According to Microsoft, their upcoming Surface with Windows RT tablet will be priced at $499 but won’t come with the associated Touch Cover. If you want the iconic cover, be prepared to fork over another $100.
The buzz surround Microsoft’s Surface tablets has built to a fever pitch as the release of Windows 8 inches closer. Unfortunately, additional details about these new products lacked the one thing many people were waiting for: a bona fide price. Now, after an update to the Microsoft site with pre-order prices, we finally know and it may be a bitter pill to swallow for anyone with high hopes of a well priced iPad competitor from Microsoft.
According to Microsoft’s Canadian site, the pre-order pricing will be as follows:
Surface RT 32GB w/o Touch Cover: $519 ($499USD)
Surface RT 32GB w/ Touch Cover: $619 ($599USD)
Surface RT 64GB w/ Touch Cover: $719 ($699USD)
As you may notice, the entry level $519 ($499USD) 10.6” RT doesn’t come in capacities below 32GB and isn’t available with the revolutionary Touch Cover Microsoft touts in all of its marketing materials. Adding a Touch Cover with its integrated keyboard will bump the price to $619. If you choose to buy a cover afterwards, be prepared to shell out an eye-watering $129.99. There is also an optional Type Cover with standard keys for $139.99. All versions come with a preview version of Office RT with the final software being available over MS Update (for free) in the near future..
Ironically, while Surface tablets are only available in Black for the time being, the additional Touch Covers are only available in either White or Cyan. This means the only way you can currently get a black cover is to order it directly with the $619 or $719 Surface RT.
With these prices, Microsoft may have some trouble drumming up support for their new Surface ecosystem. Apple’s iPad 2 USD pricing starts at $399 for the 16GB version and represents an entry level point which Microsoft hasn’t been unable to achieve. Meanwhile, Surface RT does compete price-wise with the newest iPad models which start at $499 for a 16GB version and runs to $699 in its 64GB form.
Surface with Windows RT also comes with a 1 year hardware warranty, though only 90 days of technical support.
The real challenge is Microsoft’s assault against a heavily entrenched competitor without much end user product recognition or an aggressive pricing strategy. Will this move of offering more capacity on a lesser known device pay off? Will this push fence-sitters to iOS or Android devices? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.