Low-Cost Surface Tablet Coming in 2018

Microsoft’s Surface 3 tablet

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) plans to release a low-priced line of tablets to rival Apple's iPad, according to Bloomberg. The move is aimed at taking market share from Apple's iPad, which dominates the lower-cost tablet market.

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The $400 Surface tablet will feature a 10-inch display, which is considerably smaller than the 12.5-inch display on the current Surface Pro. Microsoft's Surface hardware business had sales of $4.4B in the same period.

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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. 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.

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There will be versions with 64 and 128 GB of storage, and models that connect to LTE cellular networks. Microsoft is said to be planning 64GB and 128GB models, and all configurations will run Windows 10 Pro. A $400 Surface might draw in new audiences that previously weren't interested due to the high-price of Surface products usually. 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.

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