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Microsoft may release a lower-cost Surface tablet this year

It'll have a 10-inch screen and an available 128GB of storage. Microsoft will try making another inexpensive tablet. Redmond is rumored to launch a new, cheaper slate to compete with the iPad this year, according to Bloomberg's sources. Like Apple's tablet, the device will have rounded corners and a 10-inch screen, along with a kickstand and a USB C port for charging and syncing. It'll cost around $400, or half that of a Surface Pro. Configurations may include 64GB of storage and 128GB of storage, in addition to models with built-in LTE, and there will apparently be a new, lower-priced keyboard cover available as well. In terms of graphics and processors, Intel is on tap to supply both. Versus the current Surface Pro lineup, it's expected that the new lower cost model will weigh less (by 20 percent) and also have shorter battery life (by four hours). The kicker here is that the new lower-cost unit will apparently run Windows 10 Pro -- not Windows 10 S or a different OS like the Surface RT did. The Surface RT never really took off because of its software limitations. At one point, Microsoft gave away 10,000 of them to educators, before dropping the price to $200 for schools. Of course, the $500 Surface 3 exists, but that's three years old by this point. Based on the leaked details, regardless of whatever Microsoft ends up calling this, it could be a perfect fit for a lot of people. iOS isn't without its share of issues, and current Surface Books start at around double the rumored price.

Microsoft reportedly plans $400 Surface tablet to rival $329 iPad

Though this may sound familiar, Microsoft is reportedly planning a line of lower-cost Surface tablets to challenge Apples least expensive iPads later this year. The new tablets are expected to start at around $400, down from the $799 starting point of current Surface Pro models. Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg suggests that pressure to find a high-volume hit rivaling iPad unit sales has compelled the company to redesign Surface to be more like the iPad. The report says that the new Surface will feature 10-inch screens, iPad-like rounded edges, and battery life closer to the iPads promised 10 hours than the prior Surface claim of 13.5 hours. Microsoft is also said to be adopting USB-C for the first time, similar to Apples use of the Lightning connector for iPads. On a positive note, the changes will reportedly allow the Surface to be lighter and less expensive. Bloomberg reports that the devices will lose 20 percent of their current weight, falling from 1.7 pounds to around 1.4 pounds — still more than the one-pound iPad — while preserving their integrated kickstands. Beyond cutting the new tablets prices, Microsoft will apparently also offer less expensive versions of its keyboard cover, stylus, and mouse accessories, which will be sold separately. It goes without saying that Microsoft has previously tried and failed to take on lower-cost iPads. The companys non-Pro tablet, Surface 3, was released for $499 in 2015 with a 10.8-inch display to compete against the 9.7-inch iPad Air 2. In early 2016, Apple cut that iPads price to $399, matching the price tag of the smaller iPad mini 4 and leading Microsoft to withdraw from the lower end of the market later that year. That decision left Microsoft to chase a smaller number of premium customers at a much higher price point. Over the last year, Apple has sold roughly 44 million iPads, generating nearly $20 billion in revenue, versus Microsofts $4.4 billion in Surface revenue across the entire line — including desktops and laptops — during the same time. The smaller Surface will reportedly come in 64GB and 128GB configurations, as well as Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi/LTE versions.  Microsoft will also preserve Windows 10 Pro support and continue to use Intel CPU and GPU components. Whether these features and the included kickstand are enough to justify a $70 price gap with Apples latest entry-level $329 iPad remains to be seen.