Microsoft announced its Surface tablet earlier this year, and now the Redmond, Wash.-based company has finally clarified where its device will stand in the tablet market. On Tuesday, the PC-software manufacturer revealed the price points for its first self-branded slate via its online stores.
Microsoft's 10.6-inch Surface tablet, powered by Windows RT, will be released on Oct. 26 starting at $499 for the 32GB model. With the Touch Cover, it will cost $599. Microsoft is offering a 64GB version for $699 with a Touch Cover included.
In addition to revealing the cost for its tablets, Microsoft also announced the price and available colors for its covers before removing the product listing. The Touch Cover will cost $119 and the Type Cover will sell for $129.99. The Touch Cover is available in white, red, black, blue and purple, while the Type Cover is listed as a single item in black.
Weighing in at 1.5lbs, the Surface tablet is 9.3mm thin and includes a built-in kickstand and vapor-deposited (PVD) magnesium case.
Shortly after revealing the Surface tablet’s price, Microsoft took the listing offline. The product page for the tablet simply says “Welcome to Microsoft Surface. Coming Soon.” Previously, a page appeared that allowed users to preorder the tablet with delivery guaranteed by Oct. 26. Preorders are believed to begin on Tuesday at noon, according to PCMag and other numerous reports, so it is possible that Microsoft will re-post the prices later today.
“If you say to somebody, ‘Would you use one of the 7-inch tablets, would somebody ever use a Kindle [Fire] to do their homework?’ The answer is no, you never would,” he said. “It’s just not a good enough product. It doesn’t mean you might not read a book on it… If you look at the bulk of the PC market, it would run between, day probably $300 to about $700 or $800. That’s the sweet spot.”
Ballmer was alluding to the fact that Microsoft's Surface tablet is meant to compete with higher-end devices on the market, such as Apple’s Retina Display iPad, which also starts at $499.
Microsoft has also begun advertising its Surface tablet more aggressively, as it has just launched a TV spot for the tablet this week. On Monday night, the Twitter community was ablaze with excitement surrounding the Surface, as the term The Surface Movement became a worldwide trend on the social media site. Microsoft’s tablet also got its own Twitter account this weekend, and has already gained more than 13,000 followers with only four tweets.
The Surface tablet certainly seems to play a large role in Microsoft’s Windows 8 launch, as recent reports have indicated that mass production is in full swing. The Redmond, Wash.-based company has reportedly placed orders to manufacture between 3 and 5 million devices in the fourth quarter, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Apple sold 17 million iPads in its previous quarter, leaving Microsoft with a daunting number to match as it plans to roll out the Surface.