Microsoft Plans Low-Cost Tablet Line to Rival iPad

Surface Pro

Surface Pro

Microsoft's non-pro line of Surface tablets hasn't been updated with newer models since 2014, when the Surface 3 launched with an Intel ATOM processor and Windows 8.1.

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. According to the report, the new Surfaces should start at around $400 without accessories like a keyboard, which is $99 cheaper than the 2015 Surface 3.

Back in 2012, Microsoft did offer a lower-cost tablet called the Surface RT, but it didn't hit with consumers. Microsoft's Surface hardware business had sales of $4.4B in the same period.

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Microsoft's Surface Pro (its most recent, fifth-generation device) with an Intel Core m3, 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB SSD, now sells for $799. Like the Surface 3, the new 10-inch device won't come bundled with any accessories, with said accessories being priced lower than the current offerings. The current Surface Pro can last 13.5 hours on a single charge, according to Microsoft.

Apple launched a new version of the $329 iPad in March, with a faster processor and Apple Pencil stylus support. It appears that the Microsoft's Surface-branded tablet will compete with this model. Interestingly, the tablet will be priced around $400.

Since 2015, Apple has rapidly added new productivity tools to the iPads, taking on Microsoft features like integration with digital drawing pens and using multiple apps at the same time. It will have a 10-inch display, and it won't resemble the look of the traditional Surface devices. Microsoft is also planning to sell Wi-Fi only models along with Wi-Fi and LTE variants. Like Microsoft's other devices, it will run Windows 10 Pro. 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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