Microsoft's recent Surface event birthed new Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablets, but its long rumoured 8-inch Surface was nowhere to be seen.

That's because it's still in the works, according to CNET, which points to analysts from IHS iSuppli and NPD DisplaySearch that reckon a Surface with an unconventional 7.5-inch display could land next year.

Surface tablets to date have all featured a 10.5-inch display, and Microsoft could be cooking up a smaller version to compete with similar sized devices such as Apple's iPad Mini, Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 and Google's new Nexus 7.

RT gamble

Interestingly, one of CNET's sources claims that the Surface 'Mini' will feature Windows RT, the cut-down version of Windows 8.

That would make it the only 8-inch device on the market to run RT. It would also be just one of three devices in the world still on sale that run the beleaguered operating system (the other two being Microsoft's Surface RT and Surface 2 tablets) after Dell recently removed the XPS 10 tablet from its online store.

Acer and Toshiba have both outed 8-inch Windows 8 devices (in the form of the Iconia W3 and Encore respectively), but both run the full-fat version of Windows 8, rather than RT.