The $199 Surface and Windows 8 RT OEMs

Microsoft’s entry into computer hardware has changed the game. The move has seen reactions across the spectrum, from excitement to about time to are they insane. The decision is very interesting for the simple reason that Microsoft will be competing with the strength of the Windows ecosystem—the OEM partners.

While Microsoft has been rather quite about the Surface and Windows 8 RT, the company’s VP for Ecosystem and Planning team penned down an article detailing the progress made by Microsoft and its hardware partners. Most of the article is information we already know rolled into one, however, the highlights are:

  • Dell, Lenovo, Samsung & Asus will be introducing Windows 8 RT tablets
  • Windows 8 RT battery life:
    • HD Video Playback—8 hours to 13 hours
    • Connected Standby—320 hours to 409 hours
    • Weight—520g to 1200g (iPad is 662g)

Toshiba’s omission from the list of WIndows RT OEM partners caught the attention of several Microsoft reporters and as it turns out, the company blames delays in obtaining parts.

Adding to the Windows 8 RT news, Engadget cited an anonymous source and claimed Microsoft’s Surface tablet’s starting price will be as low as $199. The rumor got several thinking about how this could be possible. One theory doing rounds is Microsoft will offer the Surface at a subsidy with subscriptions to Xbox Music, Office 365 as a way to lock the user into Microsoft’s ecosystem and make up for the drastically low Surface price.

The Surface will be available only through the Microsoft Store and the company already has this subscription-based low-cost model implemented for the Xbox 360—another Microsoft Store exclusive.

Given the Nexus 7’s $199 price-tag and Apple’s inevitable iPad Mini or iPad Air, offering Surface at this insane price of $199 might help Microsoft move these tablets into the market while the OEM partners do their best.

Published by

Manan Kakkar

Manan is a technology enthusiast keenly following the consumer products from Microsoft, Google & Apple.