Microsoft Corp. has just announced Canadian pricing for its Surface RT tablet, which can be pre-ordered now for delivery starting Oct. 26.
The 10.6-in. devices start at $519 for a model with 32 GB of memory but no integrated Touch Cover/ flat keyboard, and go up from there. If you want the cover (black) it costs $100 more. A 64 GB model with cover costs $719.
If you want a coloured cover, Microsoft will sell you one in black, white and cyan for $129. A black cover with moving keys costs $139.
In addition to being able to order direct from Microsoft, Surface RT tablets will be sold at Microsoft Store locations, which have yet to be announced in Canada. Some will be so-called holiday stores, temporary locations set up for November/December.
Surface is the Microsoft-made tablet that the company hopes will spur sales in this very popular market dominated by Apple’s iPad. Windows-based tablets haven’t made much of a dent in the tablet market and Microsoft hopes by putting its name and muscle behind a product its visibility will be raised. Buyers will have to know what they’re in for, however.
Surface RT tablets run a special version of the operating system called Windows RT that won’t work with the full versions of Windows productivity software. OEM makers like Hewlett-Packard, Asus, Lenovo and others will make tablets that run Windows 8 Pro capable of running and linking to legacy apps, as well as WinRT. WinRT only runs apps designed for the tile-like RT interface (formerly called Metro) sold only through the Windows Store, including an RT-version of Office.
On the other hand the RT operating system should be more tightly controlled by Microsoft and therefore more stable than the Win8 Pro version that has to have access to a wider number of apps.
Microsoft’s explanation of the difference can be found here on a Surface Web site.
Here’s a link to an article that raises another question about WinRT, the inclusion of a desktop mode.