Report: Low-Cost Surface Tablet Coming in 2018

Posted on May 16, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 127 Comments

A credible Bloomberg report claims that Microsoft will deliver a $400 Surface-branded tablet by late 2018. The device would better compete with Apple’s entry-level iPad and would return Microsoft to a market segment it abandoned when it stopped selling the Surface 3.

The report is written by Mark Gurman, who has excellent industry sources, and Dina Bass, a credible reporter and excellent writer.

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.

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. It will have rounded corners, which are unlike the hard corners on existing Surface tablets, and should deliver about 9.5 hours of battery life. it will be powered by an Intel chipset and will feature USB-C connectivity.

That last bit is important. Microsoft took its first tepid steps to USB-C with the Surface Book 2, which was released last Fall. But the $400 Surface tablet will apparently be the first of Microsoft’s PC to rely on USB-C for power.

There will be versions with 64 and 128 GB of storage, and models that connect to LTE cellular networks. Like previous Surface tablets, it will feature an integrated kickstand. And it will run Windows 10 Pro.

The Bloomberg report doesn’t specify this, but it’s likely that the new Surface is aimed at the cost-conscious education market. 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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Comments (131)

131 responses to “Report: Low-Cost Surface Tablet Coming in 2018”

  1. Simard57

    i wish it were ARM based


    • jaredthegeek

      In reply to Simard57:

      WOA is not ready for prime time. I wish it were because that kind of battery life is amazing but its still very limited. Version 2.0 will be better if MS backs it which they absolutely should.

      • Simard57

        In reply to jaredthegeek:


        where do you find it lacking? I am looking for better than Atom performance, not I7 performance

      • skane2600

        In reply to jaredthegeek:

        If version 1.0 isn't successful I doubt a version 2.0 would make any difference. I suspect that WOA is a good as Microsoft could possibly make it, but if they believed it could be made significantly better in the future they made a huge strategic mistake by not waiting until they got it right. They needed to hit it out of the park on their first at bat, or most people would dismiss it forever.

        • RR

          In reply to skane2600:

          Actually, its pretty clear that they were planning for a v2. All you have to do is look at how they launched v1, it was rolled out extremely narrowly, almost like an "insider program". Besides you see their development update at Build, they certainly are making it better than the current version, so, they can. They clearly have a multi-year roadmap here, as they should, porting OS software onto a new platform with all the hairy problems that can happen with that. Almost as if they learned from something in the past ...

          • skane2600

            In reply to RR:

            You're assuming the Build demos are legit. But as I've mentioned before Microsoft had tons of time between when they first demonstrated WoA and when they started releasing a device using it. If you release a product that bears any resemblance to an "insider program" you're making a big mistake. I suspect the narrow release was driven by a lack of faith in their product. The message that the few potential customers that have heard of WoA got was that it was a dud.

            • RR

              In reply to skane2600:

              Funny you should say that, the Microsoft Build presenters kept on reiterating hey see here it is really what I said it is, look at my system report, this is really running on this machine, blah blah, this isn't fake. Go look at the video, someone posted it on Thurrott. It was pretty funny, especially with the guy with an Indian accent going on and on, please, please believe me, I am not faking this (sorry, I know that's probably not PC. I apologize).

              But I don't buy it's lack of faith or anything judgmental; they know where the product stands, it wasn't ready for big time release, as confirmed by reviewers, its a program, a journey, I really don't see the need to argue with them about it. We'll see what they can do over next ~2 years.

              • skane2600

                In reply to RR:

                I don't expect a lot of improvement (other than improvement via faster processors) because the emulation problem was and is so well understood. IMO, it's not really a problem that lends itself to significant optimization like replacing an old inefficient sorting algorithm with a more recent, more efficient one (unless MS was using some known to be inefficient algorithms that they plan to replace later, which seems unlikely). We'll have to wait and see, however even if they were able to make it 10% to 20% faster, the ship may have sailed by that time.



  2. BlackForestHam

    I wish MSFT would stop trying to compete in the consumer space and stick to enterprise where it thrives. Yes, I get iPads have crept into the office and no amount of huffing from old timers is going to halt that, but neither is this. BYOD is here, whether anyone likes it or not, and iOS/Android is what consumers want.

  3. Chris_Kez

    This just doesn't add up, and would not reflect Microsoft's willingness under Satya Nadella to cancel or forego products that don't have a clear and obtainable objective. I own the original Surface 3 (4GB RAM). It is under-powered and would have benefited from a higher quality screen. I don't see how they're going to make a new product that is better yet cheaper.

  4. RobertJasiek

    OEMs have failed to offer a Windows replacement for iPads so it is great news that Microsoft offers something. It will be critical whether hardwarewise it will indeed be an iPad replacement: low display ratio, handholdable chassis, long enough battery life, reliable hardware and reduced display reflections for outdoor use. Maybe the OEMs wake up like they did with Surface Pro clones and will produce Surface "Mini" clones of quality instead of the current China crap. Several years overdue but better late than never.

  5. amosclan

    Even if this device is perfect, I wonder about demand. I just tried to replaced my ailing SP3 with a 2018 iPad. The writing experience was far better than it is on the SP3, I loved the size and weight for portability, and I appreciated the ease with which I could pick it up and start working. But I sent it back after 12 days. The 9.7 screen is just too small for real productivity. I ended up taking the both the iPad and Dell laptop everywhere, which kind of defeated the purpose of having the iPad in the first place. I liked it, and if I had 600 dollars to burn I'd keep it, but I'd rather fold the money into new Surface Pro.

    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to amosclan:

      This is simply for the millions of people every year that want a tablet for media consumption. It will also finally give MS a solution for all the small businesses that have desperately needed a little touchscreen for counter services and have been forced to use iPads since no Windows solution was as good or available.

      • maethorechannen

        In reply to VancouverNinja:

        This is simply for the millions of people every year that want a tablet for media consumption.


        If it's primarily for media consumption then it's DOA. iOS, Fire and Android tablets are far, far better at media consumption than Windows tablets.

        • VancouverNinja

          In reply to maethorechannen:

          Not even close to reality. How many iPad users have Windows PC's? How many would love to have access to all of their familiar apps, games, and other PC based features while having all of the media consumption they enjoy now on iPads? This is a no brainer, at least conceptually. We need to see the goods. I can tell you right now being able to access the timeline feature on a Surface tablet, with my full desktop outlook application on it, would be stellar. Best of all worlds.

          • curtisspendlove

            In reply to VancouverNinja:

            ”How many iPad users have Windows PC's? How many would love to have access to all of their familiar apps, games, and other PC based features while having all of the media consumption they enjoy now on iPads?”


            I'm going to place my bet on 0.


            I’ve yet to meet a single normal person (non geek) who has told me “man I just *love* my Windows PC”.


            I wish my iPad could run Notepad and Windows Media Player!


            I miss my start menu on my Android tablet.


            I do like this iPad, but where is control panel! I miss my seven different control panel apps, all with different interfaces.


            (Ok, regular people probably wouldn’t say “interface” but hopefully my point comes across.)


            ;)


            To be completely honest, and with no snark, I’m hearing the opposite nowadays:


            I have to use this PC for stuff, but I can’t find Facebook, Instagram, or twitter on it.


            Most at people just put their phone next to their PC (if their employer allows it) and spend about 95% of their allotted focus on the phone. I wonder how the hell we actually get anything done these days.


            And yes, get off my lawn!

            • skane2600

              In reply to curtisspendlove:

              "I have to use this PC for stuff, but I can’t find Facebook, Instagram, or twitter on it."


              I image these same people saying "I keep hearing about this thing people call a web bowser and the intersomething. What is that?"

              • curtisspendlove

                In reply to skane2600:

                “I image these same people saying "I keep hearing about this thing people call a web bowser and the intersomething. What is that?"”


                The youngin’s don’t tend to like browser apps. And honestly I don’t blame them. :: shrug ::

                • skane2600

                  In reply to curtisspendlove:

                  There's a difference between preferring a native app and not knowing you can access the same service in a browser. Most young people prefer smartphones for social network interactions but if they are using a PC it's not credible to suggest they can't figure out how to use a browser on it.

                • curtisspendlove

                  In reply to skane2600:

                  Wasn’t talking about young people. Most young people seem to handle most anything you give them.


                  However it is primarily younger people who make their displeasure fairly clear if they have to use a device that doesn’t have an app for what they want to do.


                  Pretty funny, because sometimes I’ve just pinned a bookmark to a website to home on the device and they are happy.


                  :: shrug ::


                  PWAs, for the most part, will be perfect for this.

            • Jorge Garcia

              In reply to curtisspendlove:

              "Most at people just put their phone next to their PC (if their employer allows it) and spend about 95% of their allotted focus on the phone. I wonder how the hell we actually get anything done these days."

              This is going to be a bigger problem moving forward and I personally forsee (more) employers obligating employees to stow their phones during working hours. I'm currently patenting a vending-machine-like storage/charging locker apparatus that conditionally "issues" a smart-band of some kind so that you can get some kind of notifications while your phone is stored.

            • RR

              In reply to curtisspendlove:

              Actually, what many people understand is money. If they get a device that can do both their work and their media consumption, and it saves them 400 bucks, many will quickly locate Instagram and Facebook on it. The "problem" right now is those worlds are divorced. There are no PCs you can take to bed and browse, and no iPads that can do actual work. It would help those consumers Microsoft has made enough efforts to make Surface cool also. It's not like they'd have to carry an Acer around.

              • curtisspendlove

                In reply to RR:

                “If they get a device that can do both their work and their media consumption, and it saves them 400 bucks, many will quickly locate Instagram and Facebook on it.”


                Perhaps. But an increasing number of people I talk to don’t want anything to do with traditional PCs. If you tell them they have to load most of their favorite “apps” in a web browser, on a tablet, it’s going to be a pretty hard sell.



              • skane2600

                In reply to RR:

                I think there's a ergonomic issue with what you suggest. It's hard to create a device that is large enough to use for work but small enough to comfortably use in bed. For the latter case, a smartphone is probably a more appropriate choice.

          • John Noonan

            In reply to VancouverNinja:

            Most people who use iPads use them because they want to. Most people who use PCs use them because they have to. Office on my iPad is basically just as good as is Office on my Surface. Yes I know some things are missing, and I really seldom have a reason to care.


            Case in point, I take handwritten notes in One Note for my work. I have an iPad Pro and a Surface Pro 3 on my desk. The iPad is better to use for this. Why? More convenient form factor, more convenient weight, not noisy at all, just as fast, better screen ratio for using as a notebook (my preference anyway), and far better battery life (not even close).

            • VancouverNinja

              In reply to John_Noonan:

              I don't follow your point. We are discussing a new form factor that matches an iPad but will have the best of both worlds. If you have a Surface Pro 3 I am pretty sure your Surface Pro 3 pen will work with your tablet and now you would have a perfectly matching ecosystem of applications across the best form factors. I personally don't like that when I go to my stuff on our Ipad Air that it is different - if this thing can match the iPad but give me the familiarity I want to my Windows 10 PC why would I care about an iPad going forward?

              • John Noonan

                In reply to VancouverNinja:

                Valid point, but the device is going to be more expensive than an iPad and it is pretty hard to deny that the store apps for Windows are usually very inferior to the Store Apps for iPad.

              • curtisspendlove

                In reply to VancouverNinja:

                “I don't follow your point. We are discussing a new form factor that matches an iPad but will have the best of both worlds.”


                I think the main point is that the iPad already has best-in-class software for most everything. There isn’t complete feature parity, and there are a few compromises.


                But there will definitely be compromises on a Windows tablet as well (largely the app gap issue). I guarantee you most people will not want to run the majority of apps in the browser. I’d love to see this thing succeed though and drive companies to consider UWP apps again. I also think this device is a driving force behind the push to PWAs for Microsoft. For instance, the Twitter PWA, which also has some compromises is certainly an attractive app for this device.


                My my personal interest in the device is that it *might* feasibly be used as a mobile web development machine. Which is something my iPad isn’t good at without significant compromises.


                It it all depends on how fast this thing is and how good it is with touch. Though touch is less important in that instance since a Bluetooth mouse / keyboard would fix that right up.


                But yeah, I don’t see it replacing an iPad for the majority of iPad users. I don’t think many iPad users use their iPads primarily for productivity work.

            • Jorge Garcia

              In reply to John_Noonan:

              Exactly right. The Windows/Intel formula just doesn't work on a tablet for the vast majority of people. An iPad is an overgrown iPhone, and that's how it should be. Although I do feel that if Apple offered a "setting" that allowed the iPad to use a mouse and perform some traditional Windows/Mac style windowing...that would REALLY replace the need for a Laptop for a great many people. I have long said that Google should do the exact same thing as well...offer a Tablet (with integrated keyboard) that runs Android, but offers the option to switch from touch-first interface into a semi-traditional desktop interface (just as Windows 10 does, but in reverse). That would be the ideal product for TONS of people who don't do video editing or serious things that require a full-boat OS.

  6. peterh_oz

    I still use my Surface 3 to this day. Its perfect as a secondary device, for travelling & reading/browsing in bed. Might consider an upgrade for the extra storage & performance of a newer chipset, plus USB C.

  7. jwpear

    At this price point, can they provide faster storage than what they had in the Surface 3? It was horrible, especially coupled with the low ram. That made it feel sluggish and not at all a premium device.

  8. DocPaul

    The problem with the Surface 3 was that--while that intro price was tempting--after you bump up the specs to something respectable, then add a keyboard, then the pen; suddenly you're nearly double the money you thought you were going to spend and your left thinking, "crap, for that much, there are other things I'd rather get." And then you go buy a ThinkPad.


    Hopefully Microsoft addresses this problem with the Surface 4.

  9. SycamoreFox

    Who is this for? It’s not going to be a gaming/Steam machine. It’s not going to be a solid engineering or creative machine. Unless they are going to market this to low budget enterprise or education then it leaves the general consumer space, which Microsoft has lost/given up on. Why would the average consumer pick this over either the iOS or Android ecosystem that are both far superior in consumer grade apps, games, and experiences. If you are a Microsoft fanboi, think about it...what is Microsoft going to provide that’s better? And don’t say “Win32 FTW!” because the general consumer space doesn’t really care about Win32 anymore, outside of performance gaming and perhaps home Office users. Just seems like so many other vendors have tried consumer grade/price Windows tablets and never taken off. How often do you see an Acer, Asus, or Lenovo tablet in the wild? Best of luck to Microsoft though, any shot at the consumer space is commendable.

    • William Clark

      In reply to SycamoreFox: I have an Acer tablet, core i5, 8G memory and a 256G SSD. I use it as my travel computer, it works great and with Nvidia GeForce Now I can actually play games on it too, real games albeit via streaming.
      One area a tablet like this could work for me is in my restaurant. I have POS SW with Windows licenses that I'm not using. By using a Windows tablet I can run my POS on a mobile device giving my wait staff much more flexibility. For some reason the POS SW uses different licenses for iPads and the license isn't cheap. For the price of hardware I can add more terminals if they are running Windows. And the POS SW doesn't require high-end computing power so these might just be the thing.
      In regards to your question about picking this over iOS, it's really a different experience. MS doesn't have the apps but in lots of cases they don't need them. You can get Netflix through a web browser, no app needed. There is definitely a more robust experience with Office tools on Windows, like Excel and/or Word, than on iOS. And when using remote login or remote desktop I think the Windows to Windows apps are better than iOS to Windows, especially when you consider the differences in keyboard layout and lack of a mouse on iOS.

      Not that I'm bashing iOS or prefer Windows over iOS. Each one is good in its own way and depending on your needs one may work better for you than the other. I have both.


    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to SycamoreFox:

      When you look at the bigger picture - Windows 10 on PCs, Surface Hubs, HoloLens, Xbox's, and a possible Mobile device coming, this is the first tablet the may truly grab peoples attention. 5 years ago not a hope to compete with an iPad but now - how many own PCs? How many might also own and Xbox? How many people would like seamless interoperability between these products. Also for all the little businesses that are using iPads as counter registers this could be a huge area for MS that they have not been able to address until now. Most small businesses use PCs so being able to operate their business with another device that works perfectly with their PC choice starts to become a no brainer.


      I don't think this should not be underestimated at all - it could do to iPads what Surface PCs is doing to Macs currently. What if it comes standard with USB-C and a memory expansion port....It instantly makes their offering even more attractive than an iPad.

    • RobertJasiek

      In reply to SycamoreFox:

      Endless repetition of "iOS has the better apps for consumption" does not make it true. It all depends on what softwares and functionality one needs. For me, iOS is very much worse also for consumption. Missing general file management, missing easy local file transfer, missing apps, bugs in apps, missing functionality in apps, missing information about apps, expensive apps in relation to little functionality.

  10. sandeepm

    comments from all of the public are way off. I own a Chuwvi Surbook purchased on Kickstarter for under 300 dollars and lately i added a pen and keyboard for travel. It is running full Windows on Intel, has a fantastic 12.3" screen and braved the cold weather in sub zero temperatures all through the winter in my garage flawlessly (it is my garage PC, strategically placed on a clamp in a part of the house where i spend a lot of my man cave time). It is a Surface clone meticulously perfected. It has PD via USB C and looong battery life.


    Only reason I would buy the Microsoft tablet would be if it supports the new UI skin system and the same is not available as an upgrade to mine. Or if it folds up to become a phone.


    pardon my lower case I's where upper case were expected. This is the latest new feature that Microsoft has introduced to bring Windows Phone to parity with Apple and google.


  11. mclark2112

    My team keeps asking for a larger Surface Pro, maybe 13.5 inches. Surface book is just too unwieldy, just want a slightly bigger Surface Pro.

  12. thorolavs

    Hi Paul! Just wanted you to know that the iPad in the education market is a whole other story in Norway. Here traditional laptops have been switched out with iPads for years now. It not even only the "cheap" ones. Many schools use iPad Pros. And I'm not even talking about a class having a couple of them, or each teacher having one. Every student gets one, kind of a loaner - from the start of the first semester to the completion of the second semester. This happens all the way from 1th to 10th grade in elementary school, and even in more and more high schools - maybe except the high schools that are very prefession-focused. Like schools that need Premiere Pro and Photoshop and stuff. But kids growing up these days "work" on school with iPads EVERY DAY. I's insane. It's more expensive for the schools. You can do less on them compared to Windows laptops, they are more fragile, they have shorter lifespans etc. It's really frustrating - being a tech guy - watching all this happen. Their go-to argument for choosing iPads over Windows laptops is that iPads "starts up" faster than PCs, and has better battery life. They also have an Apple TV in every class room (primarely to use Air Mirroring from the iPads) - and every teacher gets a personal iPad of their choice. This is what happens when a country has too much money (even tho they complain about too little money all the time like everyone else), and politicians are the ones making the choices experts should be taking. It's sad, really. Just wantet you to know Paul - the US is a pretty small (tho important) part of the world. Have a good one!


    PS: Love your articles more and more lately. You write so objectively, and you're crystal clear in your words. You get your poin out really well, and often with a funny twist. Well worth the premium fee for the premium articles.

  13. Awhispersecho

    I really liked my Surface 3 and I think this is good news. I do find it funny however that apparently they think getting back into this segment of a market that they had no success in makes sense but having a presence in phones doesn't. Good ol Microsoft, wandering around aimlessly.

  14. Jorge Garcia

    The only reason most "consumer-grade" people buy Windows tablets and laptops in 2018 is 1. Price 2. Inertia/Ignorance. (Well, OK there's the occasional high-end laptop gamer). If Apple offered a "setting" that allowed its iPad to use a mouse and perform some traditional Windows/Mac style windowing...that would REALLY replace the need for a Laptop for a great many people. And due to the high-price of Apple products, I have long said that Google should do the exact same thing as well...offer a (much cheaper) iPad Pro alternative (with integrated keyboard, or even a full clam-shell variant) that runs Android, but offers the option to switch from touch-first interface into a semi-traditional desktop interface (just as Windows 10 does, but in reverse). That would be the ideal product for TONS of people who don't do video editing or serious things that require a full-boat OS. Microsoft and Intel are lucky that neither Apple nor Google has cracked this laptop nut yet. Chromebooks cover a good part of the problem, but I still feel that Android is the far better tablet/laptop/both platform for a lot of simpler people.

  15. digiguy

    Let me make some predictions:

    1. At this price there is no way this is going to be core M. And given Intel situation there is zero change that they can make a 10nm chip that fits into this device this year. Zero. This is very likely going to be Gemini Lake. Is it bad? Not really. Gemini Lake is quite a step up from Atom and given MS excellent track record with cooling (fanless I5 etc.) I am pretty sure they will make is completely fanless. Also Gemini Lake supports Sata3, so they can use SATA SSDs, which will make the whole system definitely faster.
    2. My guess is they will stick with the 10.8" size of surface 3.
    3. Will they call it Surface 4? No, probably just Surface (ipad lost the numbers and Surface pro did too)
    4. Battery life is in line with the estimation for surface pro 3/4. So probably 5-6 hours of normal use. Will this be a deal breaker? Not necessarily, if they implement a good charging system (see next point)


    USB C charging. Let me explain this, as this is the point people know less about.

    You have 3 ways to charge via USB C:

    1. 5v (up to 10-12w), very slow (like surface 3) but you can use phone chargers and power banks.
    2. PD (up to 100w): fast, but you need bigger chargers and only very few and relatively big power bank support it (this is what Surface book 2 has). Macbooks support this (but they also support 5v)
    3. Quick Charge (2.0 or 3.0, up to 15-18). Faster than 5v, but the chargers and power banks are generally as small as those for 5v. This would be ideal, as you could use a phone charger and many light power banks (the ideal would be having the 3 charging systems available, 5v, PD and QC).

    If they implement the 3 systems (like Samsung does with their notebooks), you can have virtually unlimited battery life with a coupe of power banks and use tiny QC chargers. My Samsung notebook 9 (2017) doesn't have a great battery life (4-5 hours) but I always have a small power bank with me (but to be honest I rarely use, as most of the time I don't need it more that 1-2 hours unplugged and I always have my galaxy s7 QC charger with me...)

  16. ommoran

    I had an RT, replaced it by trading it in at the MS Store for a Surface 3. I love that machine. It's not the fastest, I agree, and the memory is limited. But as a pure note-taking machine, it's smaller than a laptop, pen-capable, fast and efficient. It's like a dedicated OneNote clipboard, mostly, but it's great overall.

  17. PeterC

    Maybe it’s a 10” inch screen......... when fully folded out!! Comes complete with new touch interface for win 10 and inking experience. Go on..... dream a little. ?

  18. rameshthanikodi

    quite surprised to hear that the Surface team is taking a second crack at this. If they're really doing this, they must be confident that the Intel processor is actually able to deliver the performance and battery life that can compete with the iPad. Else why bother, and why wouldn't it be ARM instead of Intel?

  19. DadCooks

    Forget it unless it has a minimum 16GB RAM and a 500GB SSD. And who is kidding who, people want to use these things for laptop replacements and "entertainment".

  20. slbailey1

    Since this is a 10" Surface, will full Office be free?

  21. Jhambi

    If they want to go with lower end hardware why not use Windows 10 lean instead?. Pro will be bogged down with 4gb of RAM

  22. glenn8878

    Microsoft can corner the living room PC market by allowing Windows 10 to load on Xbox X.

    • scotttech1

      In reply to glenn8878:

      They should add it as a "VM" the way that other parts of the OS run on the XBOX via a Hyper-V like feature, they could "hibernate" the other VM's running on the xbox, then boot a Windows 10 VM - but I would not recommend they replace the xbox interface (whatever people think of it and it's current iteration, the xbox interface is better for xbox than a windows 10 desktop)

  23. MikeCerm

    With the death of Atom, Intel does not have a chipset to put into a 10-inch tablet that can possibly meet that price target and deliver 10 hours of battery life. They'd have to throttle a Gemini Lake way down... And then the performance would be no better than the Surface 3, and it still wouldn't deliver 10 hours of real-world battery life.

    • Waethorn

      In reply to MikeCerm:


      Atom is still available in Apollo Lake embedded designs, but they're a higher TDP than the N-series Apollo Lake Celerons and Pentiums. They more closely resemble a scaled-down version of the J-series Celerons and Pentiums. There are no Gemini Lake models yet.

      • MikeCerm

        In reply to Waethorn:

        Yeah, I meant the death of Atom as a 2W SoC product aimed at the consumer tablet market. I know the Atom name still appears on NAS and embedded server spec sheets, but not anywhere a consumer would see it. It'll definitely be interesting to see what Microsoft uses if this 10" tablet gets released, because Intel doesn't have any products in their current lineup that will work.


        It's too bad that Intel gave up on the small tablet market, because the Atom cores themselves were fine. What really held them back was the slow eMMC storage and 2GB of RAM that usually accompanied them. And the OS, obviously. Windows is still pretty painful as a tablet OS, even on the 12" Surface. Even today, stuff just doesn't scale well to that size and nobody is making UWP apps, so it kind of doesn't matter that Intel gave up.

  24. zself

    YAY!!!!! I've wanted this for years. Was hoping for Apple Mini alternative that wasn't Android.

  25. dkb1898

    Intel Chipset? Rounded Corners? Less than 10 hours of battery life...ugh doesn't sound promising

  26. Bart

    Shouldn't this tablet be in the Qualcomm camp more than Intel? I mean, 9,5hrs battery life probable equates to 6 hrs in real life use. This isn't going to cut it

  27. John Noonan

    The App Gap is still real for Windows. If you think it isn't, try using HBO Now on your Surface in Tablet Mode.

  28. cnic

    "....it's likely that the new Surface is aimed at the cost-conscious education market." I hope so! I worked with a school district when Apple's dominance in education was waning. Our mantra in the IT department was "let them use today what they will work with in their professional lives." That is, the PC with Windows. As you have observed, Paul, "They will want what they are familiar with in their professional lives." And, what they are becoming familiar with is Chrome Books. Those they may be limited in the business world today, but high school here in the U.S. is 4 years and college 4 or 5 additional years. Regardless how long large business may keep their systems around, we could see Chrome Books in business accelerate quickly. Yeah, I know: whatever gets the work done. And, Microsoft seems to be bracing for this possible shift by stressing their cloud prowess. Good for them, but running Windows on a PC that is fully functional without cloud connections remains my preference. This device that could compete successfully could help Windows (okay, Microsoft 365) relevant and keep me from seeming an stodgy old dinosaur.

  29. Paul Avvento

    If this is true then I think it is a sign that Windows on ARM is nowhere near ready. This is the type of device that would be perfect for ARM.

    • RR

      In reply to Paul_Avvento:

      But they can't sell a Qualcomm SOC at a $400. Although your main point is true as well. Their ARM journey requires several years to be able to do this, but with existing products in the segment, it will be an easier slot in when they (Windows that, is maybe not necessarily Surface, with lower end chips) have OS software ready for it around 2020/21. I think at that time, they will have the advantage of versitility unless Apple changes course and merges iOS & MacOS.

      • Chris_Kez

        In reply to RR:

        My vague recollection is that a higher end Snapdragon would cost an OEM more than an Intel Atom but considerably less than an Intel Core i chip. It's a bit of a guessing game because Qualcomm provides zero pricing information. You can't necessarily go by smart phone pricing because it's a slightly different market, and because it is sometimes more expensive to manufacture a smaller device (it takes a lot of work to make everything fit); but FWIW by the end of the year we'll be seeing 845-based phones selling for anywhere from $500-$1000 dollars.

  30. Brandon Mills

    Is Intune free for schools? Because if it isn't, it should be. It's a good idea, but needs easy management capabilities to back it up.

  31. Simard57

    If it is targeting Education it is interesting that they choose Windows 10 Pro and not the Education SKU.

  32. rmlounsbury

    I always wished that Microsoft had a quality tablet option outside of their larger Surface Pro line. I'd rather have a Windows 10 tablet over an iPad (I'd mention Android but that market is mostly non-existant) for simple day-to-day entertainment tasks. With something like this and iTunes being in the Microsoft Store I can get access to my iTunes movie library which has kept me on the iPad to date.


    I welcome the concept, though I doubt it ever gets much traction given the problems that Microsoft has with their whole app store. This is lessend a little a bit since it appears it will run Win32 apps. Of course, many of those apps are not optimized for touch which is a must in this space.


    That being said I'd still pick one up as a media consumption and light web usage device. Maybe have access to some old games that shouldn't have problems on the lighter weight processor this is sure to have. If I can use the Surface Pen in place of a mouse to control a cursor for non-touch friendly applications this would work just fine I think.

  33. Rick Foux

    Very interesting. While it's not the Windows Phone resurrection I was hoping for, I'm tempted to buy one of these when they're released if they would include a 8 GB RAM option. Surface Pen will almost certainly be a separate purchase, but then so is Apple Pencil, so it's a wash.


    I know it's most likely targeted towards education, but I wish this signaled Microsoft's return to the consumer market. I miss stuff like Groove Music (and yes, I actually used it).

  34. Bob Shutts

    They'll need to make a device that seldom crashes, and when it does, it does so elegantly. Like iPad.

  35. Daekar

    Does this come with a keyboard? Because if it doesn't, there is no point when so many capable touchscreen laptops are available in the $500 range.

    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to Daekar:

      Tablets are not laptop replacements. However since it is Windows it will work with any Bluetooth mouse or keyboard out there. Pretty strong attribute for those that want to turn it into a mini workhorse for some reason.


      • Daekar

        In reply to VancouverNinja:

        That's fair, and I have used Bluetooth keyboard and mouse with a Windows tablet in the past. The tablet experience on Windows was pretty darn good, too. However... a device without a keyboard is a consumption device, and Windows is not what the market seems to prefer for consumption.

        • VancouverNinja

          In reply to Daekar:

          I think MS just did not have the right solution compelling enough for people when the iPad came out, including right now. If this thing looks & feels like an iPad but is all Windows 10 and performs well I think MS will finally have it. Will be cool to see if they nailed it or not. We should see it announced next month is my hunch - this leak did not happen by accident IMO. ;-)

  36. simont

    Kind of surprising that no ARM model is mentioned, this is the type of device it was built for.

    • rmlounsbury

      In reply to simont:


      So far ARM performance has proven to be nothing short of brutal if you want to do any sort of Win32 app which is still the main app platform for Windows 10 despite their best efforts. If you have a device that can really only run MS Store apps it is pretty DoA vs. the iPad. Unless PWA's rapidly mature and make the MS Store more competitve but that seems a ways down the road still.


      ARM makes sense but until Microsoft can either a.) fix the perptual app-gap problem in the MS Store or b.) get PWA's mature enough to obviate Win32 any W10 ARM device is a non-starter for a lot of folks.

  37. simont

    Just needs some good apps. Kindle, Amazon Video (Offline), NetFlix etc.

    • kcarson97404

      In reply to simont:



      There is already a good Windows 10 Netflix app. But you are right. Amazon has really abandoned UWP. The Desktop version of Kindle is full featured, but it is ugly and not touch friendly. The lack of an amazon video app is tragic. So tired of Amazon and Google treating Windows PCs as a second class citizen. Maybe PWA can fill in the gap here.

  38. Dan1986ist

    So those, like myself, who have Dell's Venue 10 Pro tablet with 128 GB of storage and 4 GB of RAM, could you see yourself possible getting this surface tablet as a replacement or a secondary tablet?

    • SvenJ

      In reply to Dan1986ist: Yea, I could see myself replacing my Surface 3 with it. I don't think the Surface 3 bottom end was much more. I think it started at $499. It started at 4/64G. You could up it to 128G and add LTE. That's what I have and think it was ~$799. It is fine for consumption and light work, and is actually noticeably more portable than my Surface Pro3, which is pretty darn portable. This thing seems like a Surface 3 refresh, same size, same configurations, newer processor, newer ports.


    • mebby

      In reply to Dan1986ist: As a secondary tablet for me. I had Dell Venue 11 Pro ( now a Dell laptop).


  39. skane2600

    I guess the question is: What is the basis to believe that this product will do better than the Surface 3 did toward the end of its life?

  40. harmjr

    We need this and an 8" version too. For the love of god please only 128gb option or higher.

    There is a small market for these kind of devices. They will not sell like hotcakes but they will sell.

    • Kudupa

      In reply to harmjr:

      Sorry but No, Microsoft should never get into 8" market. Let them decide what they want to do and if OEMS want to release something then well and good. But, Microsoft shouldn't get into making anything smaller than 10".

      Windows doesnt have a credible app store and without it, its useless. 10 and smaller are mostly consumer devices and without appstore its useless. UWP or PWA are still long way out.

      • maethorechannen

        In reply to Kudupa:

        Sorry but No


        Sorry but Yes. The whole point of the Surface line is to show OEMs how it's done and OEMs have so far failed at creating decent 8" devices (no matter what OS it's running). Maybe MS could make a decent Note Taker/PDA, which is what I think a lot of people who want an 8 inch device are looking for.


  41. AnOldAmigaUser

    The issue will be what the cost is with a keyboard and pen. If that adds another $200 to the price, then it really is not a budget device anymore. An HP Stream 14 runs around $220, and while the Surface device should have better specs, this and Chromebooks are the sort of education market it will be competing with.

    I do not see School Districts hopping on the iPad for education bandwagon.

  42. Tony Barrett

    Are people actually asking for an x86 based Windows 10 tablet? Is there a market for this? Win10's tablet mode is pretty crippled anyway, and in many ways not as good as Windows 8.1 full start screen for tablet use. I can't see Apple getting too worried over this, and I can't see this making a dent in the Chromebook sales either - and they have proper keyboards.

  43. zorb56

    Well I've been holding on to my SP3 in hopes that a new Surface Pro would come out with lightning 3 for power and connectivity. So this is good news in the ports department. Hopefully they release a high-end device at the same time.

  44. XboxOneJimCramer

    Would the potential of this device be more of a miniature Surface Hub or a Surface Pro? (I haven't used a Surface Hub so not sure how similar the two are already).

  45. Nik

    One most important point is not clear in the main post:

    • could this version be used with a pen? (and, of course, with Win 10 handwriting recognition?)

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