Microsoft may be planning to launch a new tablet featuring a low-power processor and a relatively low price tag.
WinBeta reports that the upcoming Surface 3 tablet will be the successor to last year’s Surface 2. But it’ll have an Intel processor rather than an ARM chip and it’ll run the full Windows operating system instead of Windows RT.
The new tablet will be a low-cost alternative to the Surface Pro 3 which has a starting price of $799.
According to WinBeta, Microsoft could launch the tablet at (or before) the BUILD developer conference in late April. That means it would likely run Windows 8.1 for now, but it would probably be eligible for a free update to Windows 10 when the next version of Microsoft’s operating system launches this summer.
Word has it that the tablet will feature an Intel Atom or Intel Core M processor, feature a fanless design, and be marketed as a non-professional device.
Given Microsoft’s latest stance on what makes a device “professional,” that could be a sign that new tablet will have a screen size of 10.1 inches or smaller and that it’ll come with a free version of Microsoft Office (which may have limited functionality).
Last year there were reports that Microsoft as working on a Surface Mini tablet which was eventually scrapped. That model was said to feature an ARM-based chip and Windows RT software and it was likely designed at a time when that strategy seemed to make sense… which is to say before tablets with Intel chips and the full Windows 8.1 experience started showing up for as little as $100 or less.