To be clear, these tablets are the ARM-based versions running Windows RT, not the more fully-functional (and thus, more pricey) Surface tablets that will run Windows 8 Pro. Those will launch about 90 days after Windows 8, which itself launches on Oct. 26.
The entry-level Surface RT tablet will cost $499 for a 32GB version. Isn't it great that you can use that Touch Cover and its built-in keyboard? Uh, no.
That pricing doesn't include the Touch Cover. If you want to get the Touch Cover, it's an additional $100.
The Surface RT tablet will come in three SKUs, a 32GB version priced at $499, a 32GB version bundled with a black Touch Cover priced at $599, and a 64GB version bundled with a black Touch Cover priced at $699.
As with the original Model T, black with be your only option for a bundled Touch Cover. You can also get unbundled Touch Covers in black, white, magenta, cyan and red priced at $119.99. There is also the more touch-typing friendly Type Cover, which comes in black (only) for $129.99.
Microsoft isn't like Amazon.com, which prices its Kindle Fire tablets so low that it makes little to nothing on the tablets themselves. After all, Amazon.com wants to use the Kindle Fire to create a gateway into its Web store. It can, therefore, be less concerned about profit on the hardware.
However, Microsoft could be looking at a Xoom-style debacle. Priced at a higher number than the entry-level iPad, the Xoom never became a solid hit, despite the fact that its specs were greater than the iPad.
In terms of specs, the Surface RT will have:
- NVIDIA T30 processor
- 2 GB of RAM
- wi-fi (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0 technology
- Two 720p HD cameras, front- and rear-facing
- Two microphones, stereo speakers
- Full-size USB 2.0, microSDXC card slot, headset jack, HD video out port, cover port
- Ambient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass