The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that Microsoft is currently developing a new line of Surface tablets, including a 7-inch version which should go into mass production later this year. According to "people familiar with the company's plans", a 7-incher wasn't originally part of Microsoft's scheming, but the rise of the Nexus 7 and iPad Mini have apparently spurred the company into action.
Sadly, that's where details end. It's not unlikely that the rumour's true: since the launch of the original Surface, the hardware has struggled, mainly due to its high cost. A smaller, cheaper alternative could help Ballmer and co push its tablet range into more broad acceptance.
One point worth considering: if the rumour is true, it shows that Microsoft is certainly keen on pursing — with some vigour! — its new foray into hardware. It just remains to be seen how successful it will be — if, of course, that rumour's true in the first place. [WSJ]