Microsoft's Windows RT Surface tablet to launch in October for just $199?

Microsoft will be unveiling its Windows RT Surface tablets this coming October with a price tag of $199, according to an Engadget source. Microsoft first unveiled the Surface family of Windows tablets earlier this year, and pricing rumours have been flying all around the room. The tipster reportedly revealed details from a session at Microsoft's recent TechReady15 conference and notes that the Surface Windows RT tablet will launch on October 26th.

Should Engadget's source be correct, this will definitely put the Surface on the map as an affordable tablet experience compared to competing Android and Apple offerings. With the low-end Windows RT version sporting 32GB storage, Office 2013, a variety of connectivity ports, and weighing in at just 676g, $199 would be an excellent launch price. For comparison sake, the Apple iPad 2 starts from $399 for the 16GB WiFi model (or $499 should you desire the new Retina iPad). Too good to be true?

We'd recommend taking this rumour with a pinch of salt, but Engadget is fairly reliable when it comes to rumours. It sports a 94 rating with Tracour, which is basically a rating system that calculates reliability and trustworthiness of news websites and journalists. So take it how you will, folks.

It's to our understanding that Microsoft will look to price its Windows Pro version of Surface to compete with OEMs and platform competition, but when it comes to Windows RT we can see the software giant being slightly more aggressive in both marketing and the actual cost for consumers to purchase their product. Microsoft has previously commented on pricing for both the RT and Pro versions of Surface:

"Suggested retail pricing will be announced closer to availability and is expected to be competitive with a comparable ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook-class PC. OEMs will have cost and feature parity on Windows 8 and Windows RT."

The big question is what Microsoft's OEM partners will bring to the table to combat its plans to release in-house hardware. This will be the first real push from Microsoft to create its own devices for Windows and we're excited to get our mucky paws on one a Surface tablet. Also, will the cool flip-cover + keyboard be included in the price, or will we be looking to purchase a few accessories?

What do you think about the rumoured pricing point for the Windows RT Surface tablet? Do you believe it'll be as aggressively priced? Let us know in the comments.

Source: Engadget

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

245 Comments
  • 110% too good to be true
  • Not to good to be true Microsoft made it they can sell it cheap look at Kinect,Xbox,Zune,mouse's,keyboards all easy sells
  • $150 for a Kinect is not cheap, the Xbox 360 released for $500, nothing they have is economy/basement priced.  The items they have sell well because they are made well. This for a $200 initial release would be completely new.
  • Xbox 360 was released $299/$399, not $500.
  • And was -- literally -- the worst-built POC game console ever mass produced.  Among those dozen or so people I know who bought one, it had a failure rate of well over 100%; that is, everyone's broke, and some more than once!  More recent iterations do seem to finally have the QC up to snuff, though.
     
    Hopefully the Surface RT will have a better lifespan than the original crapBox and work more like MS' current versions.
  • Well, if people you know didn't like it then......
     
    I have one.  So do almost all my friends.  There was a problem.  The company replaced all boxes when problem happened.  They won everyone with online gaming and Halo.  People care more about what you can do with the machine, as we have seen with x box and that's why the x box is successful.
  • Yeah gotta agree with U there I love my Xbox but so far I have had the RROD 2X haha and I have never heard of mates ps3s dropping out but oh well :)
    199 sounds reasonable to me coz that will turn out to about 250nzd , quite reasonable haha :)
  • The PS3 AV port goes out and my bros recently did something similar to an Xbox RROD. So it's not better than Xbox
  • I have a 1984 NES that still works perfectly fine.  Two dead xbox's though.  Still, Xbox is the best for online play, I just wish they would drop the damn price of gold.  I let mine expire over a year ago.
  • You probably mean the YLOD (Yellow Light Of Death)
    Both my 360 and PS3 haven't had any major problems until now. Maybe you guys should just take more care of your beloved machines... =)
  • No, it was definitely a RROD (Red Ring of Death).
  • You are correct RROD = YLOD for PS3, of which I have had happen to me 3x and Sony wants to charge $120 to fix... Alot more expensive than MSFT free replacement policy. If you look at the stats of YLOD you will see they were in like with RROD by the numbers. I have also had XBOX 360 since launch and never had a RROD.
  • Nice reality check
  • Speak for yourself. I have 2 PS3 in my household. One old and one new. Neither have had problems. Only problem I have is that it has to download updates all the time. Which isn't a problem lol. And the PS3 Netflix UI is better. I also have 2 xboxes and a kintect. Just sayin.
  • 250 nzd yeah, but knowing NZ it'll end up at 900 somehow :P
  • Yes it was a fiasco, but no it wasn't well over 100% (not quite possible). Also, the main thing is, MS stuck by their product and handed out great warranties. From that people have more confidence in their products and Xbox is now, and has been, in first. Keeping in mind this is the first time this sort of thing has happened; usually their stuff is amazing quality.
  • Keep in mind too that RROD was from a .25 cent part failure, and not made by MSFT, but outsourced like every other company, so it wasn't their fault, but they backed up their product none the less.
  • I never had a problem with the Xbox Infact my one got the red ring as i bought the Xbox 360 so i had no problems when it happened.
  • And still had the best warranty in its class. I preordered my 360 in April...6 months before it's initial release. I got the ring of death a year after, and to this day I have never gotten it again. And I still have the same console in my bedroom, and a new slim in my living room.
  • My original xbox still works great. I have it packed away in it's original box.
  • How the hell can you fail over 100% of the time?
  • ...AND by the buy, there was a whole game in there. Most Kinect games price at $40-50 so the device would be around $99 on its own! =/
  • Please, please, please.
  • Price sounds right. They need to compete against the new Google tablet.
  • But can the google tablet be considered a competing one? A much smaller screen and less capable hardware we suspect (no usb ports or card slots either)
  • I'll second that.
    I was planning to wait for the Pro, but at $199, I'd buy a bunch of them for Christmas presents (parents, in-laws, wife, etc) and at least one for myself. Windows 8 would make some pretty quick in-roads at that sort of price. Above $199, I might consider still waiting for the Pro and I probably wouldn't be giving them away as gifts.
  • can you buy one for me and send it to germany? I'll paypal you the money of course :>
  • that sounds too good to be true.
     
    If its less than 399...then you have to be insane NOT to buy it if you want a tablet.
    199 sounds too good especially since it will have 32 or 64 GB of memory, some pretty high end features and high end materials...actually my hope is still 399 or 499...
     
    199 sounds stupid. Why would Microsoft take a deep loss on every of these sold? They aren't that desperate.
  • They might not be desperate but it would certainly make the surface a serious choice for tablet shoppers and very affordable for a lot of people considering one.
  • Well, two arguments for the $199 price: They saw Google make the Nexus 7" for $199 and it is selling well. What better way to compete than to offer much more for the same price? Xbox - Microsoft lost $6 billion (est.) on the Xbox by under-pricing it for years i.e. sold for below cost. Lose money on the hardware but win on the software sales of games. It worked. Amazon also does this with the Kindle as those are priced below cost too. So far, it has been very successful for Amazon as eBooks have skyrocketed (remember last Christmas? The Kindle was the holiday gift). Having said that, I'm skeptical too. But MS is a loose cannon right now, seemingly making decisions very last minute. So anything is possible
  • Agree on the Nexus 7 point. But the Xbox point may not totally apply here. You see, in the world of consoles, losing money on a console is a given vs a strategy. Both Microsoft and Sony do that. Nintendo doesn't lose much and tends to quickly break even since they release much less powerful hardware. Console business is built around the idea of "attach rates". That's how many games per console a customer is expected to have. Nintendo has the lowest attach rates by far. Microsoft has the highest. This makes up for the lost money as well as making a very strong business argument to 3rd party game publishers to support your platform (you will sell more here!). This is just business as usual for consoles. Whether it will apply successfully for tablets is to be seen.
  • Exactly. Besides, if Microsoft attempts to sell this way below cost the launch will be tied up in anti-competitive lawsuits at home and dumping lawsuits abroad.
  • SocalBrian - You are forever the Microsoft, and Nokia, dissenter.  No surprise seeing your posts on this one.
     
     
  • Do you think they wouldn't have legal problems if they tried selling this at a loss? At the very least I can see European regulators getting involved at that point.
  • Hasn't Google been making no money or selling the Nexus 7 at a loss since it came out?  No one seems to know exactly but almost all of the internet sites I read seem to think so.  How would this be any different?
  • It's believed Google is at or a little above break even. Given the higher end hardware in the Surface - bigger screen, more flash, magnesium case, etc. Microsoft would need to be a good bit higher to break even.
  • iSocalBrian is back. Brace for the Apple sanctioned posts in 3...2....1....
  • I do agree with you.  Although its something to ponder.  If MS actually does succeed in making WinRT the new Windows going forward, then most consumers will stick to the Windows Marketplace store for their apps.  Suddenly, MS would be getting a 20-30% cut on the entire the multi-hundred billion dollar a year software business.  Of coarse thats if WinRT actually pans out, which is certainly not enivitable at this point.  I'm open to see what changes they make in the future, but for now I can't see myself leaving the good old desktop environment.
  • You don't leave your desktop, you buy both
  • Sorry, what I meant was if users actually stick to the WinRT environment on their actual PC's, or if they stick mostly to the desktop (like I currently do with the Release Preview).  If people with W8 are still on their desktop most of the time, it reduced the chances of them buying apps on the Windows Marketplace.
  • The Surface RT is a console.  Just like the iPad.  They are simply portable gaming systems that also do work.
     
    AFAIK there will be no way to get (paid) software onto any RT device without giving MS a cut.
  • Tablets, like video game consoles, are just entertainment devices.  
    Also, you're not factoring in that when people start using the tablet, they might start using windows phones as well.  
  • All devices you mentioned have a 7 inch screen. No way do they make a 10' screen for 200. There has to be a price difference to warrant a bigger screen.
    I can't see any other OEM like Samsung, who sells a 7' Galaxy Tab for 250, sell a 10' galaxy windows for 200.
  • Interesting, a 7 foot or a 10 foot tablet. Kinda hard to lug around.
  • You sir (or ma'am), just made me lol, thank you.
  • LOL.
  • So.... the Surface is competing with the Nexus 7 now instead of the iPad? Really?
    Did Surface RT shrink in size, features, and specs?
     
     
    The competitive landscape as I see it:
    Nexus 7 vs. Kindle Fire
    Surface RT vs. iPad
    Surface Pro vs. Ultrabooks
  • The main difference between Xbox and Surface is that Xbox was able to use the same hardware for 8 years. So initially yes, Microsoft took a loss. However a few years down the line and several production line improvements as well as the lowering cost of materials as the parts aged, the Xbox became significantly cheaper to manufacture, and Microsoft now makes a profit on each Xbox sold. The Surface will have to have the newest hardware every year, meaning they will never be able to make up the loss that they will experience because the hardware refreshes will require manufacturing and parts refreshes, so no profit. Ever.
  • Profit made from 'apps'.
  • Pathetic comment.
  • It could also be a subsidized price.  For example, you pay $199, but you sign up for Xbox Live for 2 years and Xbox Music for 2 years?
  • Sometimes taking profits out of the hands of your competitors, causing their quarterly numbers to slip, lowering their book value and allowing to do a buy out because of a cheap stock price, even if only for their intellectual property rights and patents, is more profitable than posting profits....
  • Their competitors are Google and Apple. You think that Microsoft can sell a cheap tablet and cause either of these companies to lose enough money for Microsoft to be able to purchase them? Just sayin'...
  • they get the money back in with purchases from the store or they just want to invest in the new userbase - and try to bush windows 8 desktop and windows phone.
  • The price set at $200 would be perfect! I really hope the keyboard cover is included in the overall price.
  • It is not, at least from the release it was 'also available'.
  • It's already a steal at 200 if that's the price. Asking to have the keyboard included for that price is probably asking too much.
  • Wow great price! I can't imagine that coming with the keyboard. Which now that I think about it, that's why they are all different colors , so you can't pick the one that best suit you.
  • This is my take too. Of this price is legit, there is no way, imo, that it will come with the keyboard.
  • I'm in for 2!
  • Me too
  • I'm in for 3
  • I had no interest in a Surface tablet before this rumor. Now I might pick one up, if it is true. My iPad 2 is getting long in the tooth, though I was planning on holding out for next year's iPad.
    I might be going all Microsoft if that is the case (with my Lumia 900 biding time until the Nokia Windows Phone 8 models are available).
  • Not gonna happen. They will loose more money on selling their windows licenses to oems than they will make im selling the surface
  • Exactly. You lose money to win back marketshare. See the history of the Xbox as evidence for this exact strategy.
  • Not the same because there are no $60 proprietary software programs that will sell millions of copies like Halo for Windows RT.
    Nor is there a $60 a year price tag to use the online service either. Apples and Oranges my friend.
  • Very true but there are the millions and millions of apps that will sell and they will get a percentage of.  If the user base is huge you will have every developer making apps.  That is the money they want to take from Apple, not the hardware marketshare.  There is a reason Amazon has an app store and hardware that they sell at a loss.
  • Not exactly.  You may have forgotten that MS will get a 20/30 percent cut of every app sold in the app store.  If Windows RT is a success they stand to make a ton of money.
  • That 20-30% cut goes to running the store, which is pretty expensive. Apple has generated $2 billion in revenue since the App Store opened 4 years ago, and thats after selling 400 million iOS devices.
    $2 billion / 400 million devices = $5 per device, making this rumor bunk, and it would also piss off all of Microsoft's OEMs if they were to price it so cheaply.
    It'll be $399-499. Microsoft doesn't want consumers to think of the Surface RT as in competition with the Nexus 7 because it clearly does so much more.
  • There may well be programs that sell for hundreds or even thousands of dollars.  What if Adobe makes Photoshop RT?  Or if someone makes RT cad programs?  Or RT scientific computing programs?
     
    RT is the future of Windows, since even the x86 Windows 8 will make it the "preferred" environement.
  • +1 to Daniel... I've been saying/predicting this since they announced the product. They will loose money, because they can afford to do so. They are a software company, and are the only company I know of that actually "intentionally" underwrites hardware decisions as a loss... Xbox, Zune, windows phone (software even) all are predicted losses every quarter... No one else can afford to do that. Glad someone intellectual has voiced the same opinions as me.
  • Might very well happen especially if you have to sign up for Xbox Live and Music service for 2 years.
  • Definitely getting it if this is true. Wow!!!!
  • I will buy one for myself and mom if that's the case
  • I wish this was true!! I've been dying for a windows tablet ever since I bought my Samsung Galaxy Tab!
  • I'm waiting for the pro. But if this rumor turns out to be true, then I'm buying this as well.
  • I want it NOWWWWWWWW!!!!!!! screw this waiting and prancing on every bit by bit of info my brain will explode in anticipation
  • +1
  • +2
  • +3
  • I can't believe, maybe $399 would be right.
  • I can see a 199 price point. If the tablet is 7 or 8 inches, possibly 8.something, 199 would be a great pricing. The Nexus 7, at 250 for 16GB and a Tegra 3 chipset has a solid following at that price. Besides, Microsoft has always been known to sell devices at a loss to get the product in people's hands. Xbox comes to mind. It is the services and add ons where they make their money. HP does it with printers. If Microsoft wants to hit the market hard when they release, they need a price point like 199. They could give them away at first if they wanted to, and charge 100 for the keyboard case as well as a flat fee of 20 a month for 3g connectivity (assuming the hardware is there) and they will eventually make the original loss up in no time. To some degree, it is smart marketing to get more devices into users hands. I am just on the fence between the RT or Pro version, as to which one to buy.
  • Agree.  I can see them offering it at $199, and then marking up the accessories.
     
    Given that these tablets will only be available at Microsoft stores, I really don't see why oems would balk at this price point given that oems will have a much wider distribution channel with their offerings.
  • Anybody want to buy a bridge?