Microsoft is planning to release affordable Surface tablets with Windows 10

Microsoft Surface Book 2

The software giant is planning to release a new line of low-priced Surface tablets as early as the second half of 2018, Bloomberg reports. The move is aimed at taking market share from Apple's iPad, which dominates the lower-cost tablet market. According to the report, the new Surfaces should start at around $400 without accessories like a keyboard, which is $99 cheaper than the 2015 Surface 3.

Microsoft previously released the $499 Surface RT in 2012 to limited success before switching to the Surface Pro line. Microsoft's Surface Pro lineup, on the other hand, was well received but those devices were expensive and more of a laptop replacement device than a standalone tablet.

In the past year, Apple sold 44M iPads for $20B in revenue.

The new Surface tablets will debut in 2H18.

The only tablets that have got a good response from the customers were Apple's iPads. The smaller size means that these models will have smaller battery, and Bloomberg expects a four hours difference compared to the Surface Pro.

The biggest question about these new Surface devices is why. 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.

Apple recently launched a 2018 iPad model for just $329. As always, there will also be 64GB or 128GB variants, along with an LTE model for cellular connectivity too. Microsoft, which hasn't finalized its plans, is expected to price the cheapest versions of the new device at about $400.

Intel will be reportedly supplying processors and graphics cards for the rumoured Surface Tablet, and we wouldn't see Windows 10 on ARM in this device. Microsoft officials have maintained the raison-d'etre for Surface is to establish new, untapped computing categories, not simply to make hardware for the sake of making hardware.

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