July 30, 2012
Microsoft’s Tablets Hitting Shelves October 26
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
“The next version of our operating system, Windows 8, will be generally available on October 26, 2012," Microsoft wrote in its annual report. "At that time, we will begin selling the Surface, a series of Microsoft-designed and manufactured hardware devices."
The device is based on ARM processors rather than Intel's, and it will be the first tablet computer the company has produced itself.
A more powerful version of the Surface tablet family that will use Intel chips will go on sale in early 2013, according to Microsoft.
Two of the tablets will feature 10.6" displays with a built in kickstand, as well as a fold out keyboard.
The company has plans for its Surface tablet family to have heavy integration with its Windows 8 operating system.
Microsoft has yet to announce prices for the upcoming tablet family, but it has said that it will be marked competitively.
CNET speculates that Microsoft's lower-end Windows RT tablets coming out in October will be as low as $500 to $600, while its Surface Pro Intel-based tablet could fetch as high as $1,000.
The company may be waiting to announce its pricing scheme based upon whether Apple releases an iPad Mini or not, as rumors suggest. The latest from the rumor mill is that Apple will be hosting a media event on September 12, at which it will be announcing the next-generation iPhone, along with an "iPad mini."
The rumored iPad mini is essentially expected to be an iPad with a smaller screen, thus implying it would have a smaller price point. If the rumors pan out, Microsoft may be waiting to see what the iPad mini price point goes for before unveiling its prices for the Surface tablet family.
Currently, Apple's latest iPad starts at $499 for a 16 gigabyte version, and can reach as high as $829 for a 64 gigabyte LTE version.
Being that Microsoft is about to be producing its first-ever homemade tablet computer, it acknowledged in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that this move could have an effect on relationships with its original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
The company wrote in a filing to the SEC that “our Surface devices will compete with products made by our OEM partners, which may affect their commitment to our platform.” Also in the filing, Microsoft acknowledged that it depends on its OEM partners for Windows 8's success to embrace its latest operating system as well.
Microsoft said Windows 8´s “success depends on a number of factors including the extent to which customers embrace its new user interface and functionality, successfully coordinating with our OEM partners in releasing a variety of hardware devices that take advantage of its features, and attracting developers at scale to ensure a competitive array of quality applications."