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.
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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.
<blockquote><a href="#276228"><em>In reply to jaredthegeek:</em></a></blockquote><p>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.</p>
<blockquote><a href="#276251"><em>In reply to skane2600:</em></a></blockquote><p>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 …</p>
<blockquote><a href="#276455"><em>In reply to RR:</em></a></blockquote><p>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. </p>
<blockquote><a href="#276465"><em>In reply to skane2600:</em></a></blockquote><p>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). </p><p>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.</p>
<blockquote><a href="#276619"><em>In reply to RR:</em></a></blockquote><p>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.</p><p><br></p><p><br></p>
<blockquote><a href="#276191"><em>In reply to Paul_Avvento:</em></a></blockquote><p>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.</p>
<p>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?</p>
<blockquote><a href="#276229"><em>In reply to Silversee:</em></a></blockquote><p>It will certainly be newer, probably faster, but 'better' is subjective. </p>
<blockquote><a href="#276298"><em>In reply to scotttech1:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>A 10 inch display vs 12.5 inch display? That sounds worse to me. But as I said – subjective.</p><p><br></p><p>"plus USB C, old people are going to hate it"</p><p><br></p><p>If by "old people" you mean non-tech people, you're probably right. </p>
<blockquote><a href="#276433"><em>In reply to curtisspendlove:</em></a></blockquote><p>"I have to use this PC for stuff, but I can’t find Facebook, Instagram, or twitter on it."</p><p><br></p><p>I image these same people saying "I keep hearing about this thing people call a web bowser and the intersomething. What is that?"</p>
<blockquote><a href="#276511"><em>In reply to curtisspendlove:</em></a></blockquote><p>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.</p>
<blockquote><a href="#276433"><em>In reply to curtisspendlove:</em></a></blockquote><p>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. </p>
<blockquote><a href="#276461"><em>In reply to RR:</em></a></blockquote><p>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.</p>
<blockquote><a href="#276322"><em>In reply to BlackForestHam:</em></a></blockquote><p>Are you advising Microsoft or your want them to go away?</p>
<blockquote><a href="#276639"><em>In reply to BlackForestHam:</em></a></blockquote><p>There's rarely agreement on tech origins but IBM probably has a good claim on this one with their Simon Personal Communicator in the early 90s. Still Microsoft had a smartphone 5 years before Apple although Apple popularized a new approach with their iPhone that mostly eliminated the earlier ones.</p>
<p>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. ?</p>