According to a new report by Bloomberg, Microsoft is getting ready to launch a new tablet lineup that will pull potential customers to the Surface products even when they are not keen on spending the money required to get into a Surface Pro.
The move, it is claimed, is a direct response to Apple’s recently introduced $329 iPad, with Microsoft said to have devices ready to roll as soon as the second half of this year.
As the now infamous people familiar with the plans claim, the tablets will apparently be priced around the magic $400 mark which will still mean that they are more costly than Apple’s cheapest iPad. The devices will however support USB-C and rounded edges which will give it a distinctly iPad-like look rather than the squared off approach Surfaces have taken so far. Connectivity options will also include LTE, while storage options will be 64GB and 128GB with a 10-inch display used throughout the line.
The report also claims that Microsoft will seek to make the new tablets lighter than their predecessors by reducing their battery capacity by as much as four hours less than the current generation Surface Pro. Beyond that however, little is known about what will be found inside the devices.
Microsoft has struggled to find a high-volume hit with the Surface devices as well as to introduce a flow of new choices to keep growth steady. In the fiscal year that ended last June, Surface revenue declined 2 percent as the company faced lower volume sales owing to an aging Surface Pro line. Revenue rose 32 percent in the most recent quarter, indicating new interest in Microsoft’s hardware.
Apple sold about 44 million iPads that generated almost $20 billion in revenue during the past four quarters. Microsoft’s entire Surface hardware business produced $4.4 billion for the same period.
With those numbers in mind it does not take much imagination to try and work out why Microsoft is keen to offer something towards the lower end of the market as well as the high end that it currently occupies with the Surface Pro.
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