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Report: Microsoft's ARM-based Surface Tablet to Cost $600

The typical unnamed sources spouting insider information to DigiTimes reports that Microsoft's ARM-based Surface tablet sporting Windows RT and Nvidia's quad-core Tegra 3 will be priced around $599. The Intel Ivy Bridge version featuring Windows 8 Pro is expected to cost even more, selling above $799 at the very least. Both 10.6-inch Surface tablet models will be assembled by Taiwan-based Pegatron Technology.

Charles Lin, chief financial officer for the Taipei-based company, said that the Surface tablets will help promote the Windows ecosystem as Microsoft competes with Apple's iPad and Google's own Nexus tablets. However he wouldn't confirm if the company was actually assembling the just-announced gadget. Instead, he said Pegatron currently has as many as five tablet products in development for both Windows and Android platforms.

"I think this is the major purpose of them doing a tablet, as it can enhance their ecosystem, to help them promote and get a lot of developers to make apps to share in their store," Lin told Bloomberg in a phone interview. "This kind of device may help them to promote their Win8 solutions and demonstrate the strengths and capabilities of the new Windows 8."

Sources have pointed out that while Microsoft may have caught the interest of consumers with its hybrid Windows 8 product, the overall price may be the biggest obstacle. There's also a matter of its Windows 8 OEMs who are also churning out non-Surface Windows 8 Pro and RT tablets like HP and Dell -- they may feel somewhat offended by the move. Then again, Google is taking the same route, serving up its own Nexus tablets starting next week.

There's speculation that Microsoft doesn’t trust the fate of Windows 8 and Windows RT on tablets to the OEMs. Given the operating system's overhaul, this is a "make it or break it" scenario for Microsoft. Its OEMs are good at producing desktops and laptops, but so far the only real Apple iPad rivals have been Samsung's tablets and Amazon's Kindle Fire, both based on Google's Android.

But like Google, which is offering OEMs early access to Android "Jelly Bean" (now believed to be v4.1 instead of 5.0), Microsoft may ditch the previously-rumored Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT licensing fees (supposedly $85 for the latter) to keep partners in happy spirits and price points lower.

As for the Surface tablets, sources from "notebook players" said that the industrial design should attract consumers in the enterprise market.

  • outlw6669
    Although Microsoft's ARM tablet definitively looks more appealing than the vast majority of iOS/Android tablets, it is simply priced to high to succeed.
    Launch prices need to be around $400 (including a keyboard/case) to help Windows RT gain traction in the market.
  • alexmx
    I just saw the ad in surface's website, and I must say that I'm impressed.

    But 600 USD is a little too much for my pocket anyway
  • killerclick
    We only have to wait three more months for the privilege to pay $600 for last year's tech. Oh, goody!

    At least the keyboard cover is included in the price... right?
  • back_by_demand
    Do you buy an Android or Apple at a lower price then spend additonal money getting Apps that replicate the tasks that you do with software for Windows that you have already purchased
    Or do you pay slighty more for the hardware but take full advantage of your existing purchased (or not) software collection
    OK it's a personal choice but it's always a factor when you are buying
  • DjEaZy
    Microsoft's ARM-based Surface Tablet to Cost $600 and feature some applications...
  • Cy-Kill
    So, what exactly is the difference -- besides the different CPUs, etc. -- of Windows RT & Windows 8 Pro?
  • Microsoft's ARM-tablets will cost you an arm... plus your leg on an IB version...
  • soo-nah-mee
    For me, the x86 version could replace both my laptop and my TF201. $800 isn't unreasonable considering it's less than an Ultrabook, has a touchscreen, and will be able to use Windows 8's Metro interface like no standard non-touch PC can. As a fan of Windows phones (as well as Metro), I'm sure the two will jibe perfectly too. I hope I'll be able to tether a Windows Phone 8 to it for non-wifi connectivity. Looks like the wife and daughter are getting hand-me-downs for Christmas! :D

    I think this is finally the device I've been waiting for. Standard laptops won't pair up with W8 well, Android tablets are a PITA sometimes, and iPads are for children and the non tech-savvy. Bring it on!!!
  • womble
    If it comes with a version of office bundled on the ARM version then that would be useful for some light use. Not sure what else it'll come with to add all that value, never paid anything on my phone for the usual social networking stuff etc.

    Still on the bright might actually make WIndows 8 usable:)
  • I don't see the appeal of a netbook with a floppy keyboard that can't run regular Windows apps or be competitively priced.