Microsoft plans to take on iPad with low-cost Surface tablets
17 May, 2018, 00:31
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. 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.
The entry-level Surface devices won't come bundled with a keyboard cover, but Microsoft is considering lower-cost variants of its current Surface accessories - including the aforementioned covers, as well as styli and mouses.
This won't be the first time Microsoft tried to sell low-priced Surface Tablets (remember Surface RT?) but it looks like the company has a better strategy in place this time. According to a report from Bloomberg, the new tablets will sport screens sizes of 10 inches, which is around the same size as the 9.7-inch iPad and are expected to start from a price of $400. The new devices will cost as little as $400, and be paired with a cheaper keyboard cover to make a practical laptop alternative that comes in at around $500.
It has been reported that Microsoft is trying to focus on education as a selling point for its tablets. Microsoft needs to show people why they shouldn't buy an iPad, however, which is arguably the best all-around tablet for most people. Revenue rose 32 percent in the most recent quarter, indicating new interest in Microsoft's hardware.
Apple's iPad business generated revenues of nearly $20 billion in the previous year through sales of over 40 million iPads, according to Bloomberg. Microsoft's entire Surface hardware business produced $4.4 billion for the same period. The display is framed by a bezel with rounded corners, supposedly not unlike those of the iPad, in what marks a big departure from the rectangular design of Microsoft's flagship tablet. The new cheaper Surfaces could likewise appeal to students and teachers, and to schools that buy less-expensive devices in bulk. The current keyboard cover costs an extra United States dollars 160; the new keyboard will go for a bit lower. 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.
Perhaps most importantly, there's no reason to fear an unlikely comeback of the universally loathed Windows RT platform, with the full 10 Pro experience to be offered on a tighter than usual budget.
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.
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