Microsoft Surface RT rumored to sell for $199, but can it compete with the rest?
Rumors are circulating today that the Microsoft Surface RT tablet will be going on sale for a MSRP of $199 this October. This puts it in direct competition with the other low-priced tablets like the Nexus 7, Kindle Fire and nookTablet. It also makes it one of the first mainstream 10-inch tablets to come in at such a low price. The Surface RT has the specs to compete with other budget tablets (check out a compare gdgt.com/compare/tablets/73924+75817+69953+75408/ ), but the one area that is still unknown is Windows 8. What allowed these other tablets to get some traction in the market was using a proven mobile OS with a strong app ecosystem. While Windows 8 has been out for the bleeding-edge faithful. no one has seen it run on the kind of device Microsoft is planning to sell.
At $199, the Surface RT could be an interesting impulse buy, much like the Nexus 7. Are you planning to buy one if this turns out to be the real price?
The argument that this is a volume play also doesn't make sense. MS is only selling these online and through their stores. That will not add up to much.
Even if they did sell for $199, they would immediately hurt the market for Windows RT tablets. If Surface sells in any decent numbers, they're killing their partners' chances of making a profit.
Finally, this was a very poorly-sourced rumor. Too many sites ran with it, giving it the appearance of legitimacy. People need to calm down about this.
Mary Jo Foley wrote an article brainstorming ways it could possibly be priced at $199: www.zdnet.com/is-there-any-way-claims-of-a-199-mic...
Two seem plausible:
- $199 with a subscription and x year commitment, like Microsoft unveiled for the Xbox 360. It could be for a subscription for something like Office 365 or XBox Music & Video, XBox Live, etc.
- It could be $199 for the Surface + $50-100 for the keyboard cover + $50-150 for the Office apps (Microsoft has never said that they would be free, just that they would be "included with" it)
My only concern is the rumor itself. If this is true, great, but otherwise, this puts Microsoft in a bad position if they don't deliver. If this rumor isn't true and Microsoft doesn't dispute it, there are going to be a lot of disappointed people come October.
One thing it'll heavily depend on is the game industry's adoptability. It seems a lot of the major game developers have big issues with Windows 8, such as Valve, Blizzard and the guys who made Mincraft.
For now, the Nexus 7 is going to win in that price range, and we'll see how low Apple might be able to get their rumored iPad Nano.
ps-I won't stop calling it Metro. I'm not going to call it "advanced windows interface" or whatever stupid business-like name they're giving it. Does anyone name things more boringly than Microsoft?
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