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Microsoft launches Surface RT tablet for $499, cover extra

Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet is available for online pre-orders with a starting price of $499 with delivery expected on Oct. 26. The starting price includes a 32 GB tablet running Windows RT(s MSFT), a version specifically made for tablets powered by smartphone chips. Microsoft’s innovative thin Touch Cover keypad option adds another $119 to the price if purchased separately.

The Verge noticed thew new tablet appear in Microsoft’s online store on Tuesday morning, which shows an additional option of a 64 GB model including a Touch Cover that costs $699, but that model is not in stock. Nor is the $599 model with 32 GB and included Touch Cover.

Surface RT standSurface RT has a 10.6-inch ClearType HD screen with five-point multi-touch and resolution of 1366 x 768. Nvidia’s(s nvda) NVIDIA T30 chip, paired with 2 GB of system memory, powers the device, which weighs under 1.5 pounds. Microsoft says that battery life should be around the eight hour mark on a single charge.

The Surface RT is unique in a few respects and represents a new strategy for the company. This is the first Microsoft-designed computer that the company is selling; something that Microsoft’s hardware partners were caught unaware of in advance. This edition of Windows 8, called Windows RT, also runs on ARM-based chips that typically power smartphones and consumer tablets. With Windows RT, as well as the Surface device that it designed, Microsoft hopes to slow down Apple’s iPad(s aapl) momentum, which currently has a majority share of the overall tablet market.

What do you think of these prices for a Surface RT tablet? Take our reader poll here.

13 Responses to “Microsoft launches Surface RT tablet for $499, cover extra”

  1. suzie smith

    I tried the developers version with a few quirks I love it.
    I pre-ordered mine and I cannot wait.
    Yes, it”ll take time to get to know the system.
    I wish people would stop ‘complaining’, it is confusing, anything new is confusing.
    Microsoft maybe should of name the product something else because people will associate this with the actual Windows OS, associated with desktop. This is totally different.

  2. LETS REMEMBER, the IPAD is an oversized IPhone. Its the same OS. It is primarily designed for content/media consumption. Sure you can say the IPAD can create documents, but if you have ever used an IPAD to create documents, than you know your settling with a sub-par experience of document creation, it’s un-natural and awkward at best. What Microsoft did with Surface is a re-imagined OS, that is meant for not only content/media consumption, but also TRUE content creation as well. It has up to 64GB Storage, quad-core CPU and It includes a full version of the Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel and PowerPoint: worth $150 and you get it free). You also get a mail client, SkyDrive (one of the best cloud services), a full App store, lots of includes apps, a browser, unlimited FREE Music streaming (over 30 million songs, more than iTunes), a built in kick-stand (to watch movies and work more naturally when at a desk/table), a full USB port, MicroSD Card slot. (You don’t need to buy accessories to transfer files, photos, music documents, just use a USB stick and/or microSD card). The Surface is of course a full touch friendly device with dynamic informative attractive live tiles, (not static dumb icons like with IOS). Lets also point out that the Surface has a full keyboard and mouse pad that acts as a cover when not in use. Now, with the Microsoft Surface you can watch movies, listen to music (for free), take pictures, TOP notch security, encryption, video calls, download apps, surf the web, check email, create word, excel and PowerPoint documents just as you have in the past, socialize online, Tweet, Facebook, print, play games, and without compromise create documents using Office and a keyboard/mouse. So lets be clear, The Microsoft Surface is a no compromise Tablet. Its completely mobile, thin and light. In fact, for most people The Surface RT can replace a laptop. What the Surface brings is a mobile touch friendly tablet, that also allows you to work the way you would traditionally with a keyboard/mouse when you want to and when it makes the most sense. I am confident, once people try one out the decision to get one will be a no brainer!!! The Microsoft Surface RT gives you value for your money. And for those people who want to run legacy Windows x86 apps (like businesses, power users, etc…) The Surface pro will answer all their needs!!! If your objective, and once people play with one, everyone will see the Surface as the best Tablet for your money!!! (and by the way, You know Microsoft is going to back this 200% and your investment is protected). People said the Xbox couldn’t displace the play station and the now the Xbox is the #1 gaming system. The same will happen with Surface (and Winodws 8 / RT devices)

  3. Sorry – this is a dead miss from the word GO. Unit sales will be very disappointing. The problem is that the apps just aren’t there – stick with an ecosystem that has the apps you want (Android or iOS). Until Microsoft can get Hulu, HBO, Amazon, and others on board, Windows RT is a non-starter (particularly when you can buy a full-fleged notebook for nearly that price). A HUGE missed opportunity.

    • Agreed, I was looking forward to the touch cover to give it a leg up over the iPad. Now it’s the same thing with a larger screen and better OS. May as well go with an Android tablet.

  4. i am waiting to see what the intel version is priced at.

    that’s where most of the interest will be since the big attraction of a windows tablet is access to all the existing software. also i do not want to rely on a ‘app store’ for all my software i want to be able to acquire directly from the publishers site(or other download option) and install myself.

    although i am worried about the overall ‘tablet experience’ on the intel version. will it have a strong fan? be loud? poor battery life?

    • Low prices? MS missed an opportunity to price this aggressively against iPad and Android competitors. At $100 less, I would have been very interested. At this price – I’m taking a wait and see attitude.

      • Totally agree. MS had a golden opportunity to turn heads from Apple and Android to Surface and Win 8. At this price, they will be perceived as an “also-ran” and will not gain the momentum to substantially move people from capable and proven consumer tablet alternatives. Also, this is $100 more than the approximate starting price for the Surface suggested by Ballmer only a couple of weeks ago. Very disappointing. Instead of getting an RT, I’ll wait for the Pro. Hopefully the Pro’s pricing will be competitive with Ultra’s.