Microsoft reportedly planning low-priced Surface tablets to compete with iPad

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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.

It claims that Microsoft is "seeking a hit in a market for cheaper devices that Apple dominates with the iPad" and cites people familiar with the matter. Indeed, after canceling the 8-inch Surface Mini back in 2014 and leaving the 2015 Surface 3 without a successor, the company may bring a new 10-inch affordable Surface tablet to the market in the second half of 2018.

Significantly lighter than the latest Pro generation, the new unnamed budget-friendly Surface is also expected to lose quite a bit of battery life while still packing Intel processing power and graphics muscle. Selling a cheap Surface is a unsafe game however, as it's probably unwise for Microsoft to try and undercut its partners when it comes to Windows hardware. Bloomberg says the new models should start at about $400, but with plenty of upgrade options for more storage and cellular connectivity. Like previous Surface tablets, it will feature an integrated kickstand.

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The Bloomberg report doesn't specify this, but it's likely that the new Surface is aimed at the cost-conscious education market.

Although Apple will probably still have the edge when it comes to entry price, with its cheapest iPad at just $329, the report says Microsoft will debut cheaper accessories to help keep prices lower.

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