In the heady days of 2014, Microsoft had a dream of launching a smaller version of its nascent Surface tablets. The Surface Mini was a passion project of division chief Panos Panay, but it was axed by CEO Satya Nadella and EVP Stephen Elop shortly before its debut. Aside from a few leaked promo images, pictures of the Surface Mini in the real world have remained elusive, at least, until now.
A number of leaked photos of the abortive device are making the rounds online, courtesy of Windows Central. The images offer a detailed look at the tablet, ports and all. It appears as if the Surface Mini was designed to ape the Surface Pro 3, albeit with the home button in portrait orientation. The device would have shipped with a kickstand similar to the Surface 3 (which hit shelves in 2015) and has angled edges, giving it a chunky bezel.
The ports that can be seen in the images include a microSD card slot for extra storage, headphone jack, Micro-USB port for charging, and USB-OTG. The Surface Mini was rumored to run on the limited Windows RT operating system (also found in the Surface 2, and later killed by Microsoft in 2015).
Confirming the Surface Mini in 2014, Panay claimed the device (which was rumored to support the same pen as the larger Surface Pro 3) was ideal for note-taking. The images attest to that, even showing a pen loop at the rear of the kickstand. The 8-inch tablet also included a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor with 1GB RAM, an Adreno 330, and a screen resolution of 1440 x 1080.
Microsoft reportedly shelved the Mini as it didn't offer enough variation on the smaller devices that were available at the time (in hindsight, the consistent decline in tablet sales that followed proved the company right). The smaller Surface may not be resurrected any time soon, but at least we can finally gawk at the little tablet that never was.