device. It might not be such a stretch either. MS and Samsung have been working together.
  • Why would it be any better than the TouchWiz version? No mobile software and heavy hardware limitations would make a poor experience. That wouldn't be the ultimate machine at all.
  • Why would anyone want it, if he is already able to buy a Note 8, which runs Microsoft apps in addition to Android apps? The app gap would still be present on a Windows version of this product.
  • I don't have sales numbers but iPad Minis I believe are still selling well? Small Windows tablets failed because they weren't productive enough and lack of apps meant iPad Minis were better consumption devices (faster, better form factor, typically nicer screens, better battery life). Better inking may address the productivity as well as Windows on Arm. I'm itching for a Dell V8P replacement but nothing better exists on the market, wireless display and Bluetooth mouse and keyboard make it almost ready to replace my docked laptop at home but the performance isn't there. I'd rather have a simple USB-C dock.    
  • Phablets just don't cut it for me. They are way too small. For me, the perfect phone replacement would be a 7" cellular capable tablet without bezels. And it needs pen support. Oh, and I want it to have a 16:10 aspect ratio. None of that 18:9 **** every manufacture seems to have developed a fetish for this year. I don't mind if I need to use it two handed, in fact, I prefer it.
  • I'd like something the aspect ratio of the Blackberry Passport - maybe some type of attachment that adds a battery and sliding keyboard/game pad.  Pencil sized stylus.  Real windows, continuum, desktop dock with multiple USB/HDMI/Display Port/Audio ports. ...and a headphone jack.  
  • They are waiting for the OS to be ready...
  • It is 2017. They are 10 years too late unless they have a revolution.
  • Why are you replying to me? You know I don't give a rats ass about anything you have to say,whether it's right, or wrong.. So get off my nutz..
    Now, reading that, if you have any dignity as man, you would NEVER try to "reason" with me, or reply to me,, ever again. No, I'm not talking about Windows stuff right now. I'm talking about you harassing other men over, and over. I'm telling you right now that I'm not interested in your advances, although flattering, I don't roll that way.. Nice knowing you.
  • Don't make public posts if you don't want public comments. It is quite silly to be "waiting by for the OS to be done" 10 years later. It is not going anywhere and Microsoft doesn't seem to disagree as they kill and hamstring their services.
  • Hey, man. I told you. I know I'm sexy AF, but it's only for the ladies. Now, go away for good, man stalker.
    ......
    I don't know how else to tell you. I'M NOT INTERESTED IN YOUR ADVANCEMENTS! NOT MY STYLE.
    What's it gonna take to get that through your thick scull?
    Ok. Try hooking up with one of the others here, but leave me alone for the last damn time. I'm not interested, and I'm calling harassment. End of conversation!
  • Talk about a crybaby fanboy.  Rodney  you have a bike,  go take a ride....but yeah,  you probably fanboy out to that too....
  • Rodney, it's been awhile and I think I told you before but you constantly remind me why you are one of my favorite commenters here lol    that being said, i lost the glow being a ms fan, man. I was right with you but these last two weeks (and the long time that I've been frequenting but not joining in the convos and being right with you), i feel like ms has really convinced me that they don't want or care about consumer support. Idk how you hold up man! I've made the final decision after seeing the pixel 2 xl reveal yesterday; I'm selling my [privacy] soul.  wish me luck and for us to never be wc enemies, my long-time ms enthusiast comrade. Keep slaying the, as you called them, ***hats lol
  • 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍
  • rodneyej, you need to take a cold shower :-)
  • Lol!!! Probably so. 😂😂😂
  • Just a nitpick - the notebook is called Moleskine and it's not a type but a brand name.
  • Thanks for the article, it was a nice read. I would definitely want a Surface Mini, with a Pen as a digital mate. It should however have W10 on ARM with a high end SOC(835+) and 8GB + ram. Maybe even the possibility to connect WMR? That would be a device I would buy. When you don't want to take your whole laptop or large tablet with you but you want to be connected and do more stuff than is possible on a mobile phone.
  • why are you even supporting Microsoft at this point Jason? I know your enthusiasm but its getting old now.
  • samsung galaxy note series need a serious rival. I see note pro device running windows in the future
  • I don't have a problem with that... What's that Samsung tablet running Windows10 called?
  • Just want to make sure I haven't missed anything - Whiteboard is not released, either in early access/beta or otherwise correct?
  • Huh?... Clarify
  • Yeah it's not available yet. There was a leaked way to install it a bit ago, which I've done to show it and try it out(sharing the whiteboard from different devices) with a friend. I think it's only available on the Hub at the moment.
  • Whiteboard is just a single OneNote page, that's all. We've got a couple of Surface Hubs at work which I spent ages on, looking for OneNote only to realise that OneNote is WhiteBoard
  • The surface mini would have been an awesome and would have made my life so much easier. Right now I run out of pen ink before all the lectures are finished. We're not allowed to use laptops or large tablets... To write notes. Because some numpty broke another students surface tablet. Plus when some people type it's very, very noisy and distracting. Furthermore, by reducing amount of paper we use. We reduce the amount of trees that are cut down for paper.
  • Well, there are many options on the market that you could buy for that reason today... But, I think the appeal of Surface hardware is very high, and we're conceptualizing one with telephony, so the usage case scenario would be a little higher. For some this device would consolidate the amount of devices carried a larger percentage of time. I know for me, and what I use my S3, and 950, for everyday a combined Surface device would be really nice to have. Yeah, I'll take one.
  • There are yes, however I don't need full windows running on a tablet and I need something that will last at least 7 hours of constant use. Yesterday I had 4 hours of chemistry and 3 hrs of biology lol. Switching industry from real estate to science. I just couldn't take the greed anymore. When people become numbers and statistics, that's when you know that company has lost it's way. Although I do most of my work on a phone, I prefer to have my phone separate and a mini tablet with telephony + internet capable for work separate (for redundancy). I have been in situations where my phone had died as I ran it down working on a contract. The worst one was when I had to walk 3 hours to get home, the inventory clerk took the keys home and was sipping on wine, so couldn't drive - the landlord changed her mind and wanted the keys that day instead of the agreed pick up a week later (when she returned from holiday). Since I couldn't transfer money, the bank card I carry is always empty and I transfer money when I need to use it - so walking it was lol. I don't drive as the insurance premium is just insane, then we MOT, road tax, petrol costs, parking costs, on top of all the other bills. London is pretty damn expensive lol.
  • Isn't that utramobile cellular PC with a foldable screen supposed to do exactly what you propose?  Of course, if the rumor would turn out be true. :-)
  • Well, both products are imaginary, so what difference does it make?
  • I'm not sure microsoft will launch many new surface devices. Thier OEM's have picked up the challenge to create more interesting devices that compliment Windows 10.  The surface line was created to showcase windows 10 and place a boot firmly up the backside of the hardware manufacturing sector. Microsoft wanted to see better quality hardware and designed surface to spur the others along. Job done. Honestly, I'm in the camp that could see Microsoft walking away from hardware in the next 12-18 months. They have no appetite or desire to service the consumer space.  
  • Problem with that line of thought is that the Surface line is profitable and has huge mindshare. Why would they get rid of a profitable line? Especially one that finally embarasses Apple's hardware. The Surface is not like Groove or the Zune.
  • Is it still profitable?
  • I'm not sure if it makes money or not. But here's something we do know....Microsoft haven't done a single thing in 2017 that's been focussed on the consumer. We have no mobile device, and let's be completely honest, we have no hard evidence that one will ever appear. All we have is random speculation, wishful thinking and guess work. We have no major hardware in 2017 other than light touch updates to existing models and a laptop that's focussed on education. We're watching Microsoft lose ground in virtual/augmented reality to Apple and Google, who have the means and desire to excite the consumer conscience with VR on mobile devices. We're seeing consumer centric applications like groove vanish. It stands to good reason that other media consumption services like TV, movies and books will go next. We're watching Microsoft morph into a highly profitable, enterprise focussed business. We the consumer are the abandoned market segment.  Collectively we don't have the buying power of the banks, retail stores, oil firms or governments that Microsoft want as clients. If Surface continues it will be only to give guidance to other manufacturers on how to build products for the education and enterprise sectors. Fancy phones, cool tablets and awesome music, movie and gaming applications do not fall into the categories that Microsoft see a future in. Prove me wrong. Anyone. Anyone at all. Show me I'm wrong    
  • You are likely very right. Maybe Microsoft will release a totally game changing Surface Phone next year and flip the market like Apple did in 2007. I am not holding my breath.
  • I think you've hit the nail on the head. Why it's so hard for most to see this I don't understand. Is Surface next on the chopping block? https://mspoweruser.com/after-phone-band-and-groove-microsofts-surface-p...
  • Ummm The Surface Pro "5" came out in 2017...
  • It did, but it's primary function was to address the problems of the pro 4. It was a light touch update. And it's far more useful in the hands of someone who needs a productivity device. Consider the excitement surrounding the Google announcements yesterday. Consider the hype surrounding the Apple event last month. Compare that to the surface events we've had this year. Microsoft haven't stood on a stage and fuelled the consumers imagination with exciting hardware and awesome software for at least 12 months.  
  • Actually, it's an entirely new device. Besides looks the devices has been more thoroughly designed than most people realize. And, there was the Surface Book, and other peripherals that came out in 2017.
  • Well i know where you're wrong; you forgot to add Xbox to your correctness lol
  • I agree I'd love to see a ARM Surface Mini with LTE. A game-changing capability would be a Skype SIM which would bring all SMS/MMS and calls going through Skype on any device, and if Skype became a mobile virtual network operator then data could be handled through the best available carrier. 
  • Google Voice did this years ago. It is awesome today if you want that experience.
  • Wasn't Surface 3 that kind of a tablet? Sure, 10 inch tablet is less comfortable to carry around, but it is more comfortable to doodle/write on.
  • Yep, and it's always connected.. All we need is a Surface 3 at 7-7.5" with telephony, and a lot of people would be happy.
  • Its been retrenched once, not sure there is enough there to warrant its existence this time around.
  • I think it should be certain to everyone that under Shatya Nutella's rule we won't see any consumer minded devices, just things that help enterprise, and way overpriced uncessary things like the Surface Studio.
  • I see that you don't seem to like MS under Satya but do you have to go so far as to name calling?
  • for many, including myself, he has drastically changed (for the worse) a company that we are all fans of. I now own an iPhone and purchased a MacBook Pro several months back. ALL of MS' services are available with Apple's ecosystem (and Android), and work much better. I have my gaming rig, but that's the extent of my MS "hardware" and software. this all happened in within the last year.    got tired of being disrespected as a consumer and loyal fan of MS. 
  • Here's what I see:
    1. Windows core os
    2. OneNote with Office lens features to capture whiteboard, business card and document data
    3. Medium resolution camera optimized for office lens scenarios
    4. Surface pen compatibility, including a dock where the spiral would be on a paper notebook
    5. Basic email (1 day sync only, to stay efficient) That's it. So long as your OneNote syncs to the cloud and therefore your other devices, that's all this needs. Sell it for $50-100 and you're done. Oh, and Microsoft: ADVERTISE THE F*CKING THING.
  • $50-$100???😂😂😂😂😂😂
  • Yup. There's nothing about this hardware that would need to be expensive. It could be the size and power of an Amazon Fire 7", which sells for $50. Even if you factor in the pen, throw a $100 price tag on it and it'd be an easy purchase for many to take a chance on. It doesn't need a ton of storage because text is fairly small. This wouldn't be a full blown tablet by any means, just a writing/data entry device. Cheap components could do this EASILY.
  • Man, in 2017 MS wouldn't sell a Lumia 270 for $50.. As a matter of fact, they wouldn't sell a Lumia at all. 😆😆😆
  • LOL. Maybe they should :)
  • With a ¼ baked Spotify app?😂😂😂😂
  • would be nice a device to compete with galaxy 🌌 note 🗒, for me 7'' would be a perfect fit
  • Yepers.. Need that device.
  • This would make perfect sense. Small tablets were popular in 2012/2013 before dying off as large phones took over. Microsoft being 5 years behind in a now dead/decided market would be classic.
  • I don't see a use case for this.  Either be able to use a pen on all touch-interface devices or just stick to sizes that actually make sense...like the SP.
  • the use-case is “sketching” versus hardcore content creation. like others who have commented i would love this kind of device. the Note is close but the form factor is too tall and narrow, and the pen is not quite robust enough. artists (like myself) like having unwieldy sketchbooks that they can grab and put to use quickly and conveniently, for multiple reasons. to do work “in the field” for example, or to quickly sketch out concepts in a moment of inspiration. if MS made a Note-like device with a Surface Pen and a form factor more along the lines of the original Xiaomi Mi Mix, i’d buy it in a heartbeat.
  • correction…didn’t mean to say “artists (like myself) like having unwieldy sketchbooks”…meant to say "artists (like myself) like having uncumbersome sketchbooks”
  • Not until it can make phone calls bro :) 
  • Agree. Needs telephony.
  • Yes because holding a loaf of bread sized "phone" is awesome.  Come on fanboys,  think about what you are saying.
  • I'm 6'11" with large hands and huge pockets,  bring it on 😀👍🏽 
  • The pen could double as the handset!
  • This would be so awesome! Would use it all the time!
  • You can buy a Galaxy Note today.
  • I still use a Surface 3 and think that it's still the best 2-in-1 tablet for the price.  At the time of its release it had a better display then the SP3, and though it only had an ATOM processor, it was still able to do most basic taptop type tasks.   I think the screen size of just under 11 inches is perfect for maximum mobility, and the pen and type cover were interchangeable with that of the SP3.  Why MSFT stopped making them after two years is still beyond me.  I thought the $400 price tag was a steal, and even at $500 with the type cover was pretty good.  In comparisons to the Mac Book Air, or Mac Book, it held up pretty well.  Not sure why MSFT went with a Surface Laptop instead of a new Surface miniture variant of the larger Surface Pro series.
  • My guess is when Intel abandoned their low cost Smartphone and Tablet chip lines that left nothing for MS to build off of. They could have moved to the Core m3 chips, but that would've greatly increased the cost and battery life would decrease. Windows on Arm could change this, and I really hope it does. A Snapdragon 835 is a lot cheaper than Core and I believe faster thean Atoms.  
  • Agree.. Tiny Surface 3 with phone, and messaging, is the way to go.
  • "Surface Note" lol.
    Joke asside, it could a fun concept.
  • "The time is right"ell I guess Apple will get there first then.  MS keep dropping the ball, they are either blind or incompetent.  Get rid of all top leadership and 'presenters'. 
  • 😄😄😄😄
  • Stalin tactics, I agree :P
  • I cant get excited after the Groove fiasco. Dumping MS in all facets. Will keep my X3 and Pro 4. For now. Sick of this roller coaster 🎢.
  • Looks like the x3 is being wound down: https://mspoweruser.com/hp-exec-admits-microsoft-borked-hp-elite-x3-plans/
  • You know what I don't believe regarding this info. I don't believe ms had no idea they were dropping w10m when working with hp about the x3. I'm willing to bet an hp exec is thinking the same and if they thought like me, wouldn't trust ms so much with anything. Bc they are an oem partner and that's their business, I'd make products but be hesitant to put my full weight behind ms. X3 Android edition
  • Dropping Groove has put a bad taste in my mouth. I love Groove, and it's great.. Petition time!
  • I definitely would use an Ultramoble Surface device.. I already use an extremely mobile Surface device that I love, and if there was a Surface that I could carry with me even more, and made phone calls, I'd be sold.... I'd be sold regardless of apps, or popularity. Like I said, I already love using my Surface 3, and if it fit in my pocket it would be even better.... That's what I want, end of story...............
  • Microsoft really don't have a clue!!!! Seems like they are pi**ing into the wind, and then wondering why they are wet.... Useless!!!!
  • Lol.
  • I'm not sure this would be very useful. Perhaps it would be, but just a larger phone with limited apps and no one caring because of the feeling of being able to type with their thumbs
  • Windows 10 is too heavy. It runs like crap on cheaper processors, and touch mode sucks. Windows 8 was perfect, it ran smooth on atom and touch was amazing. Where is Windows on ARM?
  • Whiteboard needs to be a business focused app like right now! Google is selling the Jamboard and suckering people into a half assed experience that's no where near as good.
  • Whiteboard's already here. It's on the Surface Hubs and when you do a little digging, you see it's actually just a single OneNote page. 
  • It is an expansion of the OneNote Classroom system which has been around a couple of years.
  • It sounds great and that's why Satja won't let this to happen
  • Gods effing yes, this is the device i want. I use my Surface 3 for inking in class with students through miracast to a projector and OneNote classroom (where realtime collaboration can occur), but it is just a bit too large, and when wifi is spotty it can be a pain (Educational infrastructure sucks, we still have vga connectors on projectors). Given me this with onecore and cshell which will allow me to jump to a 10S like environment on a connected dock and you can take my money... Add telephony features and make it fold and you have your "worth $1k device"
  • Just read an article about Microsoft getting out of hardware... https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/10/04/surface/
  • You just read rumors from competitors... not that they would have a vested interest.
  • Ahahah, Ink has been part of Windows since Windows XP Tablet; actually in that OS we had "Ink anywhere" which allowed users to really write anywhere, including, for example, handwriting an email an then be able to send it either with the text turned into block letters or hand written. You were able to hand write the email address of the receiver and the OS automatically changed it. Unfortunately Sinofsky did not appreciate the " intrusion" of the Window team in his kingdom and such abilities were subsequently removed in Vista. It took a long time for Ink to get back...
  • FOLKS I think the main unnamed reason THE Surface MINI was not sold is Because it ran Windows RT. The then New MS CEO. Satya Nadella knew Windows Rt devices were a Billion Dollar failure. People wanted to buy a Windows PC OS Tablets not a RT smart phone type OS that did not run win32 x86 Desktop PC programs. it was replaced by the Atom CPU Surface 3 Tablets which sold OK but was not as powerful as the i3, 15 and i7 CPU surface Pro Tablets.Things are different now with Windows 10 on ARM CPU's and "Contiuum" plus the advanceed inking sofware Microsoft has today. if Microsoft puts a Cell phone inside the same case of a Surface Mini they would have a new type of device no one sells today a Mini tablet cell phone hybrid I would buy one because I would have a mini PC and a Cell phone in "ONE" device. Enough of them would be bought for Microspft to make a profit selling. The trouble is Satya Nadella is an Enterprise & software devottee not a hardware device fan. Notice Windows 10 mbile OS sotware is still being done in the Windows insder program and some OEMs are still making Windows smart phones but not Microsoft,  that is what Satya nadella wants Microsoft to do. Let  Microsoft make the soft ware and Microsoft OEM partners make the harware. 
  • Actually people had the choice of the PRO version if they wanted win32 apps. The reason that RT failed were two fold. First and foremost being that the app store never developed. Second was the fact that it took quite a while for Microsoft to work out the bugs in the OS. Once the bugs were worked out it became an awesome device but by then not only had the app store not grown much, apps were starting to drop out. Apparently even Microsoft fans never quite could grasp what this device was meant for. It was Microsoft's equivilent to the iPad. Another device that didn't run desktop programs but was well supplied with apps from developers.
  • Too late for Microsoft. Their eco-system offers no advantage for this type of device. I can get Onenote on an iPad Pro now and inking is probably just as good if not better than any Windows tablet. Microsoft has farted around for far too long, I never thought I would ever consider using an IPad but I'm getting tired waiting on Microsoft to deliver a decent tablet experience with decent apps.
  • Same
  • ...and same.
  • I would welcome a device of this kind. I've been waiting and the closets right now is Surface 3 and Surface Pro 4, which I have. But they are too heavy and are not always on. I write, sketch, and take notes everyday with pen and paper or pencil and paper. Right now I use different note books for different projects..... Having it all in one place and accessible all the time is priceless. I'de by that even with MS broken ecosystem.
  • Here is what I want. I want a device(s) that suit my needs. Simple right? So what are my needs. I need a PC, Phone, and Tablet. That's what I find myself using. 70% of the time when I'm home I want a tablet. I need a PC about 30% of the time. I need a phone for when I'm away or to answer calls when I'm home. So give me what I want, but with a twist. Make my phone a PC in my pocket so I always have my PC with me in case I need it. When I'm home I want to put my phone on a charger and pick up my tablet interface. It's just a keyboard,touchscreen, battery that connects to the phone on the charger. The phone on the charger still does the heavy lifting but the interface gives me a bigger screen. When I need a PC I sit at my desk and use the lap dock or keyboard,mouse, screen that connects automatically to the phone on the charger. I just need one computer. Just one! And a few different screen sizes to deal with other than phone tasks. Is that too much to ask for???
  • I would be very interested even though I have a Note8. There have been huge improvements since the early Notes in the utility and accuracy of the S- pen The text input in some respects is superior to the Surface stylus. But the screen real estate is cramped and compromised by the"tall and thin" form factor. A small tablet with similarly advanced stylus capabilities would be great!
  • Give me the MS Courier form factor with today's W10, processor power, storage capacity and Ram and I will order immediately
  • Nice advert. In this business we have a lot of Surface devices, ranging from 5 Surface 2s to the MD using a Pro 5 (i5). I have the i7 Surface Pro 5 and, although everyone was given a stylus, I'm the single solitary person that uses it. Not one other person uses the pen. You'll see people going to a meeting, with a notepad and pen, leaving their Surface behind. It's been mentioned before, multiple times, but they still want to do what they've always done. I place notepad on the task bar yet, most of the time, people will reach for a pen and paper when taking a message from a phone call. They'll then either pass that message across on the paper or email the details. We're just not there yet.
  • I once thought pen-enabled tablet is a big market.  But indeed it is not. Although writing with a stylus is more natural, people still prefer typing or simply voice.  To write with a pen, one has to take out the stylus > write > put it back.  This is too inconvenient for modern people, tbh. Even for students, pen-enabled tablet is not as appealing as some may expect.  I am a teacher in a high school.  Our school requires every student to purchase a pen-enabled Windows tablet.  While I am happy to see most of them have bought a Surface Pro 4 this year, still only a small percentage of them have a habit of using the Surface Pen.   I asked them why - most thought they didn't feel good writing with a stylus, some complained that the 12.3" screen is not large enough for a satisfactory writing experience.  Some of them even have lost the stylus.  If they want to write, they still prefer writing on real papers. Maybe it is a matter of habits.  I don't know whether after 10 years people will have developed the habit of writing on tablet instead of papers?  Or people are just trying to avoid writing in the future?  I'm not sure.
  • With how large phones are is a mini tablet really a viable market to enter into? I know they had a mini Surface in the works, but I don't see a demand for a mini Surface.
  • Large phones are still too small for serious, precision, inking. I've tried with every iteration of the Note and it is just too small for anything other than pretty rough use. I would say 7" is the minimum for a serious inking device, and that is a big phone.
  • I have tried several devices for writing on screens for the last few years. There is always something lacking in the experience. I think a 7.5 to 8-inch Surface mini with a pen no worse than the one they offer now might meet the minimum standards I would like to see -- particularly now that OneNote is improving so much. I would buy one. Last year's 9.7 inch iPad Pro is a little large to carry around, but the apple pencil experience is pretty sweet. There should be an in-case pen pocket for this theoretical MS product, or at least an available cover or case with some kind of solid pen retainer. If they brought this out in a folding format with telephony included, that wouldn't drive me away. :D I get it that not everybody (and maybe even not most) will want to be able to sketch or take notes on a glass screen. I do. I think there are enough people like me to make such a device marketable, but the device needs to be more than just a artist/poet/engineer's notebook. A small powerful device whose features set outstrips the needs of any single group of like-minded individuals is warranted.  
  • They should release a device primarily aimed at note taking and low power consumption, ie. an e-ink based device. If they executed it well this could be released for companies to deploy to replace paper forms for customers while retaining the ability to show graphic content, thus enabling POS use also.
  • iam using cube mix plus 10.6 inch windows tablets , core m . This is my 3rd win tab and its perfect . less than this screen size makes a tablet a toy . Also this tab boots in about 5 seconds so its perfect for all type of usage and it cost me only 300$ while a surface is too expensive . Windows tabs are real computers and can easily beat android and ios if priced appropriately.
  • This is exactly the device I have been looking for recently.  I looked at all the options available today that would give me full Windows 10, Onenote inking and a real pen experience and I ended up buying a Surface 3 128gb model with LTE. Crazy that I thought that the best option was an out of production product. I cannot wait to get my hands on it next week   
  • I'd like to see this as a 6" device with cellular connectivity with phone and SMS/MMS capabilities but primarily, it would be a note-taking device with a great camera that enhances the notes we take.
  • More unicorn dreams.  
  • Put a sim card reader in it and I'd use it as a phone
  • Just bring back the Courier, that would be a killer device!
  • The Courier had some great ideas, but its UI is too radically different.  MS has learned that massive change leads to massive blowback (WPtiles vs. icons and W8 vs. W7).
  • Actually, I believe that a major reason for WP/W10M failure was that they shifted from the original WP7 UI to "more familiar" concepts, like ditching the hubs and relying solely on apps, ditching the pivot navigation for the hamburger menus, etc. I'm not saying those would have guaranteed WP's success, but after ditching so many uniqueness it wasn't worth it for users to switch, it was then just another OS that looks nice, but offers nothing unique. There was no incentive then for other OSs users to switch while they already have something that is not much different as a general experience and already with better and much more apps. I still love and consider Windows Phone 7, the original one from 2010, to be the best version (visually) of WP/WM. They should have just continued improving on it by adding features, but stick with that UX/UI! It could have still failed, but at least it would have offered a truly unique experience that could have allured more users.
  • Its exacly what i want.
    I work as a UI\UX and often waste tons of small paper notepads and paper just to sketch few lines when i'm thinking about solution for task in working on. I even posted opinion on MS reddit, that I would insta-buy cheap (200-300$) device with only OneNote on it. No browser, nothing. Just OneNote. I think you can ditch a lot of stuff from it, to make it even cheaper. While a lot people would not buy one-task device, it's price surely will make it viable to some degree
  • Wouldn’t this be the next logical step from a 950 or an HP X3 running Continuum? Apple brought out its iPad Mini running iOS and MSFT could blow Apple away with a Core Windows phablet. Bring it MSFT!
  • I have been waiting for this since people I started upgrading and tweaking my 386 to get more out of my system. Back then we used to dream of the possibilities, and how our current systems would eventually grow into something that we would control our Telephones TV and Computers, and it was going so well, then somewhere around Windows XP, there was a shift in focus, its like someone was sabotaging progress in favor of profiteering. Technology became less user controllable in favor of a push button mind set. Frankly I don't know what or who ruined to progress, but it was obvious to all of us who are old enough to remember the shift. It must have been a corporate level decision based on trying to compete or crush the competition, backfired I think. All I have to say to Microsoft is quit imitating ios and android, quit messing with a nerfed os on a nerfed device. Give us a powerful device platform and a fully functional version of windows, its time to rip the training wheels off of the consumer's mind and give them what they dont even know that they need. It has been driving me crazy watch failed attempt after attemp at MS trying to force itself into the competition's image and try to mimic their simple little nerfed devices with the mindset that people dont need full control over their devices and like being limited to only what's available in the the store sponsored by the OS. Give us the ability to use legacy software and the same stuff we already use on our desktops. I know there will be some work involved in adapting, but that is a whole lot less work than starting from scratch with a nerfed OS and then trying to convince people to switch and developers who are ios and android fanboys to come write apps for the competition. Windows 10 has been in development since Windows started, stick with your investment, everyone says if you want to succeed you have to think outside the box, MS has been trying to crawl into the box with the competition. Microsoft in the past created its own box with the competition unable to match them, why would they think its a good idea to try apply the same strategy and tactics that failed the competition? RT was a prime example, Windows Mobile was a better attempt but poorly marketed and undefended. But taking those lessons and moving forward MS has the tools neccessary to succeed. Give us a small fully capable x86 device, able to dock with touch-screen lapdocks, Monitors Keyboards and other Human Interface devices, maybe even a desktop case with built-in PCI-Express video cards that can augment the video power and maybe other things that a small devices lack. Don't just think outside the box... Create a whole new BOX!!!