UPSTART TABLET MAKER Microsoft has announced that its Surface Pro tablet will retail for a starting price of $899.
That price gets consumers a tablet with a 64GB hard drive. A 128GB version of the tablet will sell for $999. Both models of the tablet won't include a Surface tablet keyboard.
Surface tablet keyboards will be available as add-on accessories. Microsoft offers its floppy plastic Touch Keyboard for $119.99 and its stiff plastic Type Keyboard for $129.99.
Microsoft is promoting the Surface Pro tablet's ability to support pen inputs. Both versions of the Surface Pro come with a touchscreen capable pen. According to general manager of Microsoft Surface Panos Panay, the stylus-like pen is ideal for note takers.
"Surface with Windows 8 Pro will support Pen input," Panay in a blog post.
"This is an amazing feature for all you note-takers or document editors out there, especially since it has expanded capacitive and digitizing technology we're calling Palm Block that will prevent your handwriting from getting interrupted if you accidentally place your palm on the screen as you write. This feature is pretty cool, and allows for a great inking experience alongside a great touch experience when needed."
Microsoft calls the Surface Pro an advanced model of its Surface RT. Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet offers an USB 3.0 port, an upgrade compared to the RT model's USB 2.0 offering.
Surface Pro tablets also offer higher screen resolution with a 10.6in 1920x1080 display, which is larger than the Surface RT tablet's 1366x768 resolution display.
Inside the Surface Pro consumers will find an Intel Core I5 processor and 4GB of memory. For comparison, the Surface RT runs a Nvidia Tegra 3 processor and comes with 2GB of memory.
The Surface Pro tablet should be able to put the Intel processor to good use as the device has the ability to run Windows PC legacy applications, unlike the Surface RT tablet.
Another key difference between the two Surface tablet models is the price. The Surface Pro tablet costs $400 more than its Surface RT tablet counterpart. Surface Pro tablet prices also take it out of competition with Ipads, which cost significantly less than the $899 price tag.
According to president and principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy Patrick Moorhead, the Surface Pro price tag makes sense for Microsoft. Moorhead told The INQUIRER that Microsoft is positioning the Surface Pro to compete in the Ultrabook market and not the tablet field.
"The Surface Pro pricing is very high in relation to an Ipad or a Nexus 10, but that's missing the point. The Surface Pro is an alternative to buying a notebook or Ultrabook, where it can command those prices," Moorhead said.
"Microsoft isn't disclosing details on which they are targeting, consumers or business people. If Microsoft sells through their major account teams to businesses, or sells through commercial channels, this would be big competition to Lenovo, HP and Dell."
Microsoft Surface Pro tablet pricing and availability are so far unavailable for the UK market. When The INQUIRER got in contact with Microsoft for UK availability the firm declined to comment. µ