While a number of companies have started showing of tablets and laptops running early builds of Windows 8, we haven’t seen a lot of price tags yet. But the folks at ZDNet got their hands on a leaked product roadmap showing possible suggested retail prices for upcoming tablets from Asus.
Price start at $599 and go all the way up to $1299.
At the low end of the spectrum you have the Asus Vivo Tab RT TF600T. That’s a 10.1 inch tablet with an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core ARM-based processor and Windows RT software.
Right now it looks like the tablet has a suggested retail price of $599, and Asus will charge $199 more for the optional keyboard docking station that lengthens your battery life, adds extra ports, and gives you a full QWERTY keyboard.
Windows RT is the version of Windows designed to run on devices with ARM chips. It won’t support older Windows apps designed for x86 processors, and it’ll have a stripped down version of Microsoft Office.
If you want the full Windows experience, there’s the Asus Vivo Tab TF810C. That’s a tablet with an 11.6 inch display, an Intel Atom Clover Trail processor, and Windows 8 software. It will have a starting price of $799 and an optional keyboard dock for $199.
The Asus Taichi is the most expensive of the bunch, at $1299. It looks like a laptop, but it actually has two displays, one on each side of the lid. Fold the lid closed and you can use the computer like a tablet. Open it up, and it’s a laptop. Both screens are 1920 x 1080 pixel full HD touchscreen displays.
All three prices seem pretty high when you can pick up an iPad for $499 or an Android tablet for $199. Yes, you can do a lot more with a Windows computer than you can with an iOS or Android device… for now. But a lot of people don’t need to do more.
You can browse the web, watch videos, edit documents, and perform most other basic tasks on an inexpensive tablet with a mobile operating system. So if Asus and other tablet makers expect to sell their Windows models at a premium, they’re probably going to need to come up with a better sales pitch than “those Windows licenses aren’t free.”
Samsung is offering a somewhat better price on its upcoming Series 5 Hybrid tablet. You’ll be able to buy the 11.6 inch Windows 8 tablet for $649, or grab the tablet and an optional keyboard dock for $749.
I also wouldn’t be surprised if we see plenty of companies introduce tablets at or around these prices when Windows 8 and Windows RT launch in October… and lower prices in the following months if sales don’t meet expectations. There was a time when the BlackBerry PlayBook sold for $499 and up… but now you can get one for $199.