Microsoft Plans Low-Cost Tablet Line to Rival iPad


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By as early as the second half of 2018, Microsoft Corporation has plans to release a line of low-cost Surface tablets. The goal of this new line is to provide a cheaper device than Apple Inc.’s iPad. This is no new effort by Microsoft. In 2012, the software company launched its consumer-oriented hardware promotion, with the introduction of the original Surface RT. At the time, the starting price for the device was $499. After receiving sub-par reviews by both consumers and product reviewers, Microsoft moved on to the much pricier Surface Pro.

This line of tablets was well received and most likely contributed to the demand of Apple’s “Pro” iPad, which launched in 2015.

The new tablets will be equipped with 10-inch screens, which is smaller than the standard 12-inch screen of the Surface Pro laptop line, but about equal to the standard iPad. The new Surface tablet will have a price point of around $400 and will feature round edges like the iPad. USB-C connectivity will be used, which is a first for the Surface line tablets, along with a new charging and syncing standard that is used by latest smartphones.

The tablets are anticipated to be almost twenty percent lighter than the higher end models but will have around four hours left of battery life. The current Surface Pro model has around thirteen and a half hours of battery for one single charge. It has been speculated that Intel Corporation will provide the main processor and graphic cards for the new tablets, although representatives at both companies have declined to comment or confirm.
               
Apple has sold almost 44 million iPads which has generated almost $20 billion in revenue just these past 4 quarters. The entire Surface hardware business for Microsoft has generated $4.4 billion in the same period. Market research shows that Microsoft has sold almost 725,000 tablets in the first quarter of 2018, which is an increase of 1.8 percent in comparison to early last year. Apple has sold 9.1 million iPads in the same period. Microsoft has plans to release multiple Surface models, include a 64 and 128 gigabyte version that connects to LTE networks and running Windows 10 Pro.
               
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