Panos Panay, General Manager of Microsoft Surface has confirmed in a blog entry that the Surface Windows 8 Pro tablet PC will be available in the U.S. and Canada starting on Feb. 9 through all Microsoft retail stores, microsoftstore.com, at Staples and Best Buy in the U.S. as well as from a number of locations in Canada.
Powered by an Intel Core i5 processor, Surface Windows 8 Pro is engineered to provide the power and performance of a laptop in a tablet package that can will run all standard Windows 8 desktop applications as well as current Windows 7 desktop applications. Last month, Microsoft announced Surface Windows 8 Pro pricing starting at $899 and that it will be available in 64 GB and 128 GB models. A Surface Pen stylus is included for writers, graphic designers or even engineers, and bundled Palm Block technology makes writing and drawing fun on Surface Windows 8 Pro.
The thing is that $899 is just 100 bucks less than Apple’s entry-level 64 GB MacBook Air sells for, and more than the price of some PC Ultrabook laptops with touchscreens, which should represent formidable market competition in that price range. The impression remains that, while Surface Pro offers some attractive advantages over, say, a high-end iPad, such as keyboard availability, being able to run full-featured desktop apps in a desktop Windows environment, Intel i5 power, mouse driver support, and standard USB connectivity, the price is in laptop territory.
Panay also says that in the coming weeks, Microsoft will be more than doubling the markets in which Surface Windows RT is available. Surface Windows RT is already available for purchase in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, and the United States and this announcement will expand its availability to 13 additional markets worldwide. New markets in the coming weeks include: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Panay touts a marquee benefit of Surface as being that it is a personal computer allowing customers to use it as a laptop or tablet.
Also available at extra cost is Microsoft’s Touch Cover keyboard cover for Surface. Starting in February, customers can click in three new Touch Cover Limited Editions. Priced at $129.99 in the US, Touch Cover Limited Edition features unique laser-etched designs in three distinctive colors: red, magenta and cyan.
Each design is different and allows customers additional personalization options beyond the various colors of Touch Cover that are already available. These limited edition Touch Covers will be available for purchase on Feb. 9 in the 8 markets in which Surface is currently sold, with additional markets to follow in the coming weeks.
In addition to the limited-edition Touch Covers, Microsoft is releasing a special Surface Edition of the Wedge Touch Mouse. The Wedge Touch Mouse Surface Edition is specifically designed to complement the Surface experience in all its forms, providing four-way Touch scrolling and easy navigation at ones fingertips. It also has a similar finish to Surface’s VaporMg casing, the combination of material selection and manufacturing process that is used to create Surface. The Wedge Touch Mouse Surface Edition will be available on Feb. 9 for estimated retail price of $69.95 in all markets where Surface Windows RT is currently sold.
Panay says Microsoft will also announce the 64 GB Surface Windows RT standalone version, not bundled with a black Touch Cover. That alternative will allow customers to personalize their Surface Window RT 64 GB with the Touch Cover or Type Cover of their choice. Starting Feb. 9, customers can purchase a 64 GB Surface Windows RT as a standalone unit in all markets where Surface Windows RT is currently sold, adding that additional information will be released as we get closer to Feb. 9.