Microsoft’s own-branded Surface tablet computers based on Windows RT will arrive in its online store for 13 European markets, including Ireland, on 14 February. The tablet computer will ‘surface’ in computer retail outlets in the weeks ahead.
Windows RT is a tablet-optimised version of Microsoft’s latest operating system Windows 8.
In the summer of last year, Microsoft – keen to close the innovation gap that emerged since its Windows 7 operating system launched and rivals such as Apple with its iPad and Google with its Android operating system – launched its Surface concept to show OEMs how best Windows 8 could be harnessed for what Google and Apple like to term the ‘post-PC age.’
You can tell from Microsoft’s fighting stance that this is anything but the post-PC age as far as it’s concerned, but nevertheless the tablet form factor – which Microsoft incidentally unleashed in 2002 but failed to refine – is a segment that is growing fast and one that no tech company worth its salt can choose to ignore.
The Surface family actually comes in two distinct flavours, the honed-down ARM-based Windows RT version and the powerful Intel Core i5-based Windows 8 Pro version.
While there as yet no word on when the Surface Pro versions will arrive in Ireland – it goes on sale in the US and Canada on 9 February starting at US$899 – the Windows RT sports the same super-thin Touch Cover that doubles as a keyboard and comes in a variety of colours.
Prices and specs for Surface Windows RT tablets
The Windows RT device will be available in 32GB and 64GB versions and comes with Windows apps, SkyDrive cloud connectivity, HD video, Xbox Music, games, a full-size USB port, a micro SD card slot and the productivity of Office Home & Student 2013 RT.
The devices will come bundled with a black Touch Cover for an estimated retail price of €579 for 32 GB and €679 for 64 GB, or as a standalone without the cover for an estimated retail price of €479 for 32GB and €579 for 64 GB.
In terms of accessories, the Wedge Touch Mouse will be available in the coming weeks in markets where Surface Windows RT will launch.
In addition, a Surface pen with Palm Block technology that lets users edit and collaborate will be included with the Surface Windows Pro when it eventually launches in Europe.
“The response to Surface has been very exciting,” said Patrick Ward, Windows Business Group Lead.
“We’re delighted that customers will soon be able to purchase and experience Surface Windows RT here in Ireland.”