The Microsoft Surface RT is the first consumer tablet from software maker Microsoft, and it’s a platform for showing off what the new Windows RT operating system can do. But with a starting price of $499, the tablet isn’t exactly an impulse buy — and reports suggest that Microsoft has seen relatively modest sales so far.
One reason for that could be the limited availability of the tablet — it’s primarily sold through the Microsoft Store, both on the web and in a small number of retail locations around the US. Now Microsoft plans to get Surface tablets into additional stores in the US and Australia.
The company says it had always planned to make that move after January 1st, but it looks like the time tablet has been moved up a bit.
Select retail stores in the US and Australia (including Staples) are expected to start carrying the Surface RT in mid-December. Additional countries should be added to the list in the following months.
Meanwhile, you can still get the tablet from the Microsoft Store in the US, Canada, Australia, China, France, Germany, and the UK.
The Surface RT tablet features a 10.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display, an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB to 64GB of storage (not all of which is user accessible). It also ships with a version of Microsoft Office, WiFi, Bluetooth, and support for Microsoft’s Touch and Type covers which act as both screen protection, and text input devices. Those covers add over $100 to the price of a Surface RT though.
Early next year the company is expected to offer a Surface Pro tablet for $899 and up, featuring a faster processor, more storage, and the full Windows 8 operating system.