Sales of Microsoft's Surface tablets - both Windows RT and 8 - have been considerably less-than-stellar. Nevertheless, Redmond is said to be designing a new lineup of devices, including a 7-inch tablet which could kick off mass production in late 2013.
As the Wall Street Journal notes, Microsoft's tablet ambitions, combined with planned price breaks for Windows 8, paints a clear picture of a company attempting to counter threats from iOS and Android to its $75 billion software empire.
Indeed, although Redmond wasn't originally interested in 7-inch tablets, the corporation realized that a response to Android devices and Apple's iPad Mini was a necessity.
And according to IDC, half of the tablet computers shipped in the fourth quarter of 2013 were smaller than 8 inches.
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft execs have publicly acknowledged that consumers are interested in seeing less expensive Windows (whether or RT or 8) touch-screen devices, as even higher-end Android tablets are available at a price point well below $300.
It should be noted that rumors of a 8-inch Surface tablet first tipped up when Microsoft lowered the minimum resolutions for Windows 8 devices from 1,366x768 to 1,024x768 at a depth of 32 bits.