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7-inch Surface tablet on the way? Microsoft hint at future slates

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microsoft-surface-tablet.jpgThey've done the whole 10-inch tablet thing with the Surface RT and the recently released Surface Pro, and it looks as though Microsoft are now ready to test the waters in the 7-inch slate market.

Speaking at a Q&A session during the Goldman Sachs Technology & Internet Conference, Microsoft CFO Peter Klein revealed that, with the software side of their tablet ecosystem now shipped and stable, they're ready to meet whatever hardware demands consumers make:

"We've done a lot of the hard work in the developer platform. We are well set up to respond to demand as we see it."

With the Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets sitting at the top end of the tablet market in terms of pricing, Microsoft are missing out on the blossoming market developing around the cheaper 7-inch slates, a market currently dominated by Amazon with the Kindle Fire line and Google with the Nexus 7. Profit margins here may be tighter, but strong sales in this competitive area suggests that, despite Steve Jobs' defence of the original iPad's size, perhaps the 7-inch size really is the sweetspot for tablet technology in consumers' eyes.

For now however, Microsoft's focus rests with the Surface Pro. A 10.6-inch device with full HD display, it's running Windows 8 Pro off a dual-core 1.7GHz Intel Core i5, backed by 4GB of RAM. Arguably the first true tablet/laptop hybrid, it should be up to many of the tasks you take for granted on both a laptop and tablet.

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