Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Sci-tech | By Javier West

Microsoft may release a lower-cost Surface tablet this year

Microsoft may release a lower-cost Surface tablet this year

Selling a cheap Surface is a risky game however, as it's probably unwise for Microsoft to try and undercut its partners when it comes to Windows hardware.

The ARM-based Surface RT tablet was a major failure amid Microsoft's entry into the device market. At the time, it was priced starting at $499.

It's possible that Microsoft may target the new Surface tablets toward the education market as an alternative to a recent move by Apple, which in March released a new iPad aimed at students and educators, for $329.

One of my contacts said that Microsoft is planning to announce at least one new low-end Surface device in July 2018.

They're also reported to be about 20 percent lighter than current Surface Pro models but will sport about four hours less battery life. Intel is slated to provide the main processor and graphics for these devices that are said to be running Windows 10 Pro.

Microsoft chose to remain silent to this report neither confirmed nor rejected any news regarding the existence of such device. The new models represent the latest of several attempts by Microsoft to bring a more affordable tablet to market.

Instead, it began to focus on the Surface Pro, a higher end, more expensive version of its tablets.

Apple has managed to generate nearly four times the revenue through iPad sales versus the Surface lineup. iPad sales generated $20 billion in revenue in the past four business quarters, while Microsoft managed to generate $4.4 billion in the same period. Microsoft's entire Surface hardware business produced $4.4 billion for the same period. The idea is to hit a market dominated so far by Apple and its iPads, the sources added.

A revamped version would mark the first time the iPad's appearance has been redesigned since the first iPad Pro debuted in 2015.

Microsoft's always taken a premium approach to its Surface line, showing users what its operating system can do when run on top of the line hardware.

For now, those who wish to receive more information when it's available can sign up at the Microsoft Surface Hub 2 product page.

There will also be less-expensive version of the company's keyboard cover, stylus and mouse.

The lower-cost Surface devices will come in different storage configurations, including 64- and 128-gigabyte models, with some variants sporting LTE connectivity. And this being Microsoft, there are expected to be multiple SKUs.

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