Microsoft plans to launch low-priced Surface tablets to compete with iPads

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Bloomberg reports that Microsoft will launch a more affordable Surface tablet later this year.

Microsoft is looking to target a new market for its tablets, Bloomberg reported, with sources saying the company will be launching a cheaper line of Surface tablets in the second half of the year.

That's weird, because we all know how the Surface plan played out: The first one was a billion-dollar disaster, but when Microsoft refocused around the Surface Pro line and stopped trying to compete with the iPad and instead market its powerful tablet PC as a MacBook alternative, sales soared, and the Surface found its niche as a high-end Windows machine.

With 10-inch screens, the devices would be more diminutive in size than the 12-inch Surface Pro, as well as being 20 percent lighter.

Microsoft tried to do this before when it released the $499 Surface RT tablet in 2012. The new Surfaces, priced about $400, will have rounded edges like an iPad, differing from the squared off corners of current models.

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Like the Surface Pro, the cheaper Surface will come without a keyboard cover, but cheaper versions of these - and styli - will also be available.

Intel is expected to supply processors and graphics chips for the device, which will last around nine hours in between charges. This is further supported by the fact that the upcoming models' battery life will reportedly be about four hours shorter than their pricier counterpart.

It claims that Microsoft is "seeking a hit in a market for cheaper devices that Apple dominates with the iPad" and cites people familiar with the matter. The Surface Pro line has prices from Dollars 799.

At Apple's Spring 2018 event in Chicago the company announced a new 9.7-inch iPad dubbed its "most affordable" model yet. The current keyboard cover costs an extra United States dollars 160; the new keyboard will go for a bit lower.

$400 will naturally get you just the slate, without any productivity-enhancing accessories like keyboards or pens, while LTE connectivity and twice the base 64GB internal storage should also cost extra. Like previous Surface tablets, it will feature an integrated kickstand.

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