Microsoft to launch smaller, low-priced Surface devices

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Microsoft (MSFT) plans to launch a line of lower-cost tablets to compete with Apple's (AAPL) iPad.

According to a report from Bloomberg, the new 10-inch Surface tablets will feature rounded corners similar those found on Apple's iPads, and they'll also be the second Surface devices to come with a USB-C port following the Surface Book 2 past year. They'll also include USB-C connectivity, a first for Surface tablets, a new charging and syncing standard being used by some of the latest smartphones.

Regardless, many have been hoping Microsoft would release a new non-pro Surface at some point, as this line of Surface devices are far more affordable and approachable to the masses.

One of my contacts said Microsoft has been working on a low-end Surface device that would be priced at $399 without the separately-priced keyboard/cover. In the fiscal year that ended last June, Surface revenue declined 2 percent as the company faced lower volume sales owing to an aging Surface Pro line.

Microsoft Surface tablet series Apple iPad global tablet PC market iPad models Surface Pro Microsoft tablet PCs iPad Pro Windows 10 Pro
Apple sold about 44 million iPads that generated almost $20 billion in revenue during the past four quarters

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.

The biggest question about these new Surface devices is why. Microsoft, which hasn't finalized its plans, is expected to price the cheapest versions of the new device at about $400.

The only tablets that have got a good response from the customers were Apple's iPads. Microsoft is also planning to sell Wi-Fi only models along with Wi-Fi and LTE variants. The company is planning on releasing a revamped iPad Pro this year with iPhone X features such as facial recognition, Bloomberg News reported last year.

Of course, along with a new Surface come updated accessories, and the new 10-inch form factor will see updates to the Surface keyboards, stylus and mouse at this size. It will be powered by Windows 10 Pro probably with an S mode which locks you to Microsoft Store apps.

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