Microsoft Sets $499 Price for Surface Tablet [Video]

Microsoft’s Surface tablet will be priced from $499 for a 32GB version in the US and it will come out on 26 October in eight countries including the UK, the company said on Tuesday.

It’s argued whether a Microsoft Surface tablet priced at $499 could gain users of  Apple iPad over.

The announcement came just before Apple sent out provocative invitations for an event in San Francisco on 23 October, the tagline of it says: “We’ve got a little more to show you” – they mean an expected smaller “iPad mini” along with a revision to its tablet line to incorporate its new “Lightning” connector, The Guardian said.

The tablet will come in at three price points, Microsoft said on Tuesday: $499 for a 32-gigabyte version of the tablet;  $599 for a 32GB version that comes with a black Touch Cover and $699 for a 64GB version that comes with a black Touch Cover.

Microsoft has another little surprise for us. That is the Touch Cover — a thin tablet cover that doubles as a keyboard and attaches to the Surface magnetically. The company produced the Touch Cover in black, white, magenta, cyan and red, selling it separately for $119.99.

According to The Seattle Times, Microsoft also is selling separately the Type Cover — a slightly thicker Surface cover with moving keys that feel more like traditional keyboards. It will sell for $129.99 and come only in black.

The Surface is based on ARM chips and runs a new touch-based version of Windows written for ARM called Windows RT. Unfortunately, existing Windows apps will not work.

However, owners will be able to download pre-approved apps from an online Windows Store, which will run on the Surface, The Guardian reports.

The tablet will also include a copy of Microsoft’s Office suite specially written to run on the RT platform. The tablet comes with a version of Office installed that includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote.

Another version of the Surface tablet, Surface with Windows 8 Pro, is expected to appear in about three months. Microsoft executives have said that the Surface Pro will run on x86 processors produced by the likes of Intel and AMD and will be priced higher, comparable to ultrabooks.

The Surface Pro will run Windows 8 and will run legacy Windows apps.

But still no one can say whether it can pursued people to try out and buy Microsoft’s product. And though the prices are “not as aggressive as I would’ve liked to have seen them get,” said Tom Mainelli, an analyst with research firm IDC, “I think it’s competitive.”

But there are a number of challenges which the company will surely face. The first one will be the limited number of places where people can find a Surface — namely, Microsoft’s retail and temporary holiday pop-up stores.

“I think a lot of people would really like to be able to try out that keyboard before they pull the trigger,” Mainelli said. Another challenge is the number of apps available in the Windows Store, iPad surely exceeds Microsoft in it.

But according to The Wall Street Journal Microsoft has ordered to produce 3 million to 5 million Surface tablets in the fourth quarter.

“This is a huge challenge for Microsoft in terms of not only getting the product right but also the message and the marketing right,” Gartenberg said.

“The challenge is directly with the iPad, which is very much perceived by consumers as the base choice. Microsoft has to convince them they’re not buying into the wrong platform.”

He added: “We know consumers will spend $499 for something they want. Microsoft has to convince consumers that this is different. And why different is better”.

The battle is now not between devices but as Gartenberg accurately noticed: “It’s not iPad vs. Surface vs. Nexus, it’s the Microsoft ecosystem vs. the Google ecosystem vs. the Apple ecosystem.”

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