The Microsoft Surface RT tablet hits the streets10 days from now, and it looks like Microsoft is finally (just about) ready to talk pricing. Earlier today a product page at the Microsoft Store went live revealing pricing details for the Surface RT tablet.
Microsoft is charging $499 for a 32GB tablet. For $599 you can get the same model plus a “touch cover” which serves as wireless keyboard for the tablet when it’s not busy protecting the screen.
There’s also a 64GB model with a touch cover for $699.
In other words, Microsoft is charging the same price for its 32GB 10.6 inch Surface RT tablet running Windows RT as Apple charges for a 9.7 inch, 16GB tablet running iOS.
The Surface RT features an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. It measures 0.37 inches thick and weighs 1.5 pounds.
The tablet has a microSD card slot for expansion, a USB 2.0 port, and a micro HDMI port and features a 31.5 Whr battery. There are front and rear cameras, and a kickstand on the back of the tablet that lets you prop it up while you’re using the optional keyboard cover.
It doesn’t have an iPad-like “Retina” display. This model has a standard HD display. But Microsoft plans to launch a Surface Pro tablet soon which features the full Windows 8 operating system and a 1920 x 1080 pixel display.
What the Surface RT does have is the Windows RT operating system which looks almost exactly like Windows 8. It just won’t run older apps designed for Windows computers with x86 processors. The Surface RT will ship with a pre-release version of Microsoft Office 2013, the new Xbox Music service, and other apps, as well as the new Windows Store (which happens to be the only official place to download Windows RT apps).
If you’re thinking the hardware looks nice, but you’d rather run Android or webOS on the Surface, you’re probably out of luck. Like most Windows RT devices, the Surface RT will feature tight security which will make it difficult to run unsigned code at boot. In other words, there’s currently no simple way to load an alternate operating system.
Microsoft isn’t the only company planning to launch a Windows RT tablet. The Asus Vivo Tab RT and Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 will also compete for consumers’ attention, and many full Windows 8 tablets with Intel Atom processors will sell for similar prices.