Would You Pay $600 for a Microsoft Surface Tablet?

Would You Pay $600 for a Microsoft Surface Tablet?

Microsoft has a potentially awesome thing going with its newly unveiled Surface tablet. Could it be an iPad killer? And if not, could Surface reign supreme as the world's second most popular tablet, a rank currently held by Amazon's Kindle Fire device? The success of Surface will depend on a number of factors, one of them being price.

Early rumors suggest the starting price for a Surface tablet could be as high as $600, and that's for a model built around NVIDIA's Tegra 3 platform running Windows RT. For an Ivy Bridge-based Surface, cost of entry will start at around $800, DigiTimes reports.


If true, the majority may find the Surface's price points to be tough to swallow, particularly with Ultrabooks coming down in cost. Ultrabooks are a different category altogether, but they're also somewhat similar (from a portability standpoint) in that they're thin, light, have a keyboard, and in some cases, they also double as tablet PCs.
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@400 i buy 3

@500 2

@600 plus i wait or maybe 1

Take your pick msft

jonno

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600 would be a tough sell, unless it's for a maxed out version. The RT has to start at no more than 400 to be competitive.

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It doesn't have to go that low to be competitive, Android and iOS devices aren't offering desktop OS capabilities and features. While the use of magnesium and premium build are hardly comparable to cheap plastic casing most other tablets offer.

Also consider that Windows RT will also come with MS Office 2013 RT and that's something you usually have to pay for separately but will be included with every system. Though those who don't use Office may not see that value but those who do will.

The only tablets that are going $400 or less are the cheaper and less powerful tablet offerings. The Asus Transformer Prime, the iPad 3, etc, especially with over 32GB of capacity, are all going over $400 and some even higher. So let's not confuse what price we want from the realities of the market right now.

The MS Surface is a premium built quality tablet with 32 to 64GB offered for the Windows RT version, which will also have 2GB of RAM compared to many other ARM tablets still only offering 1GB of RAM.

The SSD will also be faster than what's used in many other ARM tablets... All of these things do add up, so unless MS is willing to sell at a loss just to undercut the competition then it's unlikely they would go lower than $500.

Besides, it would not go well with MS's partners who are trying to come out with their own Windows RT tablets as they would have it even harder to meet those price points. Just like you don't see a lot of companies meeting Amazon's price point without offering tablets with even fewer features, lower build quality, and less performance.

While despite the lack of Enterprise features in Windows RT, the Surface is more likely to be popular among business users and they're usually more willing to pay price premiums for quality.

Mind though that MS is only offering two models, one for Windows RT and the other goes straight to the high end with Windows 8 Pro, Core i5 processor, and adds a digitizer pen.

So that leaves other companies to make mid range offerings for those of us who don't mind less premium products and some will even go lower than MS's Windows RT model... Just like Asus offers cheaper versions of its Transformer series with lower build quality and features.

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Here's the problem with the RT starting at $600: http://www.cnet.com/laptops/hp-pavilion-dm1z-fall/4505-3121_7-35020139.html

HP DM1z

Price $444

Processor 1.65GHz AMD E-450

Memory 4GB, 1,333MHz DDR3

Hard drive 320GB 7,200rpm

Chipset AMD 1510h

Graphics AMD Radeon HD 6320

Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

Dimensions (WD) 11.5x8.5 inches

Height 0.8 inch - 1.3 inches

Screen size (diagonal) 11.6 inches

System weight / Weight with AC adapter 3.4 pounds / 4.2 pounds

Category Ultraportable

For less than $600 I can get a more capable computer that is not that much bigger. 11.5 x 8.5 is the size of a sheet of paper, small enough for me.

Plus, I don't think that cover/keyboard is included in the price. So add on another $150 or so and you're looking at $750. Now you're dangerously near Ultra/slim book territory. I just don't think the RT is worth that kind of money.

I do think MS has winner on it's hands. I like the aesthetics and features. Who knows, it might perform better than I think it will. But I just can't see Ultra portable money for a Tegra tablet.

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You're comparing a tablet to a laptop, but laptops will always be cheaper.

Laptops don't have the added cost of adding a touch screen, don't have the same demand for high resolution and higher screen quality, don't need to be usable while on the go, it's easier to keep a laptop cool versus a tablet, and it's harder to squeeze a full system into a tablet than a laptop.

Rather you should be comparing to other PC Tablets like the Asus EP121 or the Samsung Series 7 Slate, both that go over $1000 and aren't as lightweight and as portable as these Surface tablets.

Btw, the keyboard cover isn't going to be $150 as that's the cost of what the Asus Transformer keyboard dock costs but that includes an extra battery and extra ports that the Surface keyboard cover doesn't include. While also it's unclear whether they will not include it with the tablet.

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Yes, I am comparing a laptop to a tablet. I always have since the iPad came out. I've said to my self, why should I buy a tablet that costs the same or more than a laptop? So far I haven't found a reason to do so. For me, touch screens are a hassle to use, and virtual keyboards just plain suck. My net book is just as portable, has more storage, and I can still be productive with it.

And you can't compare the Asus EP121 to the RT, the RT is a Tegra based Tablet, and as such needs to be priced like one. I would say the Transformer that you mentioned would be the ideal competition for Surface RT. The Asus EP121 would better compete with Surface Pro.

From a connectivity point of view, I will say Microsoft has addressed one of my concerns with these tablets. Its nice to see microSD, USB 2.0, and Micro HD video included. As I've said I do like these tablets, and they along with the Asus Transformers, are the only tablets I'd consider right now.

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Sorry but you can't directly compare a tablet to a laptop without considering the differences and that was my point with the other tablet examples. Tablets and Laptops don't have the exact same usages and the pricing will never be the same because of the differences in design and build requirements.

You might as well complain why laptops are more expensive than desktops of the same configuration.

You're just not considering any of the differences or even acknowledging that a tablet will always cost more than a equivalent laptop, which was the point of pointing out those other models. Even a ATOM based PC tablet typically costs over $500. Like the Gigabyte S1081 is about $650 and is running with a Cedar Trail N2800, which is cheaper than the E-450 in your DM1 example for CPU cost yet it still costs more than the DM1.

You also ignored things like for the Tegra 3, it will run much longer than even a low end AMD Zacate E-450 system like the HP Pavilion DM1 on the same size battery... A 1366x768 resolution will look better on a 10.6" than it would on a 11.6"... The build quality of the Surface is much higher than the DM1, and that means even ignoring the differences between a tablet and a laptop you should at the very least compared it to a higher quality business model laptop as magnesium casing is what's used in premium laptops like Lenovo Thinkpads.

While the argument between the usefulness between a tablet and a laptop wasn't the point of your previous post. The truth is they're just different and there are things a tablet would be better for and there are things a laptop would be better for!

Ignoring those differences is what invalidates the point you were trying to make.

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But I can and do whenever I walk into a store and have to decide how to spend that $600. To me tablets and laptops are competing in the same space - portable computing. Laptops and Desktops on the other hand do not compete in the same space; laptops are portable, desktops are not, so yes there is a premium to be paid for the portability of a laptop. I just don't think tablets bring enough to the table vs a laptop.

Btw it's fun having someone around who I can debate with =)

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Your welcome though consider that tablets are more than just portable as they often fall into the mobile category and not just the portable like laptops fall into.

The difference being a truly mobile device has to be usable while being mobile. Though a truly mobile devices needs to fulfill three requirements of mobile software, mobile hardware, and mobile communication. Not all tablets fulfill all three requirements but that's compared to pretty much none for laptops.

So the MS Surface doesn't quite fall into the Mobile range but as a tablet it's intended usages are a bit different than what is expected of a laptop.

While even products in the same category can have different costs, like a gaming laptop will cost a lot more than a laptop meant for just general consumer use and everything about the Surface is what's usually reserved for premium business model computers like Lenovo Thinkpads.

The use of magnesium in the casing material for example is not a cheap option and is much more costly than using say Aluminum or plastic.

During the presentation they went so far as to point out that the hinge stand was build to such a high quality that they compared it to a luxury car door opening and closing.

So we're not talking about a design that was meant to be as affordable as possible but rather as premium as possible.

Mind as well that MS primary market is business, especially where MS Office is concerned. So these models are most likely intended for the Enterprise markets. So won't be really competing for the same type of consumers as say the Asus versions will when they come out with the 600 and 810 they announced they were coming out with later.

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No. $200 max for the less-expensive one, $400 on the high-end. After all, it comes with a well-known inferior OS, and an unknown level of support by the world of developers.

On the other hand, if it goes down to $100 on the low end and can run CoolReader, a Kindle reader app, and/or Calibre, I'd buy two. That's a great price for a large-format ereader.

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Fantasies aside, there's no way a Core i5 Ivy Bridge squished into a 10.6" tablet is going for a mere $400 even if they ship it with no OS at all! Never mind the digitizer pen, higher capacity storage options, etc that the Pro version offers as well.

Even the Kindle Fire is a stripped down tablet and is subsidized by Amazon's services, which few other companies can do and so you won't find a equivalent tablet as cheap as the AKF, let alone a more powerful one like MS is offering. Never mind those are for smaller tablets and not tablets in the size range of the MS Surface.

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@JDiaz I already have an unsubsidized Lenovo tablet that's superior to my wife's Kindle Fire in most respects (she gets longer battery life, but has no cameras, no Bluetooth, no microSD card slot, plus only half the 16GB internal storage), and it cost the same as her Fire. In fact, I got a custom leather case for the Lenovo and it still totaled less than her Fire. Thus I think $200 is a reasonable target for the Surface RT.

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Sorry but the Lenovo tablet you're speaking of has lower specs than the Amazon Kindle Tablet. First it's using a older TI ARM Cortex-A8 1.0GHz single core processor. Compared to the 1 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 dual core in the AKF. The screen quality is also less than the AKF. Sure, the AKF is practically stripped but the parts it does have are higher than what other tablets in the same price range offer.

Never mind both are smaller than the Surface! Larger devices cost more to make to begin with, then add the fact the Surface is much higher built quality than pretty much any tablet out there right now. Use of materials like magnesium in the casing is not cheap and much more expensive than aluminum or plastic, and that's not even going into the extreme tolerances they needed to get to for such a compact design and ultra thin casing material.

Even the Pro version still comes in at less than 2 pounds, which is a weight that even Ultrabooks haven't reached yet.

Never mind the cost difference between Windows and Android! So for right now your estimate for $200 or even $400 is not realistic!

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I think you went a little too far, that i5 cpu would be too expensive to put in a $400 tablet.

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Um, NO lol If I had $600 I'd rather buy a netbook and spend the other $300 on booze to celebrate the better deal

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Normally I'd agree, I like netbooks but there's not too many good netbooks right now. Since companies are either pulling out of that market, limiting it to just their dominant region, or making some really bad design choices.

Asus for example is cutting a lot of corners in their latest Eee PC models. The 1025C has a mono speaker, the new Flare case design may look nice but it's harder to disassemble and they removed access to the RAM, no bluetooth, at least one person I know of complained that the hard drive was too noisy, and Asus has also imposed soldered RAM in many models now. So you'll be stuck with 1GB it comes with and have absolutely no chance of upgrading, and you can't tell by the model as Asus states this for the model regardless as to whether it's actually soldered and the only way you can be sure is to disassemble and find out for yourself but that'll void your warranty.

While many other companies are just updating some of their older models and haven't bothered adding HDMI or display port. Along with pretty much all of them still using 1024x600 displays.

Meanwhile prices aren't as low as they should be and are generally higher than they were predicted to be when these new models were first announced. Hard drive shortage price hikes may have factored but considering all the reduced build quality it looks more like many or just putting place holder models and weathering the time until the next gen ATOMs come out.

It doesn't help that Intel only released Windows 7 32bit drivers for the Cedar Trail GMA, reserving driver development efforts to get ready for the Windows 8 release. Also there's no official Linux driver support for the Cedar Trail Atoms because the GMA is based on Imagination's PowerVR GPU instead of Intel's own. You can run Linux but only with generic drivers that don't support hardware acceleration.

While some of the more competitive offerings like Clover Trail won't be released until just in time for Windows 8 release as well, but ARM based tablets may have a performance edge over present gen ATOMs until the 22nm Silvermont update comes out next year.

So aside from legacy support and better desktop mode support, it's not looking all that good for netbooks for this year. Especially with the focus on tablets and ultrabooks right now.

Hopefully that'll change next year but it'll be mid 2013 before we see those new models and Intel switches back to a GMA based on its own GPU for better driver support.

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ok JDiaz, I see what you're saying. So for now I'll just skip buying a netbook and spend it all on booze, an even better reason to celebrate, I just saved money! yay lol  (But now I'm going to drink it away) :P

 

Seriously though, Every other tech article is about the Surface Tablet so it will either be a huge success because of the exposure or a huge let down because of all the hype. Either way, hopefully this tablet does live up to the hype - performance wise, and when review sites get their hands on it I hope they will be honest and unbiased.

 

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Manduh you crack me up! Ha-Ha!

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realneil:

Manduh you crack me up! Ha-Ha!

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At 500 Id consider it. More interested in the Intel version, though it really depends on the battery life. I want an ultrabook, but having the tablet option would be wonderful.

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For the RT version at $400 I would definitely buy one, at $500-600 I would still buy one but only if the hardware specs SURPASS the "iPad 3's" hardware specs only because The new iPad has a retina display which I would rather have than slower hardware.

However for the ivy bridge model I would be willing to spend $900 easy... But at $1100 or more I would have to see some seriously useable features. I don't think the ivy bridge model will be anything UNDER $899 and that's ok because you're getting an ultrabook with a touch screen in a tablet formfactor.

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No , I just bought a new laptop and did not spent $600

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Yeah; these prices seem high to me. I think they should take the Amazon FIRE approach (not $199 just the concept it is much more capable than a color kindle). This is there cloud hardware I was told about 2 years ago by a evangelist at a Microsoft conference. I even attempted to submit for copyright a tablet design a year before the iPad dropped but they did not see the point in co-developing one at that time.

Either way I think 400 for the RT and 600 for the pro would be very reasonable as well as successful especially if they had services behind it. The hardware behind the iPad and iPhone is not where they make there money it is the residuals really. yes the get some from the hardware sale but the greatest profit is services. How many iPad, iPod, iPhone etc users have and iTunes account? All of them most likely and Apple makes 10 dollars a year off of 10 million people on those services that's a billion dollars for 1 product and the users update when a new one drops at a rate above 50% I bet if not higher.

So the money in the cloud is not in the hardware it is in the residuals!

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