Microsoft is reportedly preparing a new line of Surface tablets, the first of which will be a 7-inch device slated to launch at the end of 2013.
Citing “people familiar with Microsoft’s plans”, the Wall Street Journal reports that the 7-inch Surface will go into production later this year and claims that Microsoft is also continuing to test an own-brand smartphone.
The source adds that smaller tablets were not originally on Microsoft's tablet roadmap, a sign perhaps that the Redmond giant has noticed increasing demand for 7-inch tablets like the iPad mini.
Rumors over new Surface tablets abound for some time now.
There have been reports that Microsoft is working on as many as three new tablets (with sizes ranging from 8.6-inches to 14.6-inches) and a 7-inch gaming tablet, while CFO Peter Klein has previously hinted at more models by saying that the firm is working with OEMs to introduce a “greater variety of devices at a bigger variety of price points”.
The company also recently relaxed its hardware certification on Windows 8 for 1024 x 768 resolution displays, a move which at the time was seen as a potential enabler for new 7-inch and 8-inch tablets.