Microsoft Says to Plan a Low-Cost Surface Tablet Line to the Rival Apple’s iPad: Microsoft Corporation is planning to release a line of lower-cost surface tablets as soon as the second half of the year 2018, seeking a hit in a market for cheaper devices that Apple Inc. dominates with the iPad, according to people familiar with the matter.
Microsoft Says to Plan a Low-Cost Surface Tablet Line to the Rival Apple’s iPad
Microsoft has tried this before. The software giant kicked off its consumer-orienting hardware push in the year 2012 with the launch of the original Surface RT. At the time, it is priced starting at $499.
After the tablets didn’t resonate with consumers and product reviewers, Microsoft pivoted to the more-expensive Surface Pro, a line which has gained steam and likely contributed to demand a pro-oriented iPad, which Apple launched in 2015.
The new tablets will feature 10-inch screens around the same size as a standard iPad, but smaller than the 12-inch screens used on the Surface Pro laptop line.
The new Surfaces, priced about $400, will have rounded edges like an iPad, differing from the squared off corners of current models.
They will also include USB-C connectivity, a first for Surface tablets, a new charging and syncing standard uses by some of the latest smartphones.
The tablets are expecting to about 20 percent lighter than the high-end models but will have around four hours fewer of battery life.
The current surface pro is last 13.5 hours in a single charge, according to Microsoft. Intel Corp. will supply the central processor and graphics chips for the devices, said the people, who asked not to identify because the plans are not Public.
The spokesman for Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, declined to comment.
Microsoft has conquered to find a high-volume hit with the Surface devices as well as to introduce a flow of new choices to keeping growth in form.
In the fiscal year that ends last June. Surface revenue declined 2 percent as the company facing low volume sales owing to an aging Surface Pro line.
Revenue rose 32 percent in the most recent quarter, indicating new interest in Microsoft’s hardware.
Apple sold about 44 million iPads that generated almost $20 billion in revenue during the past four quarters.
Microsoft’s entire Surface hardware business produced $4.4 billion for the same period.
According to market researcher IDC, Microsoft sold almost 725,000 tablets in the first quarter of 2018, up 1.8 percent from a year earlier. That compares with 9.1 million iPads sold in the same period.
On March, Apple has launched a new iPad model for $329 geared toward education users. The new cheaper Surfaces could likewise appeal to students and teachers, and to schools that buy less-expensive devices in bulk.
The professional orienting Surface Pro lineup starts at $799.
Microsoft, which has not finalized its plans, is expecting to price the cheapest versions of the new device at about $400.
Like the surface pro, these models will not bundle with company’s Keyboard cover.
With the lower-cost device, Microsoft is preparing less-expensive versions of its keyboard cover, stylus, and mouse, the people say.
The current keyboard cover costs an extra $160, the new keyboard will price a lower, they say.
The company is planning multiple models such as versions with 64 gigabytes and 128 gigabytes of storage and models that are connecting to LTE cellular networks, according to an individual.
It will continue to has the kickstand for the upright typing and watching a video. Like Microsoft’s other devices, it will run Windows of 10 Pro.
Since the year 2015, Apple has rapidly added new productivity tools to the iPads, taking on Microsoft features like integration with digital drawing pens and also uses multiple apps in same time.
The company is plan on released a revamped iPad Pro this year with the iPhone X features such as facial recognition, Bloomberg News reporting last year.
Microsoft last released a device in a lower-cost category in the year 2015 with the Surface 3, which is starting at $499 and featured a 10.8-inch screen. The company stops making it at the end of 2016.
The new line will be part of a growing ecosystem of Microsoft hardware products that, beyond the tablets, includes the Surface Laptop, Surface Book laptop with a detachable screen, and the Surface Studio desktop computer.
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