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Surface Mini tablet coming soon?


Consumers in the market for a new tablet device might find a host of new Surface models on store shelves soon.

Microsoft Corp. is said to be preparing to introduce several new versions of its Surface tablet, including one that is smaller than device’s current 10.6-inch format. The new product will likely be marketed as a rival to Apple’s iPad Mini.

A report from the online business publication Bloomberg.com said Microsoft is tapping Qualcomm Inc. to provide the processors for the new line. If so, this could mark the end to Nvidia Corp.’s run as the supplier of processors for the Surface. Currently, Surface and Surface Pro models use Nvidia ARM-based processors and Intel Corp. processors respectively.

The new device will be introduced in an event in New York on May 20, according to the report. Microsoft will also release other Surface models, including ones that will be powered by Intel chips.

Microsoft’s other tablet device, the Windows RT-based tablet and the Lumia 2520 built by Nokia, which was acquired by Microsoft, both use Qualcomm chips. The Qualcomm chip in the Lumia 2520 provides 4G/LTE capability.

Most top-selling smartphones use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors and models. However, Qualcomm has not been so successful in getting its chips on tablet devices. It has had to compete with cheaper processors from Chinese manufacturers.