Microsoft to release low-cost Surface tablet to take on Apple’s iPad

Microsoft to release low-cost Surface tablet to take on Apple’s iPad

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Microsoft is planning to release a number of lower-cost Surface tablets in a bid to take on the Apple iPad in the market for tablet computers.

The launch will be in the second half of the year, possibly later in the summer. The new devices will offer 10-inch screens and, according to Bloomberg, will be priced at around $400 – possibly as low as £350 in the UK.

Connectivity will be supplied via USB-C and the devices promise to be around 20 per cent lighter than current Surface Pro models, but battery life will be around four hours less – offering between nine and ten hours of use.

The device will be powered by an Intel CPU offering integrated graphics. The base price is unlikely to offer an integrated keyboard, but that ought to be an optional extra. However, Bloomberg claims that they should cost a bit less than the current Surface Pro keyboard.

The new line-up will also offer a fairly skimpy choice of storage – 64GB or 128GB – but will offer models that can natively connect to 4G mobile networks.

While Microsoft has refused to be drawn on the speculation, if confirmed, it would be the first low-cost Surface tablet since the Surface 3, which was released in 2015 and discontinued in 2016 after less than stellar sales.

However, the device – especially if it comes in closer to the £350 mark – will see the device compared to the original Surface RT.

Launched in 2012 at the same time as Windows 8, it ran a version of Windows 8, called Windows RT, that ran on ARM-based CPUs. Standard Windows applications, though, could not run on the device, which left the Surface RT bereft of software.

The new Surface devices, in addition to sporting Intel hardware, will run standard Windows 10 and Universal Windows Platform applications, ensuring compatibility – potential performance issues notwithstanding.


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