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Microsoft Businesses Windows Hardware

Microsoft To Launch a Line of Lower-Cost Surface Tablets With 10-inch Displays By Second Half of 2018, Report Says (bloomberg.com) 75

Microsoft plans to launch a line of lower-cost Surface tablets as soon as the second half of 2018, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. These devices should help Microsoft improve its market share in the iPad-led hybrid machines market, the outlet noted. From the report: Microsoft has tried this before. The software giant kicked off its consumer-oriented hardware push in 2012 with the launch of the original Surface RT. At the time, it was priced starting at $499. After the tablets didn't resonate with consumers and product reviewers, Microsoft pivoted to the more-expensive Surface Pro, a line which has gained steam and likely contributed to demand for a pro-oriented iPad, which Apple launched in 2015.

The new tablets will feature 10-inch screens -- around the same size as a standard iPad, but smaller than the 12-inch screens used on the Surface Pro laptop line. The new Surfaces, priced about $400, will have rounded edges like an iPad, differing from the squared off corners of current models. They'll also include USB-C connectivity, a first for Surface tablets, a new charging and syncing standard being used by some of the latest smartphones. The tablets are expected to be about 20 percent lighter than the high-end models, but will have around four hours fewer of battery life. (The current Surface Pro can last 13.5 hours on a single charge.)

Microsoft To Launch a Line of Lower-Cost Surface Tablets With 10-inch Displays By Second Half of 2018, Report Says

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  • by DarkRookie ( 5030953 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2018 @10:41AM (#56620446)
    I am pretty sure this will run Win 10, and nothing else without degraded performance on the system.
    • Underpowered for whom? Yes I run Lightroom on my Surface Pro and it starts getting strained. But the vast majority of users out there will at the very worst subject their little toys to running Word or Excel.

      Not everyone needs a workstation. Those people who play with tiny tablets definitely not so.

      • Or Chrome, the eater of RAM.
        Chrome would prolly cripple the system after 5 tabs.
        • You know that Chrome doesn't linearly eat memory right? Do the experiment. Yourself. Just because having one app open uses 400MB of RAM doesn't mean that you can't open more than 10 on a 4GB system.

      • Underpowered for whom?

        Have you even used the internet once in the last 5 years you fucking imbecile?

        • No I don't know what this internet thing is. But I heard it's quite big so clearly I would need a super computer to use it.

          By the way did you have a point or just suffer from a medical condition that requires you to post senseless words?

          • You have brain damage. You think the market needs or wants yet another slow piece of shit tablet. Kill yourself for being so stupid.

            • You have brain damage. You think the market needs or wants yet another slow piece of shit tablet. Kill yourself for being so stupid.

              I didn't know some people were so easy to trigger. Now on this chart, show me where the low priced tablet touched you inappropriately.

    • I'd take Win 10 over OSX or iOS any time. I've been using the latter two for awhile now and feel severely limited by them when compared to Win 10. I've never been a fan of Microsoft or its business practices but I feel some credit is due. For one thing, I've never bought hardware and found it didn't work on Windows.
  • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2018 @11:01AM (#56620512) Homepage Journal

    I would have expected Microsoft to pack it in by now. They've been at this mobile Windows thing since the 1990s (in a box somewhere I have a clamshell WinCE HPC running one of the earliest versions of WinCE - nice system actually, but...) and virtually everyone has made a success of it who's tried, except them. Apple (twice!) Google. Palm. Even Atari! (No, seriously, they came up with a pocket PC that was a runaway success, you may remember it from Terminator 2, John Connor uses it briefly to hack an ATM...) ATARI! You know, the company that made one of the first games consoles and then pretty much failed at everything since, but for a brief six month window in the early 1990s they had a hit on their hands which... uh, they fucked up like everything else.

    And now they're at it again.

    Maybe if they can get Windows 10 to run Android apps, like ChromeOS, they might stand a chance.

    • by rogoshen1 ( 2922505 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2018 @11:08AM (#56620556)

      Billions upon billions of dollars in the war chest, and nothing to really spend it on. So invest a few billion in mobile, why not?

      They might pull an xbox type win out of it, or lose a few billion. Either way, they aren't materially impacted.

    • I would have expected Microsoft to pack it in by now. They've been at this mobile Windows thing since the 1990s

      Other than a comparison to the Surface RT failure where does it say Windows Mobile? If these things run Windows 10 S it will already be lightyears ahead of the Surface RT failure and a clear indication that MS could actually be learning from past mistakes.

      There's nothing fundamentally wrong with low-cost computing. But MS's attempt so far have not been compatible with the traditional term "computing". If they can cram a Surface Pro 2/3 into a smaller space with a lower cost they may actually be on to a winn

      • Where did *I* say Windows Mobile?

        I said mobile Windows. With a lowercase 'm'. I'm referring to Microsoft's 25-30 year campaign to try to make Windows a serious contender in the mobile space.

        With absolutely no successes.

        Not one.

        Zero.

        Zilch.

        Sometimes they produced good products the market just wasn't interested in (original WinCE, Windows 8 - which was an excellent mobile operating system, it's just a shame they tried to market it as a desktop system), but regardless, they've never managed to make

        • by c ( 8461 )

          With absolutely no successes.

          There was a period of time (around Windows Mobile 6) where they really were a strong contender in the business space.

          Then RIM got up to speed.

        • You didn't. Disregard the fact I put the words backwards and my post still stands. Mobile Windows efforts to date have almost universally involved some incompatible platform, you even acknowledged it by mentioning Windows CE.

      • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

        MS don't like the idea of low cost computing, as they account for a significant amount of the cost which other competitors in the low cost space (linux netbooks, android) don't have.
        If they start giving away their software for free or very low cost, then that would significantly reduce their profits, so they come out with intentionally crippled versions while their competitors are not crippling their offerings.
        And then their software typically has much higher system requirements than others, so the low cost

        • as they account for a significant amount of the cost

          Only for small players. OEM licenses for windows on in bulk purchases are down in the order of $15-20.

    • Maybe if they can get Windows 10 to run Android apps, like ChromeOS, they might stand a chance.

      Well, that was the whole initial purpose of WSL / BashOnWindows.
      Except it's currently still limited to file I/O and some network sockets.
      So they pivoted WSL into the current "tool for devs to run and test linux dirsto's userspace", and Windows 10 Mobile is still without any access to the 2 main relevant app ecosystem.

      Meaning that due to networking effect, their platform is more or less useless, except for the couple of weird user who are only interested into phone functionality and are happy with the one or

      • And its stuck in the Store. Do not forget that.
        Hey, I was one of those 5 ZuneHD user. It was actually quite nice. It had a couple of neat games.
        Now, the software that you HAD to use to put music on it was worse than iTunes. Also, IIRC, the format support wasn't great. I think it was MP3, WAV, and whatever the MS one was. The video player would only do .WMV. That wasn't a deal break for me. Screen was too small for movies, and my music collection is almost all MP3s.
    • virtually everyone has made a success of it who's tried, except them.

      Really? You have an interesting definition of success. Apple's Newton was definitely a failure. Palm succeeded for a while but rested on their laurels. Ditto for Blackberry (does anyone even remember the Playbook?). Was the Atari Portfolio any more successful than the Toshiba Libretto? Sharp Zaurus? HP TouchPad? Casio? Psion? Nokia? ZEOS? OmniGo? Poqet? This market segment is littered with failures. The only 2 companies to consist

      • Newton kickstarted the entire thing. The product was selling well and considered a player until Steve Jobs unexpectedly cancelled it. Most contemporary reviews claim Jobs did it out of spite, because Newton was the baby of the man who fired him.

        Palm and Blackberry succeeded. Period. Yes, they eventually stopped, but if that makes them failures you might as well claim that, say, CRT TVs or cassette tapes were failures too. The Commodore 64 is the biggest failure in computing history by that metric.

        Portf

    • Palm

      Windows CE killed Palm OS. Not sure what you're talking about there.

      Also the Surface line has been highly profitable with billions in revenue per quarter. So I don't call that a failure.

  • by cacheMan ( 150533 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2018 @11:23AM (#56620672)

    Why is the singleness of the charge always noted?

    The current Surface Pro can last 40.5 hours on a triple charge.

    • Why is the singleness of the charge always noted?

      The current Surface Pro can last 40.5 hours on a triple charge.

      That's nothing. Why change words when you can omit them. My 3 year old Surface Pro runs indefinitely "on charge".

  • My biggest problem with Microsoft is their continual efforts in monetizing long term use of Windows 10 products.

    They really need to take a look at what is being offered by others (Google & Apple) and explain what is the tangible benefit to a customer of being part of the Microsoft infrastructure and pay for Office 365 and other money grabs, er, value added features.

  • by Misagon ( 1135 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2018 @11:32AM (#56620750)

    I suspect that this will be yet another half-arsed compromise â" neither a good tablet nor a good laptop PC.

    While much of Windows supports touch, even five years since Windows 8, many tasks in the operating system still require a precise pointing device such as a mouse, touch-pad or stylus. For instance, try selecting and copying more than one file at once! Sorry, can't do. Your fingers are too fat!

    I also suspect that the mentioned USB-C port is going to be the only port on the device, like on most 8-inch and 10-inch Windows tablets today ... so you can't connect that mouse without an adaptor.
    And as usual with Windows, you won't be able to use that port for file transfer to/from a real PC either as you would with a real tablet running Android or iOS.

    • I have been using my Surface 3 without a keyboard for 3 years. Works fine. You know you can use your finger like a mouse pointer and draw over the files you want to select, right? I will give you that the checkboxes need a way for you to lock in what you have already selected in the case of fat finger.
    • Manual file management isn't a core task for modern computers. My kids have been using a Surface 3 for a couple of years and so far as I know none of them has ever opened a file manager. Even then, I think you're overstating the difficulty. Region select is at least as easy on a touch interface as with a mouse; individual selection isn't as easy, but hardly impossible.

      It probably won't have a lot of ports, but that is true of "real" tablets running iOS and Android. But that's okay because you don't have

    • Sorry, can't do. Your fingers are too fat!

      First world problem ;-)

      so you can't connect that mouse without an adaptor.

      WHAT ARE YOU DOING! It's 2018. Why does your mouse have anything that connects to a device with anything other than magic! I'm posting this on my Surface Pro right now, and the only USB port definitely doesn't have a mouse attached to it, yet I have a grand total of 3 pointing devices (mouse, touchpad, and a stylus). About the only thing you need USB-C for is bandwidth intensive devices, like the HDD I've plugged in to mine.

      And as usual with Windows, you won't be able to use that port for file transfer to/from a real PC either as you would with a real tablet running Android or iOS.

      You use a cable for that? Twenty Eighteen man!

  • by Graymalkin ( 13732 ) * on Wednesday May 16, 2018 @11:34AM (#56620772)

    While the article points out the Surface RT and its failure it neglects to mention the Surface 3. It was a smaller and cheaper Surface Pro with an Intel Core m chip and a max 4GB of RAM. The digitizer wasn't as good as the Pro but wasn't bad.

    They were decent Windows laptops (with the keyboard cover) but shitty tablets. Far too heavy to use comfortably in a tablet form factor for long periods. The battery life under Windows 8 was good but under 10 really sucked.

    Unless this new tablet is literally the size and weight of an iPad Pro there's no way for them to really compete as a Tablet. They'll make ok Windows laptops that can occasionally be used without a keyboard. Windows 10 also needs to suck way less on low powered machines, maybe even changing it back to an operating system from an ad delivery platform.

    • While the article points out the Surface RT and its failure it neglects to mention the Surface 3

      Yup, the Surface 3 was excellent; I have one, and I'm using it every day for lighter stuff (for example, this post). Very light, good build, battery life good enough for my needs. Add full Windows and a pretty good keyboard, and it's pretty much replaced my phone for generic e-mail/web browsing.

      I particularly like the screen size; for me, it strikes the perfect balance between usability and portability - the Surface 3 fits snugly in my coat oversize pocket. I was annoyed when MS discontinued the smaller scr

      • I too have a Surface 3, love the hardware but can't stand Windows. Every time I think "it won't be so bad" it ends up worse than I expected. The Surfaces are also a complete pain in the ass to get Linux on and running reliably. These unfeatures combined for me to just get an iPad Pro (10").

        I want a tablet that wakes and sleeps instantly and works well primarily in tablet mode. The Surface 3 sort of sleeps and wakes reliably but far less so than the iPad. The on-screen keyboard is terrible which necessitates

  • I got one of the original Surface Pro. In fact, I pre-ordered it since, at the time, it was the first real product that allowed me to take my note on a laptop while I was at the university.

    Sadly, it's not the case anymore.

    My Surface Pro is getting old and I'll probably replace it soon. Right now, I have my eye on the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1. Compared to the Surface pro, the XPS :

    - Look sharp and got a real work potential (I always hated the Type Cover of Surface Pro and it's a mediocre laptop at best)

  • Low cost? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Low cost... $499. For real?
  • by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2018 @12:07PM (#56621004) Journal
    "Microsoft to try to convince people that their half-assed piece of shit Windows tablets are somehow better than an iPad"
    ..and I don't even own any Apple products nor do I care to.
  • I don't see how a 10 inch screen on a system that will cost $520, when you add in the cost of the keyboard, will be desired by many people. Windows 10 for consumers is a mess that's getting messier, as Microsoft continues to not run full QA on it, making consumers their final line of quality assurance when failures are noticed every month now. Eventually, Windows will be used only in large corporations as consumers continue to move to smartphones and Chromebooks. Mac market share has doubled since Windows 8
  • My surface pro 4 lasts a few hours at most just doing light browsing. if I turn off all networking/blue tooth and turn down the screen brightness I can get a little more reading .cbr comic archives. (primary purpose of tablet purchase). I wish it had a good battery life, I could use it at work for meeting notes and diagramming but it doesn't and I don't.
  • Unless they're committing to include Office or at least part of it, this will just be another Microsoft device with no good tablet apps. The reason their phone's went nowhere is because they were years late to the app stores and still are so far behind Apple and Google, they will not get much developer interest.

    With the limited storage space, and probably an under-powered CPU for real work, it's probably targeted for media consumption mostly and for that an iPad or Samsung Galaxy S3 or S2 tablet will work

  • Just last week I bought a $250 Chuwi Hi12 tablet: 12 inch with some underpowered atom processor. Makes for a great e-book reader. I installed kubuntu 18.04 on it, replacing win10 and android 5.1 it came with. There were about 10 partitions on it, don't know why.

    Touch and wifi worked out of the box. Instant on (aka suspend) is of course much slower. Haven't tried to get sound to work, since I don't need it. I use "onboard" for on screen keyboard (also features a right click).

    I don't see how microsoft can com

  • ... like any other hardware they have put out the last decade
  • Running Android? If not then no deal.

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