Microsoft's Surface RT tablet dropping to $350

Microsoft's Surface RT tablet is about to get a lot cheaper. Staples is scheduled to slash $150 off the base model this weekend, bringing the 32GB tablet down to $350. According to The Verge, similar cuts will be applied to the entire Surface RT lineup. The Surface RT 64GB will apparently sell for $450, while tablet bundles that include the Touch Cover will cost an extra $100.

Sales of Microsoft's ARM-powered tablet have evidently been sluggish, with Redmond reportedly halving its initial order of four million units. High prices have been blamed for the Surface RT's lack of success. $500 is a big ask for a tablet with a 1366x768 display resolution. The base model's 32GB storage capacity is a bit of a misnomer, too. Windows consumes most of that storage, leaving only 15GB available to the user. Android and iOS have much smaller footprints.

Then there's Windows RT itself. The OS hasn't exactly been a hit with developers, and its lack of support for x86 applications eliminates the biggest benefit to using Windows in the first place. Given the compromises, $350 sounds like a more reasonable starting price for the Surface RT.

Perhaps in response, the price of Asus' VivoTab RT 32GB tablet has fallen to $354. The VivoTab has comparable specfications to the Surface, but it's available with a much more robust keyboard dock that includes an auxiliary battery. The dock will set you back an extra $72 right now.

Microsoft is rumored to be working on an updated Surface RT tablet, so I expect it's clearing stock ahead of that launch. Let's hope the next version is similarly discounted. I'm not sure cheaper prices alone will be enough to spur interest in Windows RT, though.

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