Windows Blue might be too far away for 7in tablets

I'm concerned that Microsoft will find themselves behind in the tablet stakes again due to the fact that there are currently no 7 inch Windows tablets. As far as I know, this will be rectified with Blue next year, but in the meantime, consumers will be moving to Android and iOS

I came home for the holidays yesterday, and my mum showed an interest in my Windows 8 tablet. She and I spent an hour or so on the couch, introducing her to the new interface and some of the apps. She said she wanted something similar to read emails and do a bit of light browsing, but would prefer something smaller to fit in her handbag. She also mentioned opening documents in emails, which suggests she'd need an Office suite.

Judging by her needs, a Windows RT 7 inch tablet would be perfect. However, I can't recommend one because there are none available. I could suggest a compromise, like the Nexus 7 or iPad mini; both decent tablets in themselves, and good value. The lack of Office is a sticking point - I suppose she could use the web apps, which are free. Either that or pay for an Office subscription on iOS when Office arrives for the iPad next year.

So, I could tell her "the tablet you want is months away" or I could suggest a product from another ecosystem, which would be a compromise. I suspect Microsoft is missing out on a large market here, whilst others capitalize on the 7 inch form factor. By the time they catch up, customers have invested in other ecosystems.