Microsoft has announced the prices for Surface, its first branded tablets that will launch Oct. 26.
The Surface RT tablet will come in at three price points at launch:
- $499 for a 32GB version
- $599 for a 32GB version that comes with a black Touch Cover
- $699 for a 64GB version that comes with a black Touch Cover
The Touch Cover — the thin tablet covers for the Surface that double as keyboards (see below) — will sell for $119.99 and will come in black, white, magenta, cyan and red.
The Type Cover — a slightly thicker Surface cover that features moving keys — will sell for $129.99 and come in black. (Microsoft doesn’t specify that the cover below is a Type Cover but it appears to be):
A limited number of Surface RT tablets are available for pre-order starting at 9 a.m. today. Information on pre-ordering is here.
The Surface will be available for purchase starting Oct. 26 in the permanent Microsoft Stores as well as the 34 holiday pop-up stores Microsoft is opening. It will also be available for sale online in the U.S., Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong and the U.K.
The version of the Surface tablet that is launching Oct. 26 runs Windows RT, the version of Windows 8 designed to run on ARM-based processors. (Battery-conserving ARM-based chips power many of today’s tablets, including the iPad.) It comes with a version of Office installed that includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote.
Another version of the Surface tablet, called Surface Pro, will launch in about three months. The Surface Pro will run on x86 processors produced by the likes of Intel and AMD. Those chips are more robust but also use up more battery power.
The Surface is Microsoft’s first foray into making its own branded computing devices. In addition to the thin covers, the Surface has an integrated kickstand built into the tablet, allowing it to stand on its own.
Update 10:19 a.m.:
Here are more details of the Surface RT, from Microsoft:
- Exterior: 10.81 x 6.77 x 0.37 inches, 1.5 pounds, VaporMg casing, dark titanium color, volume and power buttons
- CPU: NVIDIA T30, 2 GB of RAM
- Wireless: Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0 technology
- Cameras: Two 720p HD cameras, front- and rear-facing
- Audio: Two microphones, stereo speakers
- Ports: Full-size USB 2.0, microSDXC card slot, headset jack, HD video out port, cover port
- Sensors: Ambient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass
- Power Supply: 24W power supply
- Apps included: Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT Preview2 (Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote), Windows Mail and Windows Messaging, SkyDrive, Windows Internet Explorer 10, Bing, Xbox Music, Xbox Video, and Xbox Games
The Surface’s main competitor, Apple’s new iPad, starts at $499 for the 16GB version. The 32GB version is $599.
Apple today, by the way, sent out invitations for an Oct. 23 event that many expect will feature the announcement of an iPad Mini — a 7- or 8-inch version of its tablet market-dominating iPad.
(Photos from Microsoft)