Microsoft Plans Low-Cost Tablet Line to Rival iPad

Microsoft working on smaller cheaper Surface tablets to rival Apple's iPad

Microsoft Corp. is planning to release a line of lower-cost Surface tablets as soon as the second half of 2018, seeking a hit in a market for cheaper devices that Apple Inc. dominates with the iPad, according to people familiar with the matter.

The new tablets will feature 10-inch screens - around the same size as a standard iPad, but smaller than the 12-inch screens used on the Surface Pro laptop line. They'll be priced around $400, according to sources. 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? Last year Apple sold nearly $20 billion in iPads, whereas Microsoft's professional Surface line sold just $4.4 billion.

The new Surface tablets will debut in 2H18.

Regardless, many have been hoping Microsoft would release a new non-pro Surface at some point, as this line of Surface devices are far more affordable and approachable to the masses. The new cheaper Surfaces could likewise appeal to students and teachers, and to schools that buy less-expensive devices in bulk. Microsoft is also planning to sell Wi-Fi only models along with Wi-Fi and LTE variants.

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Apple launched a new version of the $329 iPad in March, with a faster processor and Apple Pencil stylus support.

The only tablets that have got a good response from the customers were Apple's iPads. Interestingly, the tablet will be priced around $400.

Intel will be reportedly supplying processors and graphics cards for the rumoured Surface Tablet, and we wouldn't see Windows 10 on ARM in this device. It will be powered by Windows 10 Pro probably with an S mode which locks you to Microsoft Store apps. Bloomberg's report claims a new 10-inch Surface will be powered by Intel instead. Like the Surface Pro, these models won't be bundled with the company's keyboard cover. Microsoft officials have maintained the raison-d'etre for Surface is to establish new, untapped computing categories, not simply to make hardware for the sake of making hardware.

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