If recently revealed details about Microsoft's aborted Surface Mini are any indicator, Windows RT is likely headed the way of the dodo. Yesterday Brad Sams at Neowin wrote about his unfettered encounter with the Surface Mini. It's not clear how he came to get hold of the machine, which Microsoft apparently killed in May, immediately before its scheduled release. His source's only restriction: "I was told that I could not post any photos of the device, for now."
Sams' glowing review basically confirms everything we expected back in May -- a sub-8-inch screen running Windows RT on a pokey Qualcom processor -- except Sams also mentions OneNote integration and a "fantastic case" with a clip for the included Surface Pro 3-style stylus.
Why did Microsoft kill the Surface Mini? It was lined up and ready to go, with stock on hand and a spot on the Surface Pro 3 roadshow. Nobody knows about the cost, but it's likely that Microsoft was going to price it at a point slightly (or greatly) above the competition, as it has with all Surface machines. If Sams' glowing review is any indication, it would have been met with adoration by Microsoft loyalists, and at least toleration in the market at large.
Hard to say if Microsoft could've sold any of them, but that has not always been a prime concern when it comes to the "devices" part of the old "devices and services" strategy.
As best I can tell, Microsoft killed the Surface Mini because it didn't want to put (and support) another Windows RT machine out in the ecosystem.
That looks like a good call. Even though Microsoft dropped the price of its Surface 2 back in August, the machines are still readily available in the Microsoft Store and marked down from $449 to $349 -- for a limited time only, of course.
With many dozens of machines listed in the Microsoft Store, only two run Windows RT: the stalwart Surface 2 and the Nokia 2520, heavily discounted, both of which could be considered long in the tooth.
While Microsoft and the rest of the world have moved on to vastly improved architectures, the only surviving Windows RT tablets seem stuck in the last century.
It looks to me like Windows RT is headed the way of the dodo -- and not a minute too soon. Time to ring out the old Windows RT and the old Windows Phone, and ring in the new ... just plain Windows?