The Microsoft Surface Pro is a tablet with an Intel Core i5 processor, a 10.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel display, and 4GB of RAM. It runs Windows 8 Pro software, and comes with a 64GB or larger solid state drive.

In the US Microsoft only offers the tablet with up to 128GB of storage. But when the tablet launches in Japan in June it will be available with up to 256GB.

Microsoft Surface Pro

Solid state storage is faster, uses less power, and generates less heat than a traditional hard drive. But it’s also substantially more expensive, which is one of the reasons phones and tablets typically have far less storage space than laptop and desktop computers.

But Microsoft is positioning the Surface Pro as a full-fledged PC that just happens to be a little larger than an iPad. So it makes sense for the company to offer models with a decent amount of storage for all your documents, media, and other files.

What doesn’t make quite as much sense is why the company doesn’t offer the 256GB option in the US.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Microsoft offer a new region-specific version of the Surface tablet. Last month the company introduced the Surface China Edition which has hardware similar to the Surface Pro, but which comes with Windows 8 Standard (instead of Pro) and comes preloaded with Office 2013 Home & Student.

via The Verge

 

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12 replies on “Microsoft Surface Pro to support up to 256GB of storage (in Japan)”

  1. Go to Amazon and look for yourselves – the Crucial mSATA drives are $130 for 128gb and $190 for 256gb – RETAIL! That means that Microsoft has increased device profits by $130 per unit even on a retail part basis, and who knows what they pay for the parts as a wholesale purchaser. There is no reason they shouldn’t offer 128, 256, and 480gb options across the board. The “cloud” is not the answer for many of us with sensitive, proprietary, or even cherished data, much less htose with large media collections. Get with the program!

    1. Math’s a little off $1,170 USD minus $975 USD equals $190 and not $130!

      Besides, the Crucial mSATA $190 pricing is the discounted price, down from $225.31 listed, and prices varies for different SSDs as well… Some are cheaper and others are more expensive but you’re definitely wrong on capacities… mSATA doesn’t offer the capacity range that 2.5″ SATA SSDs offer! They’re smaller and have less space to provide that capacity… So there’s no 480GB option… not yet anyway… a little over a year ago there wasn’t even a 256GB option for mSATA and the pricing was even higher back then…

      SSD capacities are increasing and prices are dropping but it takes time but we should see higher capacities offered more commonly towards the end of this year and on through till next year as more SSDs start using the next gen of NANDs that offer more capacity per chip and help lower costs…

      As for tablets, it’s part of the way the market works for them as pretty much all tablets charge a premium for drive capacity…

      Like the Nexus 7… it cost maybe $8 to double the low cost eMMC storage capacity but they charge a additional $50 for the higher capacity model.

      While companies like Apple charge a $100 for each capacity doubling… Mind that eMMC is a lot cheaper than SSDs!

      Part of the reason is they make small margins on the rest of the system and so use drive capacity to leverage better margins and help recoup both more profit and the investment cost of creating the product in the first place…

      Tablets are pretty much all custom design and generally don’t use off the self parts. So creating each new model has a hefty investment cost they have to recoup. While also the tablet market forces more rapid upgrade cycle than we’re used to in the PC market. So they have to get ready with the next gen model often within a year to get it to market on time to compete with the competition, which will also be pushing rapid sequential releases…

      1. Hmmm…my math was the differential in cost between the two drives, $60, which I subtracted from the gross profit differential, $190, to arrive at the $130 net profit from the upcharge from the 256gb option. Also, Mushkin sells a 480gb mSATA ssd, so the range of sizes they could offer goes that high (but around $550 I believe). Think I got it right on both counts.

        1. Price is still being factored from the discounted pricing and not the actual retail pricing. While, as also stated, SSD prices vary from brand to brand and different class drives and there are more expensive drives! So it doesn’t mean much taking one SSD at random and using that as measuring bar!

          While you aren’t keeping up with the SSD market… 480GB isn’t a standard option and even in the premium range it’s a pretty new offering for mSATAs that wasn’t available when the Surface was designed last year and it’s in the premium category that they start charging nearly double what they charge for the lower capacity drives.

          Doesn’t help it’s not really available in most places… Premium drives are premium for more than the max capacities but also because they don’t make as many of them!

          While any mass produced product, especially one that can’t be easily opened, is going to use a drive that’s easily available and more affordable to keep costs down…

          1. This argument makes no sense. If an end user (consumer) can purchase the part for $190 (or even $500-$600 for 500gb size capacities), you know that Microsoft can obtain it as well, perhaps not in mass quantities, but sufficient for a limited (and I’d willing to bet sold out) run. Probably for less than I can get it at retail. There is no retooling, no modification necessary – it fits in the same slot and space as the current 128/256gb models. Why not offer the upgrade (as Apple does with special order MacBook Airs with 512GB SSD). Even if you quibble about the source of my pricing model, there is still only a MARGINAL cost increase at each step over the 128gb base, and by charging nearly $200 for the upgrade from 128 to 256, Microsoft effectively increases profit on the system by $130, which is more than TEN PERCENT of the retail price of the system. Even Apple can understand those margins.

          2. End users don’t have to manufacture the device!

            MS only has two options, either mass produce models with the capacities already set or wait until orders are made and then build them… Either way it’s nowhere near as easy or cheap as just being able to open the unit and swap the drive as needed.

            There’s assembly costs and for a system that can’t be upgraded, even by the factory, it means once a system is made then it’s easier to just replace it if anything needs to be changed.

            And all this requires paying employees to do the work, shipping, stocking, installing the software and testing the system to make sure it works, etc.

            When you order one of these devices you’re not going up to a kiosk and having one just pop out for you, there’s a lot of work involved!

          1. Sorry but there’s a distinction between bleeding edge drives that sell for really premium prices and drives the average user will be offered!

            Also, these a tablets… Bleeding edge drives tend to be thicker than mainstream drives and every mm counts in devices that have to be as thin as possible.

            Never mind, as stated before, even now they’re not widely available. So no OEM could use them for a mass produced products… only premium builds with much smaller quantities!

            People seem to forget it wasn’t that long ago that the starting prices for Windows tablets was much higher than a $1000!

  2. I don’t see what the big deal is for MS (or any other mfr for that matter), to offer higher capacity SSDs. As long as the device has accessible space inside for standard size aftermarket products, mfrs can deliver units with paltry SSDs, and end users can just upgrade the SSDs themselves. Fortunately, SSD prices have nosedived to closer-to-earth prices after having been over $1/GB for (it seems like) forever.

    In fact, I would prefer that the mfr sell the device with as small an SSD as possible, if only to bring the device price within reason. My fear is that many frs will take the Apple route and insert something proprietary or make it nearly impossible for end users to upgrade, hoping to lock in their buyers.

    1. Look up the ifixit tear down of the Surface Pro… things like the battery are glued in place and they gave a 1 on their 10 point scale of repair-ability… Maybe the next model will be better designed but for now it’s pretty much stuck with how it’s ordered and shipped to you…

      While most tablets actually have soldered drives that are definitely not upgradeable… The thinner and lighter they make them, the more likely it won’t be user upgradeable…

      1. Let’s get full on cynical here – it is only the self-interest of the manufacturers to make you upgrade units rather than components that prevents upgradeable tablets. I opened and installed a 256GB mSATA in my Samsung Series 7 Slate (not pretty, but doable). iFixIt proves that Surface is nearly impossible, yet on the other hand you get two accessible slots in the Yoga 13 to really max out storage – accessible by disassembly. Therein lies the rub, manufacturers could join together and offer an mSATA plug-in slot just like the SDXC form factor, but choose not to (or in the case of Apple, go with an entirely proprietary stick) just to prevent upgrading.

        1. It’s not a new idea but the problem is it requires standardization of such a design and tablets are pretty much all custom designed!

          Even mSATAs aren’t completely standard yet and they got variations like half size cards and the extra long and thin cards that Asus and Apple are using, some don’t even bother with mSATA and instead use a PCI Express slot version… Need I go on?

          So it’s not as simple as them just choosing to do it!

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