Microsoft confirms October 26 Surface launch

Mark your calendars, folks. I suppose this should come as no surprise, but nevertheless, CNet News says Microsoft has confirmed the release date for its ARM-based Surface tablet. Here is the relevant snippet from Microsoft’s latest SEC filing:

The next version of our operating system, Windows 8, will be generally available on October 26, 2012. At that time, we will begin selling the Surface, a series of Microsoft-designed and manufactured hardware devices

When Microsoft unveiled the Surface last month, the company did say the device would come out simultaneously with Windows 8’s general release. (The Intel-powered model is supposed to follow "about 90 days later.") Microsoft shied away from citing specific dates at the time, though, so it’s nice to get an official confirmation.

The ARM-based surface will come with Windows RT and Office 2013 Home and Student pre-installed, and Microsoft expects to price it competitively with "comparable" ARM tablets. The Intel-based model will be priced in the same league as ultrabooks and will ship with the standard x86 version of Windows sans Office. According to the rumor mill, the two devices might wind up costing as much as $599 and $799, respectively. Considering how badly Microsoft needs Windows 8 to gain a rapid foothold in the tablet market, I wouldn’t be surprised if it aimed a little lower.

Comments closed
    • ryko
    • 7 years ago

    I have said it before and I will say it again…winRT is pointless! Too expensive at $599 and barely any app support. If they priced them at $199 or even $299 then many would be willing to overlook its glaring flaws and learn the new metro (crap) operating system and re-locate all of their useful software. But the win8 segmentation will only make uninformed users crazy bc they will think that any windows device can run any windows software. If Microsoft really wanted this inferior version of windows then they should have called in windows tablet edition or something to really differentiate it.

    If they were smart they wouldn’t wait 3 months to release the pro version either. They should have a top to bottom x86 tablet lineup only! No winRT at all. Just drop in a mobile core i3 and a 64gb ssd for the lower price point of $300. Core i5 and 128gb ssd for midrange at $500 and core i7 and 256gb ssd for high end around $700. Then these things would really sell and make a dent in the tablet market. But alas, Microsoft seems content to screws things up. Really wish I was in charge of tablets over there…

    • Grigory
    • 7 years ago

    Judging by the looks of Windows 8 and the Surface Microsoft wants to take away the Fisher Price crown from Apple.

    • tootercomputer
    • 7 years ago

    I think the i5 version of the Surface is going to be a must-have device for a lot of power-users. It would help if they dropped the price, however.

    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    [sarcasm]Now that’s innovation! Look out, Apple.[/sarcasm]

    • Ricardo Dawkins
    • 7 years ago

    I can’t believe that someone in Techreport is posting that Windows 8 requires Ultrabook (ie intel latest Core CPU) hardware to run when it is running as Release Preview under current Atom faster (or as fast) as Windows 7. Please, don’t ask me for proof… heck there is Asus coming with ATOM based Windows 8 tablets that were shown at Computex!

    @Beelbebub
    [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-5zwX6mL4w[/url<] [url<]http://www.techonshow.com/2012/06/04/asus-announces-810-windows-8-tablet-with-intel-atom-processor/[/url<]

      • l33t-g4m3r
      • 7 years ago

      No, it doesn’t require it, but the Surface Pro uses Ultrabook hardware. Might as well when that’s the only system available in the entire world that can honestly give you a decent experience on windows 8.

      • Chrispy_
      • 7 years ago

      I wouldn’t take it to heart.

      Anyone can voice an opinion on Techreport forums no matter how crazy or wrong they are. The rules don’t prevent people from posting opinions. Hell, I post like a complete douchebag sometimes when I’m in a bad mood but I still get mostly positive responses because everyone likes sharing the hate for irritating crap that companies do to us lowly consumers.

    • Anarchist
    • 7 years ago

    problem is … at $599, or even $499, the arm version of w8 tablet is too expensive to compete against ipad and android. Furthermore the $799 x86 version of tablet will likely be too expensive for consumers and too low margin for manufacturers. What microsoft should do is ditch the tablet market and target higher end convertible laptop market where a laptop with swivel screen can function as both laptop and tablet. Oh, and keep those w7 on the store shelves.

      • Madman
      • 7 years ago

      Not to mention there is no software for WinRT. And office UI with on screen keyboard is not such an awesome proposition.

        • HallsMint
        • 7 years ago

        They come with physical keyboards, so your on-screen keyboard argument has no teeth.

    • Decelerate
    • 7 years ago

    What. Is. The. Price?

      • Chrispy_
      • 7 years ago

      You’ll find out if the rumoured prices are correct on Sept 26th.

      So farn, guesses are:
      RT = $599 or more
      x86 = $799 or more

      • ronch
      • 7 years ago

      I hope one doesn’t have to sell a kidney to be able to buy one of these things.

    • yogibbear
    • 7 years ago

    I only buy edible tablets…

      • ronch
      • 7 years ago

      Or tablets with commandments on them.

    • Sahrin
    • 7 years ago

    Can’t wait, the OS and the tablet look awesome. The iPad and Android devices definitely feel ‘limited’ to me in the sense that they’re just mobile OS’es. I haven’t had a chance to use Win8 on a tablet yet, but I expect that having full Windows will make it a dramatically different experience.

      • Madman
      • 7 years ago

      Full Windows is only available on Surface Pro, no? Which, as I understand, will start north of 1000$ – the price of an ultrabook?

      • Beelzebubba9
      • 7 years ago

      Windows RT isn’t any less limited than iOS and Android (being ARM based it can’t run regular Windows software), and the full version of x86 Windows 8 requires essentially ultrabook hardware to run.

      So pay tablet prices and get a tablet with a worse software ecosystem than the competition or pay ultrabook prices for an ultrabook without a keyboard. Compelling, eh?

        • Sahrin
        • 7 years ago

        >Windows RT isn’t any less limited than iOS and Android (being ARM based it can’t run regular Windows software), and the full version of x86 Windows 8 requires essentially ultrabook hardware to run.

        Nowhere in my post does the phrase “windows RT” appear. Interesting that you felt the need to construct this strawman to attack.

        >So pay tablet prices and get a tablet with a worse software

        Well, WinRT runs everything that Win8 does, excepting old applications. So while it is substantially worse than Windows 8 ; it also runs everything developed *for Windows 8* (well, Metro) – so I don’t think it’s fair to say that compability is “worse” than iOS, which runs things developed for iOS full stop.

        > Compelling, eh?

        I would say so, yes. A full Windows experience in a tablet form factor? This doesn’t impress you?

          • Madman
          • 7 years ago

          I would call it full Windows experience if I could get to desktop, and launch, say Photoshop or AutoCad. So far, WinRT is full Windows phone experience.

          I’m not expecting most of the software to be recompiled to ARM, unless it’s already available on iPad/Droid. For the sole reason that Windows GUI is not available on WinRT, or is it?

            • Vulk
            • 7 years ago

            Windows Phone has support for Silverlight apps. Windows RT is actually more restricted from a developer’s point of view.

            Also keep in mind that right now MS’s stance is you have to use .NET RT if you want to be in the Windows App Store, and the only software which can be installed on the Arm devices has to come from the app store. I stopped paying attention to that a few months ago, so I could be wrong about that and the Silverlight comment… That said the only comment I found on it was from the Windows Phone build site at: [url<]http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh452743.aspx[/url<] which seems to support me. In any case the implication there is that it's very very hard to write code for iPad/Droid and port it to WinRT. Windows GUI is fully available on Windows RT, what isn't is support for Win32 which is the api that has been with windows since the dawn of time (or at least NT). They abandoned standard CLR support because they were worried that even though Windows CE had been used for touch apps for over 7 years, that they wouldn't fit in with Metro and that they were going to force everyone to redesign instead, or that's what I get out of it. In any case it's a freaking mess. Developers who aren't already deep into the MS architecture will probably stay the hell away which will mean most of the great UX and touch designers won't support the platform at first unless they were specifically hired for that experience already. I would expect most applications that are released to be easily ported fliers to test the profitability of that market instead of serious workflow style tools. I'd expect major coding efforts that aren't subsidized or strongly encouraged by MS to wait until at least the initial market reaction, so sometime in January projects may get green-lighted, which given release cycles means that they will come out in 2014 or so unless there's very easy code reuse. There is a strong liklihood that users who aren't aware of any of this are going to be VERY upset when the table they just bought doesn't run any of their apps even though it says Windows on it whenever they boot. Which may lead to a lot of returns and bad press, which will scare developers away in droves... yada yada yada. All said and done this isn't a slam dunk success for MS. It's very risky. This is a big bet with the core of MS's business. We'll see how it plays out. Either it works and they are set for the next 20 years, or it doesn't and they'll be pigeonholed into a dying business model and will watch as their empire slowly erodes away over time as their margines increasingly shrink. A 'success' of Windows Phone 7 sized proportions is unlikely given the fact that they can shove this down computer manufacturer's throats. But you have to ask, how many more Vista's can they deliver and keep getting shots at recovering. This, but this is already their second, third, fourth, or fifth bite at this Apple depending on how far back you want to start enumerating their failure to develop touch interfaces and make a compelling tablet devices. At some point they have to play for all the marbles, and if this is it you have to wonder at how successful this strategy will be. I certainly don't have any answers, but from where I'm sitting right now, the odds of Windows for Arm don't look particularly good.

        • Vulk
        • 7 years ago

        That’s basically my assessment of the situation. Yes.

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    $600 tablet… wahooo!

    If a tablet isn’t under $150 it’s not worth buying, then again I consider tablets in general not worth buying. Unless you’re ridiculously poor and you need some sort of working piece of electronics. OLPC could cover that arena though.

      • Vulk
      • 7 years ago

      What magical $150 tablet are you referring to? Plenty of people are willing to pay $200-600 for a tablet device.

      If you’re seriously expecting OLPC to service the market… I am skeptical in the extreme. They couldn’t do it with direct clones of their products, i.e. netbooks. I don’t see how that then translates into their ability to service the tablet market, especailly when there are already very credible products from device makers now.

      If you’re just trolling, kudos you got me to bite.

        • Madman
        • 7 years ago

        Even though I could afford a 600$ tablet, I am not going to buy one even for 200$.

        I know my workflow, and I just don’t see why I would want to flush 200$ down the drain on a piece of hardware that does nothing well enough.

        Lack of good keyboard stinks, small screens stink, lack of good productivity software stinks, CPU speed stinks, keeping the tablet in your hands all the time vs laptop that stands by itself – stinks, games on tablets stink, size stink. And 600$ for that? Hmmm?

        Smartphone covers the only scenario that I need from a mobile device, web browser and GPS which I can use when on road.

        The only reason why I *MIGHT* consider Nexus7, is it’s cheap, it’s small, and could be used for development testing. But even then, I would want external micro-SD card slot and a regular USB port, so that OBD2 car diagnostic software can be used with this device which is the only thing that could work well. Ok, maybe navigation software too.

          • cegras
          • 7 years ago

          Then are you aren’t part of the ipad demographic – nor are you part of the people that this tablet is targeting. You are irrelevant.

          Have you ever used a tablet?

            • Madman
            • 7 years ago

            I tried, and I hated the experience. And I’m a techie…

            I have no problems with smartphones though, especially small ones like Wildfire S.

            • cegras
            • 7 years ago

            Being a techie has little to do with it.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            I disagree… I think techies have more intellectual prowess and demand more from their electronic devices. Just because you use a computer daily doesn’t make you a techie.

            • cegras
            • 7 years ago

            That still has nothing to do with it. I would say I enjoy my ipad, but I’m a ‘techie’.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            I have… You know who is part of he iPad demographic? I honestly don’t think anyone is. It’s a niche item. Apple definitely makes you think you are though and that’s all that matters.

            • cegras
            • 7 years ago

            A ‘niche’ item that makes up a huge fraction of apple’s revenue? Hmm. No. It’s the farthest from niche and it shows how out of touch you are with average joe consumer trends.

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            Hmmm yes… Just because something makes a lot of money doesn’t mean it’s not niche. If you look at what it’s actually useful for compared to say, a laptop, it’s definitely very niche. Apple just does a very good job of making it seem like it’s not.

          • BobbinThreadbare
          • 7 years ago

          Navigation on the Nexus would probably be pretty useless since you’d need wifi.

            • Madman
            • 7 years ago

            Can’t they use cellular networks?

            Phone can work as a WiFi hotspot for Nexus if it can’t, although that’s bass ackwards…

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            The Nexus7 is wifi only.

          • Bensam123
          • 7 years ago

          It sits on a coffee table nicely and allows you to pass it around to all your friends and [i<]laugh[/i<] with glee as they consume youtube videos with you while none of you can actually see it all at the same time. You are correct sir. My original point is tablets are still vastly inferior to laptops. For a tinker toy, it's not worth more then $150

    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]the [Windows RT tablet] might wind up costing as much as $599[/quote<] Actually, that rumour from Digitimes says it expects the RT to cost [i<]more than[/i<] $599. Microsoft needs traction in the market with the RT and it's not going to get it by being more expensive than the [i<]utterly breathtaking[/i<] iPad3 with a retina display and the largest app selection of all tablets. Microsoft Office is useful, yes - but I think they're overestimating the value of Word, Excel and Powerpoint, especially on a relatively underpowered device.

      • Madman
      • 7 years ago

      And, if I understand correctly, Win8 RT is not going to run regular Windows apps, since it’s ARM and Metro only.

      And Nexus is right there for 199$…

        • Sahrin
        • 7 years ago

        >And, if I understand correctly, Win8 RT is not going to run regular Windows apps, since it’s ARM and Metro only.

        You don’t. Windows RT runs all apps compiled for it; many Windows apps can be compiled for ARM.

          • Vulk
          • 7 years ago

          All devices run all apps compiled for it. That is a non-statement.

          RT Devices only run RT Metro apps. That means they only support applications which run in sandbox and use contract support. This means that only applications that have very little system interaction and low use of external dll’s can easily be recompiled. Anything more complicated often requires minor to major re-engineering of the code, which has the attendant overhead of rewriting the unit tests, regression tests, and having to perform general user experience testing all over again. Thus releasing code is not trivial or free.

          This ignores the larger issue that ALL CODE INCLUDING DRIVER UPDATES HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE MICROSOFT STORE IN ORDER TO BE INSTALLED ON WINDOWS RT TABLETS. Sorry for shouting, but that’s not a trivial issue either, and will probably block most GNU based code from being modified and released to the platform, which is the same issue open source developers have with the iPad.

          So don’t act like it’s no big deal. Windows for Arm is basically a whole new beast as far as the software ecosystem goes. There is almost exactly zero backward code compatibility. There are only migration strategies which are more or less painful, but every single one involves compiling code for MS proprietary APIs and giving them your source code to ‘review’ or not releasing a product for the platform.

          I leave you to decide whether that’s going to cause developers to pause for a second and actually contemplate how useful it is to develop for that platform, and how likely that strategy is to draw in development houses which are already compiling for iOS and Android.

          My personal assessment is that Windows RT has a major chicken and the egg problem, and because we’re not being paid to do so, there’s no budget to allocate towards working on that issue until BYOD brings one of those devices through our doors and we have to at least consider it. I already know for certain that corporate IT at the company I work for has no plans what so ever to support Metro or Windows 8 for that matter, which is going to make any independent efforts on our part difficult to justify.

          To me Windows RT is a very hard sell. The only thing that looks attractive is the big Windows 8 tablet with the full x86 processor, and at that point I have to ask myself what I’m getting and why I wouldn’t want to spend $400 less on a full sized laptop…

          • Madman
          • 7 years ago

          They can be compiled if they don’t use MFC, WIN32 GUI API, WTL, ATL, wxWidgets or QT, which incidentally covers 90% of Windows app market.

    • pedro
    • 7 years ago

    I’ve already ordered my wedge mouse in anticipation.

      • Chrispy_
      • 7 years ago

      I assume you work in a Microsoft retail store and need something to hold the door open for the crowds of person rushing in to buy an RT tablet 😉

    • Neutronbeam
    • 7 years ago

    Can’t wait…I’m already experiencing Surface tension…baddaboom! Thanks, I’m here all week, and don’t forget to tip your admin!

      • jdaven
      • 7 years ago

      That’s the name of my father-in-law’s Jazz band…Surface Tension. I kid you not. Lol!

    • [+Duracell-]
    • 7 years ago

    Probably snagging one, depending on the price.

    • Madman
    • 7 years ago

    Whatever, not interested.

      • Madman
      • 7 years ago

      Well, actually I am, it will be an awesome horror show. :gets the popcorn:

        • blastdoor
        • 7 years ago

        Definitely popcorn worthy.

        And if the swirl of rumors from reputable sources that came out yesterday are to be believed, this will be a full month after the iPad mini is released. There may not be a lot of oxygen left in the room for poor MS.

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