Microsoft Corp. is going for the low-end of the personal computing market with a smaller, cheaper Surface Go tablet that takes on Apple Inc.’s cheapest iPad.
The Surface Go has a 10-inch screen, about the same size as the entry-level iPad. At $399, the device is $400 cheaper than the current Surface Pro tablet, but has slower Intel Corp. processors and about four hours less battery time, Microsoft said. The new tablet weighs 1.15 pounds, far lighter than existing Surface products. It goes on sale Aug. 2 with Wi-Fi connectivity. Cellular versions are coming later.
The Surface Go is still more expensive than the cheapest iPad, but the Go tablet is compatible with professional features, like the detachable keyboard, that are missing on the entry-level iPad. Bloomberg News reported on Microsoft’s new tablet line in May.
Microsoft release a $499 Surface 3 tablet in 2015, but discontinued the product in 2016. The software giant kicked off its consumer hardware push in 2012 with the launch of the Surface RT. These tablets didn’t resonate with consumers, so the company focused more on pricier Pro models.
So far, Microsoft has struggled to make a hit Surface product. The business generated $4.4 billion in revenue in the past four quarters. Apple sold $20 billion worth of iPads in the same period.
Microsoft has had trouble keeping the device a secret, with rumors of Surface Go floating around for sometime. Microsoft even hinted at the release date and time on Twitter this week.