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Microsoft is hoping to conquer tablet market with a cheaper Surface model

In a move to step up competition in the tablet market, Microsoft (MSFT) is planning to launch a cheaper Surface tablet after failing to attract consumers with original Surface RT. However, it is still unclear how Microsoft intends to outrun other dominant players including Apple (AAPL) and Google’s (GOOGL) Android.

The Surface RT tablet was launched in 2012, but it failed largely as it ran Windows RT, which is a watered-down version of Windows. Not only was the operating system tremendously confusing, it also lacked enough apps. At a price tag of $499, consumers had better alternatives available in the market. Meanwhile, Surface Pro, which came with a full version of Windows, came with a higher price tag of $799.

Microsoft is currently mulling a tablet priced around $400, which is expected to hit the market in the second half of 2018, according to the Bloomberg. The tablet is likely to come with a 10-inch screen with 20% of the device’s weight cut down. It will also feature Intel (INTC) processor and graphics chips, LTE support, USB-C connectivity, better battery life, Windows 10 Pro, and 64 or 128 GB storage with 200 GB expandable microSD slot.

Microsoft is currently mulling a tablet priced around $400, which is expected to hit the market in the second half of 2018.

In comparison, Apple’s iPad comes with a 9.7-inch screen, iOS 11.3 operating system, A10 fusion chipset, 2GB RAM, 32 or 128 GB flash memory, LTE support, 8MP rear camera, 1.2MP front-facing camera, and 32.4 Wh Li-Ion battery.

Meanwhile, the Surface tablets, which can also act as mini-laptops, are expected to face stiff competition from Google’s Chromebook as well. Surface devices had a lackluster 2017 due to an aging Surface Pro line, which led to a lower volume of sales. For the past four quarters, Microsoft Surface hardware business made only $4.4 billion in revenue, while Apple iPad generated about $20 billion with about 44 million sales volumes.

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