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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.

A $400 Microsoft Surface may be on the way

Microsofts always taken a premium approach to its Surface line, showing users what its operating system can do when run on top of the line hardware. Its a model that makes sense for a company with so many ties to third-party hardware manufacturers. But the line thats been so focused on the high-end needs of creative professionals may be getting a budget addition in the near future. According to a new report from Bloomberg, Microsoft is eyeing the end of the year to release a $400 version of the Surface designed to compete more directly with Apples ubiquitous tablet. Of course, many have tried and largely failed to take on the iPad — including Microsoft itself. The company launched the Surface RT half a decade ago, without making much of a splash. These days, the tablet herd has thinned a bit, and Microsoft has established itself as a maker of premium first-party hardware. The new device is said to sport a 10-inch screen, putting it in direct competition with Apples lower-priced iPad. At $400, Microsofts entry would run $70 more than the budget iPads starting price, but would still run considerably less than the $799 Surface Pro. And this being Microsoft, there are expected to be multiple SKUs. The devices reportedly wont ship with a keyboard cover — one of the Surfaces biggest selling points — though theyll all sport a kickstand and feature a USB C port for charging. Microsoft, naturally, wont respond to queries about the device, which is reportedly set for a release in the second half of this year. Given the companys recent push with Windows 10S, the product could certainly make sense as part of the companys push into low priced devices for the education market.