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

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

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

Microsoft Corp. reportedly plans to bolster its Surface device family with a new line of low-priced tablets in a bid to challenge the market dominance of Apple Inc.'s iPad.

It's a strategy that Microsoft has tried before, Bloomberg points out.

The ARM-based Surface RT tablet was a major failure amid Microsoft's entry into the device market.

"Apple's 10.5" iPad Pro with 64GB now sells at $649 with a Smart Keyboard cover and Microsoft will reportedly introduce a 10" Surface tablet at $400 for 64GB without a keyboard cover and likely $549 with it. Microsoft is planning price them around $400 and will be available in later half of 2018.

The devices will also be lighter than high-end models and will be equipped for up to four hours of battery life, while the Surface Pro lasts for 13.5 hours on a single charge.

Just like their big brother, the cheaper Surface tablet will feature Intel processors and graphics and run the full version of Windows 10 Pro.

Microsoft chose to remain silent to this report neither confirmed nor rejected any news regarding the existence of such device.

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. Revenue rose 32 percent in the most recent quarter, indicating new interest in Microsoft's hardware. These days, the tablet herd has thinned a bit, and Microsoft has established itself as a maker of premium first-party hardware. That compares with 9.1 million iPads sold in the same period.

It's possible the Surface line has built up enough goodwill that Microsoft is confident PC buyers won't put the brand in detention for trying to appeal to students. The Surface Pro line has prices from United States dollars 799. And this being Microsoft, there are expected to be multiple SKUs. It will be accompanied by more affordable versions of Microsoft's keyboard cover, mouse, and Surface Pen. It will continue to have the kickstand for upright typing and watching video. The idea is to hit a market dominated so far by Apple and its iPads, the sources added. Being that Qualcomm is behind this initiative, I'm sure that Apple is already working on a next-gen iPad Pro that will maintain their market lead. In 2012, the original Surface RT retailed for $499 but failed to resonate with customers. It's also possible the company might change its mind at the last moment, like it did with the aborted Surface Mini debut in 2014, and this whole rumor ends up being meaningless.

The new Surface tablets will debut in 2H18.

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