Why Microsoft might be looking to make cheap Surface tablets again

The Microsoft Surface Pro

Though this may sound familiar, Microsoft is reportedly planning a line of lower-cost Surface tablets to challenge Apple's least expensive iPads later this year. The new Surfaces, priced about $400, will have rounded edges like an iPad, differing from the squared off corners of current models.

The Surface tablet will feature a 10-inch screen, which is similar to Apple's iPad and smaller than Microsoft's Surface Pro laptop range.

On a positive note, the changes are said to enable the Surface to drop in both weight and pricing. The tablets will run Windows 10 Pro and multiple models are planned, including 64GB, 128GB and models featuring LTE connectivity. The Surface Pro now sells for A$1199 (US$799).

That, of course, was the whole strategy behind the original Microsoft Surface that launched with Windows 8 in 2012. The devices reportedly won't ship with a keyboard cover - one of the Surface's biggest selling points - though they'll all sport a kickstand and feature a USB C port for charging.




Rather than simply giving us a downgraded version of the Pro, the new cheaper Surface tablet is being redesigned from the ground up.

The plan would mark Microsoft's first attempt to attack the lower end of the market following its failed attempt in 2013 with the Surface RT. In comparison, Microsoft sold about 725,000 tablets in the same period. To go along with the lower-cost device, Microsoft is preparing less-expensive versions of its keyboard cover, stylus and mouse, the people said.

At Apple's Spring 2018 event in Chicago the company announced a new 9.7-inch iPad dubbed its "most affordable" model yet. However, if executed correctly, Microsoft might be able to hit a sweet spot with the upcoming Surface Tablets and might as well give Apple a run for its money. 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.

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