World / US and Canada

Microsoft announces Surface tablet pricing details

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-10-17 06:53

SAN FRANCISCO - Microsoft on Tuesday announced the pricing details about its highly-anticipated tablet computer Surface.

According to the company, Surface starts at $499 for the 32 GB model, while a 32 GB version bundled with a black Touch Cover costs $599. And a 64 GB model bundled with a black Touch Cover will be $699.

The Touch Cover, which works as a screen protector, stand and keyboard, will sell for $119.99 as accessories, and is available in vibrant colors like magenta and cyan.

The Surface tablet will be officially available on Oct 26 both in Microsoft retail stores and online in the United States and Canada. It will also be sold online in Australia, China, France, Germany, China's Hong Kong and Britain. Preorders started online and in-store on Tuesday.

Microsoft started airing a TV commercial about Surface on Monday evening, which features a group of dancers with the click, snap and swipe sound of the new tablet.

In June, Microsoft unveiled the Surface series in two versions, Surface and Surface Pro, without giving price details.

The Surface model, featuring a 10.6-inch widescreen HD display, runs Windows RT, a version of the company's Windows 8 operating system designed for the category of lower-power ARM processors.

Surface Pro running Windows 8 for Intel processors is expected to be available months after the Surface model hits the market.

Describing Surface as a tablet PC, Microsoft said it is as much about hardware as it is about software. The software giant added that making its own hardware can set the best stage for Windows 8.

Pricing has been seen as one of the make-or-break factors that may help Microsoft recover its lost ground in the mobile market.

With its larger screen, built-in stand as well as keyboard cover, Surface is expected to go head-to-head with Apple's iPad within the same price range.

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is planning large volume production of Surface in the fourth quarter of this year, and has placed orders for 3 million to 5 million of its tablets from manufacturers in Asia.

As Microsoft set the prices for its very first tablet product, Apple on Tuesday sent out invitations for an event scheduled for October 23, which is expected to be the launch of the company's long- rumored smaller iPad, designed to compete in the small-screen tablet category with Google and Amazon.

Microsoft has not yet revealed whether it will make a small version of Surface.

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