Microsoft’s Surface line of Windows 10 PCs have mostly been marketed as premium devices. But according to a new Bloomberg report, the company is planning to bring back a good ol’ fashioned cheap Surface, most likely to get in on some of that sweet sweet iPad money Apple’s been raking in (or to give us something to buy if we can’t afford its giant 4K touchscreen).
Bloomberg reports the inexpensive Surface will be different from Microsoft’s previously scrapped 8-inch Surface Mini, and use a 10-inch display. That puts the cheap Surface closer to iPad territory, but with a rumoured price of around $400 (£296; UK pricing and availability TBA), it’s still more expensive than Apple’s cheapest iPad, which starts at £319 and now has Apple Pencil support.
The new device will reportedly run on an Intel processor, have storage options up to 128GB, support optional integrated LTE, and use Windows 10 Pro, so you can certainly bet it’ll support Microsoft’s own Surface Pen accessories. And yeah, the kickstand will probably be there, too.
The company’s no stranger to cheap devices. The Surface 3, released in 2015, started at £420, but was too expensive considering what you were getting. And the first Surface device, released back in 2012, was the £399 Surface RT, but it didn’t run what you’d traditionally consider “Windows.” It ran the ill-fated Windows RT, Microsoft’s version of Windows 8 built for mobile devices. To say the original Surface was a flop is an understatement, but most of the blame laid with the green and unimpressive Windows RT.
As an inexpensive competitor to the iPad running a desktop operating system, it may be easier to stomach buying a Surface for a class of unruly children. The rumoured device might also be just good enough for someone who needs some sort of portable device that lets you use a track pad or mouse. Just remember, you’ll probably have to pay extra for the keyboard cover. And the LTE support. And the Surface Pen. And the extra storage. [Bloomberg]