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Microsoft finally confirms the Surface Mini tablet existed

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But we may never see it

Microsoft's Panos Panay is pumped about a lot of things, but the one gadget that got him out of bed in the middle of the night is the much-rumored, now-confirmed, Surface Mini tablet. In an interview with Wired out today, the company's corporate vice president in charge of devices said he used to keep an unreleased version of the 7-inch tablet near his bed so he could jot down notes and draft emails during sudden surges of inspiration.

"It was like a Moleskine," Panay says of a point two years ago when Microsoft began working on what would become the Surface Book laptop. "It was awesome." The use of past tense here suggests two things: Panay no longer uses the Surface Mini, and the product is not likely a future consideration.

"It was like a Moleskine."

Microsoft never confirmed the device's existence. But many reports insisted CEO Satya Nadella and former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop canceled the launch, which was to coincide with the Surface Pro 3 in May 2014, at the last minute. The Mini had been kicking around Microsoft for years at that point, once possibly as an Xbox-branded gaming tablet. A month later, a Surface Pro 3 user manual let slip the Mini's existence with the product name appearing numerous times in peripheral descriptions. Microsoft went even further in an earnings report last year, saying at the time that it decided "to not ship a new form factor" in the Surface department. Yet Panay's comments mark the first time a Microsoft exec has acknowledged the Surface Mini name.

Update at 1:50 p.m., Monday, October 26: Added that Microsoft confirmed its decision not to ship a Surface device in a "new form factor" in its fourth-quarter earnings last year.

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