What will the Microsoft Surface cost? $199, says one source

When Microsoft first announced its own line of Windows 8 tablets, it was expected the devices would be priced toward the higher end of the tablet spectrum. But a new rumor says the Microsoft Surface will cost  much less.

As Microsoft announced in June, the company will release two different models of its branded Windows 8 tablets:

  • The Microsoft Surface for Windows RT, which will use an ARM processor and be available with 32 GB or 64 GB of storage, and
  • The Microsoft Surface for Windows 8 Pro, which will use an Intel processor, be available with 64 GB or 128 GB of storage, and add support for stylus input.

Both Windows 8 tablets will sport a 10.6-inch display, larger than rivals such as Apple’s iPad, and support attachable external keyboards.

At the time of the announcement, no information about pricing or availability was given, but Microsoft has since announced the tablets will launch on October 26, the same time Windows 8 is released.

Microsoft Surface cost: $199?

So, how much will the Microsoft Surface cost? Given the powerful specifications, observers have predicted the tablets will be priced around the same as a a comparable ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook-class PC.

However, the Microsoft Surface for Windows RT will cost just $199, according to an unconfirmed report recently published on Engadget. According to the site, an inside source learned that information during a session at Microsoft’s recent TechReady15 conference.

That price would put the Surface in line with smaller and less powerful tablets such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Google’s Nexus 7, and make it significantly less expensive than the iPad, which starts at $499.

But is the rumor accurate? Some experts say it’s unlikely, since the tablets will cost more than that to make. Also, the move would likely upset other manufacturers that plan to sell tablets running Windows 8, since they would probably find it hard to compete with that price.

If it is true, though, Microsoft may be trying to drive Windows 8 adoption and be hoping that sales of media and apps will make up for the loss.

The tablet market is already crowded and dominated by the iPad, so a very low price would be one way for Microsoft to make inroads.

We’ll keep you posted on whether this Microsoft Surface cost report is confirmed or debunked.