Friday, 19 October, 2018

Microsoft to launch smaller, low-priced Surface devices

Bloomberg: Microsoft plans lower-cost Surface tablets to battle Apple Microsoft plans to take on iPad with low-cost Surface tablets
Cecil Davis | 17 May, 2018, 04:18

Citing "people familiar with the matter", Bloomberg said some features of the new Surface tablets will more closely emulate Apple's iPad. But that light weight also means less battery life - about four hours less, to be precise.

The news follows release of the original Surface RT (US$499) in 2012, which largely failed to resonate with consumers. Previous attempts at Surface tablets didn't go anywhere near as well as its higher-end push with the Surface Pro range, which has proved competitive with the wide array of alternative, convertible laptops out there. Microsoft is also said to be adopting USB-C for the first time, similar to Apple's use of the Lightning connector for iPads.

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.

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

Microsoft shares are down 0.3% to $97.04. 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. It will be interesting to see whether Microsoft launch such device or not. Last year Apple sold nearly $20 billion in iPads, whereas Microsoft's professional Surface line sold just $4.4 billion. Microsoft is planning multiple models, including versions with 64 and 128 GB and models that can connect to LTE networks. 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. 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. Microsoft just needs to get it right this time. When Redmond first introduced Surface it offered two options - a lower-cost tablet with an ARM (Surface RT, Surface 2) or Intel Atom processor (Surface 3), and a high-end device outfitted with an Intel Core CPU.