Microsoft Making Cheaper Surface Tablet To Compete With Apple's iPad
Microsoft Making Cheaper Surface Tablet To Compete With Apple's iPad
Bloomberg: Microsoft plans lower-cost Surface tablets to battle Apple
17 May, 2018, 01:57
The vendor ended up booking a US$900 million "inventory adjustment" for Surface RT, which ran an pared-back version of the Windows 8 operating system.
The first 10-inch member of the classroom-friendly family could be unveiled "as soon as the second half of 2018", according to rock-solid sources on the inside, fetching around $400 with iPad-like rounded edges and a USB Type-C port that's still notably absent from the Surface Pro. They will run on Intel processors and graphics chips.
The $400 tablet will shrink the Surface's screen size from 12.3-inches down to 10-inches, Bloomberg says.
Bloomberg's sources didn't share specifications such as how much processing power the new tablets will pack.
Although Microsoft has yet to have a blowout success with the Surface, interest in the devices has sparked in recent months, with Surface revenue growing 32% in the most recent quarter. When sales failed to take off, the company went for the more-expensive Surface Pro, a line which has proved popular.
Microsoft declined to comment on the rumors of a cheaper Surface model, Bloomberg said. 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. According to the sources, Microsoft is planning to target the sub $500 market which is now dominated by Apple iPads. In comparison, Microsoft sold about 725,000 tablets in the same period.
The biggest question about these new Surface devices is why. But the compact design and modest price tag indicate that the line is designed for less demanding applications than the Surface Pro, which is favored by enterprise users. Later, hardware chief Panos Panay confirmed that Microsoft killed the Surface Mini-at the last second, by many accounts.
Microsoft is planning to add devices with LTE connectivity, which had been lacking on the Surface Pro until this past year's model. These were more fully fledged PCs in a tablet format, and while there is a market for those devices, the market is much smaller than those who are just looking for something to watch a video or casually browse the internet on.
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's unclear if Windows 10's "S Mode" will be enabled by default with the tablet, though this makes sense given it's reportedly being positioned as a budget device. The company stopped making it at the end of 2016.
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