Microsoft to Launch Cheaper Tablet Line to Rival Apple's iPad

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Microsoft plans to take on Apple's popular 9.7-inch iPad with a low-priced Surface tablet, according to a new report. The report also notes that Microsoft may debut its cheaper tablets as early as the second half of 2018.

The devices, which will cost around $400, will reportedly use 10-inch displays, which are smaller than the Surface Pro's 12-inch screens but more in line with the iPad (which uses a 9.7-inch display). Unlike the existing Surface Pro tablets, this one will come with rounded edges just like the iPad Pro devices. A smaller battery will also help the device achieve a lighter footprint with a 20% lesser weight as compared to iPad Pro.

Unfortunately, like Microsoft's higher-end Surface devices, the new models won't ship with a keyboard or stylus in the box. For your reference, the Surface Pro can last up to 13 hours on a single charge.

Microsoft has dabbled with more affordable tablets in the past.

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Microsoft declined to comment to Bloomberg.

Microsoft gave us a sneak peek at the upcoming update to the Surface Hub and it looks a lot better than the previous generation that was released three years ago. The lineup is also expected to have LTE cellular connectivity and feature a kickstand for watching video upright. Apple recently unveiled an updated $329 iPad for education, and while few schools would ever buy such a limited device, a tablet that could be used as a real PC would be a nice alternative. The idea is to hit a market dominated so far by Apple and its iPads, the sources added. This is not a re-run of the Surface RT, as full-blown Windows will be supported. The initial Surface tablets were based on an OS similar to Window Phone instead of offering the full desktop experience.

Microsoft may be about to go below the surface in an effort to boost its Surface tablet business.

There has been no official word about supposed budget Surface tablets, but the report indicates that we should be hearing more later this year.

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