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Everything We Know So Far About Microsoft’s Low-Cost Surface

New Surface models on the tablet for late 2018 launch
By Bogdan Popa

Microsoft is projected to take the wraps off a new Surface model later this year, and contrary to what many people expected, it won’t be the eagerly-anticipated Surface Phone.

Instead, what Microsoft plans to launch is a completely new low-cost Surface model whose purpose will be to tackle the markets where the company’s premium devices sell in lower numbers due to the high price.

More like a successor to the Surface 3, the new low-cost device will be a completely new device borrowing some design cues from the existing models in an attempt to expand the Surface brand. Obviously, the key capabilities of the Surface lineup would be retained.

Since it’s a low-cost model, the new Surface won’t impress in terms of hardware. Microsoft won’t go for Intel Core i5 or i7 chips, but instead will pick Pentium processors.

For example, the entry-level Surface will feature an Intel Pentium Silver N5000 processor, while the upgraded configuration likely to be positioned as the top-of-the-range will be equipped with Intel Pentium Gold 4410Y or the Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y.

The device will feature 4GB RAM, and there’s a chance that the top version can be upgraded to 8GB RAM. No specifics are available on storage, but microSD card support will definitely be offered and Microsoft will focus heavily on cloud storage capabilities.
Original Microsoft Surface 3, also more affordable than other models
Original Microsoft Surface 3, also more affordable than other models

A 10-inch display will be offered on a design with rounded corners, which makes the device easier to carry around. This is particularly important because it’s aimed at students, so the new Surface should also be lighter than all the other models, which could be a sign that other materials could be used too.

A USB Type-C port will be adopted for charging, and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi will obviously be available. LTE versions of the Surface will be sold separately for Internet connectivity on the go.

Microsoft will also launch dedicated accessories that can be used with the new low-cost Surface, like keyboards, mice and Surface Pens. This means the new Surface will work and feel like a premium model, without giving up on the 2-in-1 form factor.

Without a doubt, the price tag of this new device is the most important tidbit. Microsoft is expected to launch the new Surface with a $400 price, though customers would have to pay more eventually when also buying the accessories mentioned above.

Most likely, Microsoft will sell a Touch Cover keyboard between $50 and $100, with a Surface Pen to cost at least that much. This means the device could end up costing some $600 with all the available accessories purchased.

Since it’d be particularly aimed at students and teachers, the low-cost Surface is expected to see daylight just ahead of the back-to-school season.

This would allow the software giant to benefit from the growing demand for such devices, while at the same time signing deals with schools in the United States to supply them with its new Surface.

The education market has become a priority for tech giants, and Microsoft itself is trying to adapt its offering to better fit educators’ needs.

Last year, the firm launched Windows 10 S, a dedicated Windows 10 version, which in the meantime became just a mode for the OS, which restricts the use of Win32 software and prevents users from installing apps from other places than the Microsoft Store.

The new Surface, however, may not run Windows 10 with S Mode, but instead come with full capabilities and Win32 software support.

All of these could change at any moment given that Microsoft hasn’t confirmed the project, and this allows the company to make silent modifications without fans around the world going crazy about them.

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