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Poll: Microsoft Surface RT prices: High, low or just right?

It’s official: Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet will cost $499 for the base 32 GB model without a keyboard cover. The news leaked out on Tuesday morning and Microsoft(s msft) later confirmed it with pre-orders beginning today at 9am PT. For $599, Microsoft will include the thin Touch Cover with the tablet and a bump to 64 GB with the keyboard cover is $699.

The Surface RT is a bold strategy for Microsoft as it hopes to stay relevant in the growing tablet market. How bold? Microsoft designed the slate and contracted out the production of it, similar to what Apple (s aapl) does with all of its products. Microsoft is effectively competing against its own hardware partners as a result. However, Microsoft needs to take dramatic action as it has been shut out of this new post-PC era. With Surface RT it has, but will people buy it?

[polldaddy poll=6612313]

That’s highly dependent on the available apps and the price of the tablet itself, although 41.1 percent of our readers said they wouldn’t be interested in a Microsoft-built tablet when asked in June.

We’ll surely hear more about the apps and ecosystem in the coming weeks as Windows 8 is officially set to launch before month-end. But we do know the prices now and I’m reading some very polarizing thoughts here, so we’re running a poll on the pricing. What do you think of Surface RT prices given that the tablet won’t run all old Windows apps and is powered by chips used in today’s smartphones and tablets? Have at in the poll and comments.

Personally, I think this is the highest possible pricing tiers Microsoft could set and still have a chance to be successful. I’d like to see them lower by at least $50 to $100 each, but maybe I’ll change my mind once I get some hands-on time with a Surface RT tablet.

22 Responses to “Poll: Microsoft Surface RT prices: High, low or just right?”

  1. Murnende

    I don’t think Microsoft had a choice in pricing the Surface like this; as it is, it’s tied for the lowest priced Windows RT tablet on the market (tied with the cheap plastic Acer W510). If Microsoft had come in significantly lower than the OEMs, effectively pricing them out of the market, they would have ensured that the OEMs dropped Windows RT and possibly Windows 8 permanently. After all, there’s nothing better than warehouses full of unsold hardware to engender ill will on the part of your partners.

    That said, I was hoping for them to come in at $399 or less. I’m less inclined to bother with Windows RT if it’s not drastically less expensive than the hardware running the full version of Windows 8. Microsoft is in an interesting quandry; price low to ensure market penetration and risk alienating the OEMs (who would then run into the arms of Android and compete with you), or price along the same lines as the OEMs and risk losing potential marketshare to Apple, who has arguably a more compelling offering.

    I suspect that we’ll see an initial rush of sales, based on pent-up demand, followed by seriously underwhelming consumer interest. This will result in drastic price cuts (a la the PlayBook), which will solidify Microsoft’s market position. Ultimately, it will be the early adopters that get burnt . . . an irony in itself (maybe I’m just bitter, I’m still smarting from watching my friend buy the same PlayBook I have for a third of what I paid).

  2. eyemahsource

    Whether or not this works for Microsoft, I would like to see Apple use the new low power Atom chips to make an OS X tablet that has a separate magnetic grid for use with a pen that would allow resting your palm on the screen. Then morph this into twin 1080P 1 1/2″ screens presenting the desktop in 3D in a pair of thin stylish glasses. CPU box belt worn with batteries around the whole belt. OS X widgets space replaced by iOS simulator so one machine does it all. This last step brings us back to restoring the cursor as the dominant interaction while voice and possibly steering the cursor with eye tracking eventually supplant manual cursor control.

  3. No tablet should cost more than a netbook, and certainly not be priced in the same range as notebooks. I paid $400 last year for my HP 210 Mini – a device that runs circles around tablets when it comes to content consumption and creation. We’re talking about devices that use smartphone-class hardware, and I don’t believe that should cost more than a full x86 arrangement that comes standard with hardware keyboard, mass storage and peripheral I/O.

  4. Pricing is fine on paper. Real world hands on may change that. But Win RT has the Zune problem. Why buy one?

    The keyboard cover doesn’t do anything for me except remind me that it won’t be as convenient as a laptop because you have to be seated at a table to use it.

    I think the potential for MS lies in the RT laptop. Smithing Apple isn’t doing with iOS. And the clamshell seems best for keyboard input the lack of which is what keeps the iPad from doing more.

    From there maybe they can make a really slick hybrid eventually.

  5. Why would I pay 499 for a Windows RT tablet that can’t run any legacy Windows apps and doesn’t come with an HDMI port standard when I can buy an Acer W510 that runs full Windows 8 and has HDMI output standard?

    The whole purpose of Windows RT was to have low priced ARM devices that could compete on the lower price end. 499 for the starter Surface is not lower end!

  6. At that price point, the question will be “Why should I get this instead of an iPad?” I doubt there will be many takers considering that, while it has more storage at the lowest price point, it has a significantly worse screen and ecosystem.

    • Is the screen worse than the iPad? No one knows. I mean I know it loses out on resolution (it’s not resolutionary) but what about brightness, viewing angles, color reproduction etc etc

  7. I was excited and ready to order until I saw the price. This is about $100 too much for the entry level tablet with keyboard. Sorry Microsoft, I was fired up but now I am taking a pass.

    • My thoughts exactly. I was ready to whip out the AMEX @ $399 w/keyboard, $499 wo/keyboard and up is just too steep and i divert my attention to my shiny iPad or the iPad mini being released in a week

  8. Jeff Putz

    I really wish writers wouldn’t say “post-PC era.” It makes them sound like shills for Apple’s marketing department. From phones to the things under the desk, they’re *all* personal computers.

    I think the pricing is actually the right thing to do strategically. Oddly enough, it sends the message that “this is just as good as an iPad,” and I believe that if the hardware is as good as they say, it will be. I already firmly believe that Windows 8 is better than iOS because I’ve been using it for about two months. The app lineup is already impressive.

  9. I think the idea is to undercut the iPad which it is doing but more importantly where is the Surface Tablet being made? If its being made in China then they are making huge over head just like Apple and in turn making them no better. If its being made in America then hats off to them for actually contributing to the economy and justifying the price.

  10. Michael S.

    It seems that they are attempting to replicate the “Apple Premium” in their pricing. Very unfortunate. Agree that if they lowered the price by $100 it would be a much more attractive purchase.

  11. I think the pricing is fine. They HAVE to try and make money on them
    They can try and subsidize them and sell them at a loss ala Amazon and the Nexus 7, but how long can they sell them at a loss? Not very long. Especially when Apple can sell their stuff at a profit.
    The lowball pricing is a temporary unsustainable pricing gimick.

  12. There is no software ecosystem,no matter how nice the hardware is and the keyboard should have been very help tablet sales.
    The device is rather bulky at: 676 grams and 9.3 millimeters and can’t be used as a laptop unless on a flat surface because of the stand.
    Microsoft is selling it only thorough it’s own stores so they have great margins on it but we don’t know if the pricing is greed or to avoid annoying partners even more.

    • its a little bit heaver than the ipad but it has a kickstand built in gorilla glass 2 and the design of the case which is magnesium ads that extra weight and its worth it considering its much more tough than the ipad. And thick please. the new ipad is 9.4mm surface is thinner you retard. And don’t go on to compare the pro because if you do all I can say is that that runs windows 8 and is comparable to ultrabooks.