Microsoft Surface – $325 at Buy.com

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Microsoft Surface 32GB Tablet PC w/ Windows RT and ClearType technology
Surface to Windows RT is supported by the ARM processor and NVIDIA Tegra is confirmed by three quad-core processors. Has a size of 10.6 inch HD touchscreen ClearType, micro HDMI video output. For storage media have been equipped with a 32GB of internal storage and comes with a USB 2.0 interface and microSD card slot, and supports WiFi connectivity with 2 2 MIMO antenna. It measures just 9.3mm thick and weighs 676g. Running Windows RT, this model comes pre-loaded with Office 15 applications.

$324.99 at Buy.com

Surface 2: SOLD OUT!

In the USA most outlets that sell the new Surface 2 tablets (including the Surface 2 Pro) are out of stock. That includes Best Buy, Walmart Amazon and Microsoft themselves. See the full story at Mashable.

So the big question is, how many did Microsoft manufacture? Everyone knows that they severely over-estimated demand when the first generation tablets were released, so this time did they under-estimate? Is the Surface 2 now actually a hit product, despite the predictions of most experts?

Personally I would have expected the Pro to be a strong seller, but the basic model to still be a flop, given that other brands have full Windows 8 tablets for a similar price.

 

Surface 2 Launch – Cheaper and More Business Focused

As expected there weren’t any surprises. The hardware has been upgraded, but certainly not enough to concern their competitors. Prices are lower than some predicted, but not low enough to make it a hit product.

The RT moniker has been dropped, but Microsoft still think they should be selling a consumer product (with a gutless Windows) that is confusingly similar to a business product (with proper Windows).

So here’s the news:

  • longer battery life
  • better camera
  • docking station for the Pro
  • improved stand
  • better graphics

The new Surface 2 will sell for a minimum of $449, compared to $499 when the RT launched. That’s cheaper, but not really enough to make any difference. I only hope that Microsoft built fewer of them this time, because the RT is still for sale at $349.

The Surface Pro 2 should do OK, because it has a unique selling point. Businesses should lap it up.

Launch Date: Sept 23 – Surface 2 Tablet

According to The Verge, Microsoft are launching the new Surface 2 tablet computer on September 23. According to most reports the hardware improvements aren’t particularly thrilling, with some saying that a “launch” is overkill.

The new products are expected to be called Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro – with the RT moniker being sensibly dropped. The rumored Surface Mini is not expected to be making an appearance.

Personally there is something that will trump form factor, processors, screen pixels and so on – price. This is Microsoft’s opportunity to flood the market with a product that is as good as the iPad, but cheaper. I suggest 20-25% cheaper will do the trick

Microsoft: $900 Million Surface Loss Reported

In Microsoft’s fourth quarter reporting you can see a massive write-down of $900M for unsold Surface RT tablets. No further breakdown is provided, however Peter Bright at Ars Techinca has done the maths:

But that Surface adjustment is huge. The company said that it’s for Surface RT and related parts and accessories. We don’t know the exact breakdown of the $900 million figure. Worst case, it implies that the company has six million Surface RTs ($900 million divided by $150 price cut per unit) sitting unsold. The true number may be a little lower, due to some of the hit coming from parts and accessories. But Microsoft is still sitting on several million—perhaps as many as five—Surface RTs.

That Microsoft could underestimate initial demand is extraordinary. If you build too few, you can always make more later. If you build too many, then embarrassing price-cuts occur, and then they will either give them away or dump them.

If I were in charge, I would sell them to a government somewhere (Australia?) at $100 each – for schoolkids to use. But 5 million is lot of product to shift, even at bargain prices.

LTE for Surface 2?

LTE connectivity might only be available on more expensive versions of the next Surface Pro, but you never know. It’s only a guess anyway, but news that Microsoft are using a new processor makes it look reasonably certain:

Some new versions of Surface will be based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors, which can deliver fast wireless data connections, said the people, who asked not to be identified because Microsoft has yet to announce new models. Nvidia Corp. whose Tegra chip is used in the current Surface RT, will continue as a supplier for some versions, one person said.

I hope Microsoft doesn’t bamboozle their customer base with too many versions. This is how I would have the RT line:

  • Basic – minimal storage 16 or 32 GB – no LTE. Sold at break even price or loss.
  • Premium – storage of 128GB, with LTE. Sold at a profit.

7/8 inch model for each, and a 10/11 inch model as well. That’s a total of only 4 devices.

TechEd Europe: £69.99 Surface Tablets

You merely need to be an attendee to get this amazing price:

Devices and Prices

  • Surface RT 64GB standalone (with FREE touch cover) for €79.99 for EU customers and £69.99 GBP for UK customers
  • Surface Pro 128GB standalone for €349.99 for EU customers and £299.99 for UK customers

Eligible attendees

  • Full Conference Pass Attendees
  • Partner Attendee and Booth Staff Passes
  • Faculty and Students
  • Press
  • 3rd Party Speakers
  • 3rd Party Staff

Read the official announcement here: Special Surface Offer for TechEd Europe 2013 Attendees

Keep in mind that the new Surface tablet can’t be far off!

Schools Gets Surface RT For $200

Not long ago Microsoft gave away 10,000 tablets at a Texas conference. While it may have got the product some publicity, most comments were of the “they made too many” variety. It is certainly looking like there is a lot of surplus inventory and Microsoft needs to get rid of it before releasing Surface 2.

Now, according to a blog post by Ryan Lowermilk (which has since disappeared, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t true), Microsoft will soon be selling 32GB Surface RT tablets to schools and higher education institutions for the very price of $200 – less than half price.