Microsoft's Surface for Windows RT tablet will carry a $499 price tag for an entry-level device with 32 GB of storage. The price rises to $599 to include the Surface Touch Cover keyboard that attracted so much attention when Microsoft debuted Surface in June.
A top-of-the-line version with 64 GB of storage and the Surface Touch Cover keyboard will be priced at $699. Microsoft also will sell the Surface Touch Cover keyboard separately for $119.99 and a more traditional keyboard, the Surface Type Cover, for $129.99.
Microsoft disclosed the Surface pricing to a number of journalists on Monday and briefly -- and apparently prematurely -- posted the prices on the Microsoft Store site. Microsoft will begin taking preorders for the Surface for Windows RT tablet starting at 12:00 ET Tuesday, according to a report on SlashGear.
Just how Microsoft would price the Surface tablets has been a major question since Microsoft unveiled the product at a flashy event in Hollywood in June.
The tablet market is dominated by Apple's iPad and tablets based on Google's Android mobile operating system. While a number of Microsoft OEM partners sell Windows 7-based tablets today, Microsoft's unhappiness with its lack of presence in the red-hot tablet market apparently led to the decision to develop its own tablet product.
At the time of the Surface debut in June, Microsoft said it would price the line of tablets to be competitive with other tablet products on the market.
The Apple iPad with Wi-Fi and 16 GB of storage is priced at $499, the 32-GB model has a $599 price tag and the 64-GB model has a $699 price tag.
Tuesday morning the HP TouchPad 9.7-inch tablet with 32 GB of storage was priced at $369.99 while the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 with a 10.1-inch screen and 16 GB of storage had a $349.99 price tag.
The Surface for Windows RT tablet is slated to ship Oct. 26, the same day Microsoft's long-awaited Windows 8 enters the marketplace. Windows RT is a version of Windows 8 for ARM-based devices. Another tablet in the Surface product line, based on an Intel microprocessor and running Windows 8 Pro, is slated to be available in late January 2013.
Microsoft plans to sell the Surface tablets only through the Microsoft Store and other retail outlets, not through the company's legions of channel partners. Selling its own tablet device also puts Microsoft in competition with OEM partners such as Hewlett-Packard, Samsung and Lenovo.
PUBLISHED OCT. 16, 2012