Surface Mini could launch on May 20

We may be just a couple of weeks away from the release of Microsoft's smallest—and most affordable—Surface tablet yet. As The Verge reports, Microsoft has sent out invitations for a Surface event on May 20. The invites read, "Join us for a small gathering."

If that's not a strong hint, I don't know what is.

A May 20 launch would fit with all the evidence to date. In a ZDNet story posted last September, famed Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley said her sources pointed to a spring 2014 launch for the Surface Mini. Word back then was that Microsoft had pushed the launch into 2014 so that the new Surface device would come pre-loaded with "a Windows 8.1 update." The Windows 8.1 Update, of course, wound up arriving a month ago—and bringing support for devices with 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage capacity.

Also, last month, Amazon put up listings for aftermarket cases and covers apparently aimed at the Surface Mini. The listings quoted an "in stock" date of May 18, just two days ahead of the Microsoft event.

An older CNet News story quoted by The Verge suggests the Surface Mini could run Windows RT and feature a 4:3 screen with a 1400x1050 display resolution. 3G and 4G connectivity could be on the menu, as well. If those specs are accurate, then perhaps Microsoft aims to position the Surface Mini against Apple's iPad Mini.

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