You all remember the sleek hardware that Microsoft presented last week. Called Surface, the tablet has two versions – one with a Tegra 3 chipset, running Windows 8 RT, and another one with a proper x64 processor by Intel – that one running regular Windows 8 Pro. We’ve all been wondering what sort of pricing would the new tablets have.
Well, know we sorta know. According to “a close source to Microsoft”, the Tegra version will have a price tag of $599 and the Surface Pro will go for $999.
These prices work out with what we previously knew. Back at the announcement event, a Microsoft rep commented that the pricing of the Windows RT tablet would be around the same as that of other ARM tablets with 32GB and 64GB storage. The price of the Surface Pro, too, was supposed to be around the price of current Intel ultrabooks.
I would probably understand the high asking price for the Pro version – after all, they stuffed some serious hardware in an impressively thin shell and the thing has a FullHD screen. They are not even that many laptops with a FullHD screen, let alone tablets. The Surface Pro is an engineering feat.
The RT version, on the other hand, sounds like a regular run-of-the-mill tablet with just a different OS on it. Now, $599 is probably ok for a top-of-the-line 32GB tablet and it even matches the price of the latest iPads, so obviously Microsoft does not intend to go on a price war. But somehow the tablet suddenly lost its appeal to me. Now that I know that for its price, I would be able to get any other premium tablet on the market, I kinda started to doubt whether it’s worth it.
Bloomberg also reports that the first available Surface models will be Wi-Fi-only, so these prices most probably will go even higher for the 3G equipped versions.
Since Microsoft is obviously not after making this platform more affordable than the competition, it would be interesting to see how they intend to lure in new customers. The tablet market is severely saturated already – consumers are already spoilt for choice. The Kindle Fire sales storm last holiday season already proved that there’s a huge market opportunity only for sub-200 tablets. In the $500+ range, the iPad simply has no competition. I wonder how all that fits in Microsoft’s plans for their tablet business. Perhaps they’ll let some other manufacturers build the cheap machines. Because without cheap machines, I don’t see them making much out of it.