It's doubtful Microsoft's Surface for Windows RT tablet will launch at $199, as the rumor mill has suggested. However, Lenovo now suggests Windows RT tablets may not cost a whole lot more when they launch later this year.
Lenovo's David Schmoock, who spoke to Bloomberg recently, says he expects Windows RT tablets to cost $200-300 less than their Intel-powered Windows 8 counterparts. (Windows RT, of course, will run only on ARM hardware.) Schmoock also expects Intel-based tablets running Windows 8 to be priced at $600-700.
Based on those figures, we can also extrapolate that the WinRT offerings will start at $300-400. It's not clear what size devices Schmoock was referring to, though. $300 would be tantalizingly affordable for a 10" tablet, but it would be a little pricey for a 7" device. Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire both cost $199.
In any case, it seems like there's going to be a substantial price disparity between x86 and ARM devices. That's not entirely unexpected, though. When it announced its Surface tablets back in June, Microsoft clearly stated that the Windows 8 model would be priced in the same league as ultrabooks, while the WinRT offering would be competitive with other ARM tablets.
Windows RT and Windows 8 devices are both due out on October 26.