Microsoft is reportedly planning a new $400 tablet to compete with the iPad

Melia Robinson/Business Insider
  • Microsoft is reportedly working on a new, lower-cost Surface tablet, according to a report from Bloomberg.
  • The new tablet would start at $US400 and have a 10-inch screen, about nine hours of battery life, and USB-C charging.
  • Microsoft has dabbled in more consumer-friendly tablets in the past, but has shifted focus in recent years to its pricier pro line of tablets and laptops.

Microsoft could be releasing a new competitor to the iPad as soon as this year.

According to a report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman and Dina Bass, the new tablet will have a 10-inch screen, rounded edges, and will be priced around $US400.

Bloomberg reports that the tablet will also be 20% lighter than current Surface tablets, but with about nine hours of battery life, compared to the Surface Pro’s 13.5 hours. The new tablet will also have USB-C charging, which would be a first for Microsoft tablets.

Mary Jo Foley, who covers Microsoft for ZDNet, said she’s heard similar reports of a new low-cost tablet that could be announced as early as July.

This isn’t the first time Microsoft has dabbled in low-cost tablets. Back in 2012, the company released the Surface RT, a $US500 tablet intended to appeal to the average consumer. But the demand for the tablet was lacklustre, and Microsoft ended up taking a $US900 million write-down for it.

In 2014, Microsoft was expected to release the Surface Mini alongside the Surface Pro 3. But the tablet was scrapped at the last minute, reportedly because it didn’t have enough unique selling points” to merit its existence.

A smaller, less expensive Microsoft tablet would likely compete with Apple’s newest 9.7-inch iPad, which costs $US329. Right now, Microsoft’s least expensive Surface device starts at $US800.

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