Microsoft’s foray into the tablet market now has a price tag. The Surface will be priced at $499, the same price as Apple’s iPad. The tablet will drop on October 26. The Surface has a few advantages over the iPad, namely in storage space and screen size. Apple’s tablet has dominated the market thus far, and the company is expected to announce a smaller version of the product, the iPad mini, later this month.
A 64 GB version of the Surface will be available for $699. That version will also come with the Surface’s signature cover that doubles as a keyboard. Standalone purchase of the cover/keyboard will run consumers $100. The Surface will run on Microsoft’s new Windows 8 platform, which was specifically designed with tablets in mind. Though many traditional Windows programs will not be available, there is a version of Office that has been created for the tablet.
Microsoft does not typically jump into the hardware market, but with tablets exploding in popularity, and a large segment of the market dominated by Apple, the software giant had no choice. Other hardware makers have flocked to Google’s Android system, including Amazon with its popular Kindle Fire line. Microsoft has struggled in the phone market, with Android and iOS taking large portions of those markets. The Surface could stop the bleeding in the mobile arena.
The Surface has already garnered a lot of praise, and the competitive price could help it gain some traction. There had been some speculation that the tablet could be very expensive, a fact that would have made competition with Apple nearly impossible. The iPad has become synonymous with the tablet market, so much so that it is becoming the generic name for a tablet. Dropping a product that is more expensive than the iPad is a losing proposition, as competing with the Apple juggernaut is tough enough already.