Microsoft plans lower-cost Surface tablets to battle Apple

Bloomberg: Microsoft plans lower-cost Surface tablets to battle Apple

Microsoft plans to take on iPad with low-cost Surface tablets

Microsoft is reportedly planning to release a line of cheaper Surface tablets that will allow it to compete more effectively with Apple's iPads. The move is aimed at taking market share from Apple's iPad, which dominates the lower-cost tablet market.

According to a report from Bloomberg, the new 10-inch Surface tablets will feature rounded corners similar those found on Apple's iPads, and they'll also be the second Surface devices to come with a USB-C port following the Surface Book 2 previous year. The new Surfaces, priced about $400, will have rounded edges like an iPad, differing from the squared off corners of current models.

Back in 2012, Microsoft did offer a lower-cost tablet called the Surface RT, but it didn't hit with consumers. 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.

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. Needless to say, it will be a good addition to the large portfolio of Surface devices and it would be the most affordable Surface-branded device with Windows 10. I've heard conflicting things as to whether Microsoft plans to brand these as Surface Pro devices or use another new Surface brand. The new cheaper Surfaces could likewise appeal to students and teachers, and to schools that buy less-expensive devices in bulk.

In March, Apple launched a new iPad model for $329 geared toward education users. Interestingly, the tablet will be priced around $400. The current keyboard cover costs an extra $160, while the new keyboard will be priced a bit lower, they said.

The only tablets that have got a good response from the customers were Apple's iPads. Bloomberg's report claims a new 10-inch Surface will be powered by Intel instead.

With 10-inch screens, the devices would be more diminutive in size than the 12-inch Surface Pro, as well as being 20 percent lighter.

The company is planning multiple models, including versions with 64 gigabytes and 128 gigabytes of storage and models that can connect to LTE cellular networks, according to the people. It will be powered by Windows 10 Pro probably with an S mode which locks you to Microsoft Store apps. 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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