Microsoft Surface Mini seems likely to ship soon

Microsoft may be prepping to ship a mini version of its Surface tablets within a month, based on an listing for a case custom made for the device.

The accessory is available May 18, according to the page listing the item, which may be an indicator of when the device itself will be available.

+ Also on Network World: New Kindle takes on Microsoft Surface 2 in workplace | Quick Look: Microsoft's Surface family and accessories +

Based on the product description, the mini-tablet will have a headphone jack, camera, charging port and unspecified side buttons, which likely include a volume toggle and an on/off switch. The cover description doesn't list its dimensions. It is referred to as a smart cover case, but the description doesn't say what makes it smart.

The $9.99 device is made by China-based Vostrostone, which makes a variety of electronics accessories. Aki Antman (@akipekka) tweeted about the cover.

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 and follow him on Twitter@Tim_Greene.

Read more about anti-malware in Network World's Anti-malware section.

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