Microsoft is planning to release affordable Surface tablets with Windows 10

Ceria Alfonso
May 16, 2018

Bloomberg reports that Microsoft is looking to compete in this price range with some new Surface tablets that hit $400 price points. The move is aimed at taking market share from Apple's iPad, which dominates the lower-cost tablet market.

The new Surface tablets would cost about $400 and feature 10-in. screens, rounded edges, USB-C connectivity (a first for Surfaces), and weight about 20% less than the Pro models. Why is Microsoft trying again, after its failure and subsequent $900 million write-down with Surface RT devices, to attack the low-end PC/tablet market? Microsoft's Surface Pro lineup, on the other hand, was well received but those devices were expensive and more of a laptop replacement device than a standalone tablet. Last year Apple sold nearly $20 billion in iPads, whereas Microsoft's professional Surface line sold just $4.4 billion.

Despite the recent launch of Always Connected PCs using the Qualcomm 835 SoC and Windows 10 on ARM, these new Surface tablets will reportedly stick with Intel processors, with optional LTE connectivity.

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The biggest question about these new Surface devices is why. To go along with the lower-cost device, Microsoft is preparing less-expensive versions of its keyboard cover, stylus and mouse, the people said. It will continue to have the kickstand for upright typing and watching video. Microsoft is said to be planning 64GB and 128GB models, and all configurations will run Windows 10 Pro.

The only tablets that have got a good response from the customers were Apple's iPads.

Microsoft last released a device in the lower-cost category in 2015 with the Surface 3, which started at $499 and featured a 10.8-inch screen. The company is planning on releasing a revamped iPad Pro this year with iPhone X features such as facial recognition, Bloomberg News reported last year.

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