A new report suggests that Microsoft is working on a cheaper Surface tablet in hopes of better competing with the Apple iPad.
While the Surface Pro is certainly a capable tablet with a lot to offer, it’s significantly more expensive than the base iPad models resulting in a lower market share when compared to tablets from Apple.
This recent news from Bloomberg suggests that the company is taking steps to give us a cheaper Surface tablet that will be priced closer to $400 rather than the $799 that we’re seeing from the Surface Pro today.
Rather than simply giving us a downgraded version of the Pro, the new cheaper Surface tablet is being redesigned from the ground up. It will be smaller and thinner than the Surface Pro – coming in at 10 inches rather than the 12-inch size of the current model. It will also feature more rounded corners instead of the rectangular design we saw with the Surface Pro.
With the smaller, thinner construction with rounded corners as well as the more affordable price, it’s clear that this model is intended to be a direct competitor to the more-popular iPad. Microsoft has struggled to get the same sort of sales we’ve seen with Apple’s products.
While it’s unlikely that a cheaper Surface tablet will result in the same hype we see around the iPad, it would definitely go a long way towards making the devices more accessible.
Just like their big brother, the cheaper Surface tablet will feature Intel processors and graphics and run the full version of Windows 10 Pro. The ability to run the full Windows operating system is a major benefit to the Surface tablets, and that combined with a cheaper price may make the cheaper Surface tablet a resounding success.
Microsoft is planning to add devices with LTE connectivity, which had been lacking on the Surface Pro until this past year’s model. This was another area in which it fell short of the iPad in terms of functionality and it will be nice to see it come to the cheaper Surface tablet as well.
Fans of the Surface kickstand will be happy to hear that the feature will be sticking around with the cheaper surface tablet as well – although we won’t see the new models shipping with a keyboard or stylus in the box.
Considering that the current cheapest version of the Surface Pro is around $799 and the cheapest iPad is $329, this will be a massive step forward for Microsoft when it comes to keeping up with their main competitor. The market for a Surface tablet is already pretty limited, and a more accessible model will expand the audience significantly.
However, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a cheaper Surface tablet hit the market, with models like the Surface RT, Surface 2, and Surface 3 models – but the lineup was never able to achieve the same success as the main Surface Pro line. It remains to be seen whether the company has the capability to knock it out of the park with the cheaper Surface tablet redesign, or if it will be another dud that can’t keep up with Apple.
Perhaps most notable about this particular Surface tablet is the redesign that is looking quite similar to what we saw from the iPad. With a similar size, shape, and price Microsoft is positioning themselves to steal way some of the market dominance that Apple currently enjoy.
As far as a release date for the new cheaper Surface tablet goes, we don’t have much of an idea at this point in time. It’s safe to say that we will soon see more than just the Surface pro on the market, however, with more options for those of us who don’t have the budget for such an expensive device.
While both Apple and Microsoft have offered high-end tablets for quite some time, the return of a cheaper Windows tablet is a welcome change that is an excellent choice for the consumer.
With the capability to run windows programs, the Microsoft surface tablet offers a unique experience when compared to tablets from Android or Apple. For one reason or another, however, it has failed to catch on in a significant way. Hopefully the increase in accessibility will make all the difference and give the company the chops it needs to compete in this cutthroat mobile market.