Microsoft Corp. is planning to release a line of lower-cost Surface tablets as soon as the second half of 2018, seeking a hit in a market for cheaper devices that Apple Inc. dominates with the iPad, according to people familiar with the matter.
Microsoft has tried this before. The software giant kicked off its consumer-oriented hardware push in 2012 with the launch of the original Surface RT. At the time, it was priced starting at $499. After the tablets didn’t resonate with consumers and product reviewers, Microsoft pivoted to the more-expensive Surface Pro, a line which has gained steam and likely contributed to demand for a pro-oriented iPad, which Apple launched in 2015. Read more
Knocking four hours of battery off a tablet with a 13.5 hour runtime is bad. Knocking four hours of run time off a tablet with a 9.6 hour battery life is terrible. In fact, if that penalty carried over across the board, this new Surface tablet wouldn’t even break the three hour mark in Hot Hardware’s battery run test.
The device, which will supposedly start at around $400, will offer 64GB or 128GB of storage, a new cheaper version of Microsoft’s absurdly overpriced Type Cover and Surface Pen, and will also be available with LTE support. There’s no word on screen aspect ratios (3:2 seems likely), the Intel CPU used (likely a Core M derivative), or whether the systems will include a fan. Hopefully the battery life report is simply wrong. A low cost Core M device would represent a major upgrade over the old Atom-powered hardware, but whacking battery life in the name of weight reduction when devices are already below two pounds is exactly the wrong move to make.. Read more