Microsoft officially threw its hat into the tablet ring this year, with the Surface tablet’s June reveal causing quite the frenzy among tech enthusiasts. Just a few months later, we finally know the price and availability details for Microsoft’s latest product.
The Surface with Windows RT tablet will land on store shelves this Fall, with a release date October 26th, 2012, in the US and Canada. The product can be purchased at all Microsoft Stores, with online availability set for Australia, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom, as well as the US and Canada.
Those interested in Surface will have to pay quite a pretty penny, with the tablet starting at $499 USD / $519 CAD / £399 for the 32GB SKU. For $599 USD / $619 CAD / £479.00, potential buyers can pick up the 32GB model with a black Touch Cover. The final of the three SKUs, a 64GB unit with a black Touch Cover, will cost $699 USD / $719 CAD / £559.
Separate Touch Covers will retail for $119 USD / $129.99 CAD / £99, and come in cyan, black, white, magenta or red (note: magenta and red are only available to US customers). A black Type Cover will also be available for $129 USD / $139.99 CAD / £110. Currently, no details have been released regarding the pricing or release date of the Surface Pro tablet.
Surface with Windows RT will face some stiff competition this holiday season, as it will be going up against other heavyweight tablets such as the Nexus 7 and the rumored iPad Mini. Though Surface has impressive tech, Apple does have brand awareness in its favor. Similarly, Microsoft has struggled to penetrate the mobile phone market, with its line of Windows Phones consistently being outsold by Android and iOS powered devices. It will be interesting to see if Surface can thrive in an increasingly cluttered market, or if it will just turn into another Windows Phone.
There’s also the problem of Windows RT. Many developers have spoken out against the upcoming Windows 8 platform and it’s mobile variants – including Mojang’s Notch. The criticisms, simplified for this article, essentially concern the closed nature of the OS, which forces developers to obtain Microsoft certification for their software. Certification is a double edged sword. While it allows consumers to enjoy a slew of reliable software, it also hampers developers by giving Microsoft full control. Whether or not these criticisms will have a large impact on Surface’s future remain to be seen, though things likely won’t end well if developers decide to withhold support.
Surface releases October 26, 2012.
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