When Microsoft unveiled the Surface tablet line back in June, many expected the lower-end ARM-based Windows RT model to retail around the price of an iPad. After all, the Windows 8-based tablet is expected to be a fully fledged mobile computer that could easily rival the capabilities offered by Apple’s market-leading iPad, and a tablet of that caliber would easily retail for at least several hundred dollars, right?
A story out of Engadget today suggests that the Surface tablet could be priced extremely competitively to get Windows 8 in the hands of as many customers as possible. Engadget’s Tim Stevens cites a source who attended a session at Microsoft’s recent TechReady15 conference which laid out Microsoft’s launch plans for the Surface. According to the report, the Tegra 3-based Surface RT will indeed launch on the expected October 26th date, and will retail for $199. This mirrors a previous Digitimes report from Friday, which suggested that Microsoft could significantly change the tablet market at a $200 price point.
Let that sink in for a moment. At $199, the Surface RT will be cheaper than almost all netbooks on the market, and will put the Surface on par with the likes of the 7″ Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 tablets. And it comes with a mostly fully featured operating system which runs nearly all the apps you’re accustomed to using. We’ve previously suggested that Windows 8 tablets will finally be able to provide Apple’s iPad meaningful competition, and at a $199 MSRP, we may just see this notion become a reality.