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?
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.