Would you pay four hundred bucks for a Microsoft tablet computer? According to one analyst, pricing for the upcoming Surface slate will start at $399, with higher-end models retailing for close to $1,000.
If you haven’t heard of it, the Surface is Microsoft’s “iPad killer.” The Redmond, Washington-based firm announced the device earlier this year with plans to push it to retail outlets in time for Windows 8′s launch on October 26. However, Microsoft hasn’t yet told anyone how much the Surface will cost consumers.
One analyst thinks he knows. Sameer Singh, who works for the India-based consulting firm Finvista Advisors, added up the cost of prospective Surface parts and found that the base model of the device should cost Microsoft around $300. After adding manufacturing and shipping costs, Singh says it’s likely Microsoft will sell that base model for $399.
The base version of Surface is expected to run Windows RT, a cookie-cutter version of Windows 8 designed specifically for portable devices. If you want the more fleshed-out Windows 8 Pro on your new Surface device, Singh believes you could be looking at paying $800 or more. Of course, Surfaces with Windows 8 Pro will also feature more impressive hardware specs.
If the predictions are accurate, Microsoft will have no way to compete in what is becoming the hottest section of the tablet market: the under $300 niche. That’s where you can find Google’s Nexus 7, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and Amazon’s Kindle Fire device. It’s also expected that Apple’s highly-anticipated iPad Mini will retail for $300 to $400.
If the Surface starts at $399, it will be competing with the standard 10.1-inch iPad. Given the iPad’s dominance of the tablet market, that could spell disaster for Microsoft.
Of course, we won’t know that until the Surface actually becomes available. If Microsoft can pack enough power inside the device and give us good reason to make the transition to Windows 8, the Surface could be very competitive.