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A few days ago, the tech world was abuzz with news that Microsoft would be pricing its Surface tablet at a below-cost price of $199. While that rumor has not yet been confirmed or denied, Lenovo released another tidbit of information about the Surface’s pricing scheme today.
Lenovo claims that the Windows RT tablets will cost $300 less than the Windows 8 tablets. That’s a massive difference, and it shows just how much Microsoft wants to promote its Windows RT tablets.
The difference between Windows RT and Windows 8 Surface tablets
So is the full version of Windows 8 worth an extra $300 price tag? Or would you rather sacrifice some features and functionality by ordering a Windows RT device? The main difference between the two tablets will be that the RT features the Windows 8 interface formerly known as Metro, while the Windows 8 tablet will feature both the Metro interface and the classic Windows desktop.
In other words, RT users will be forced to use the Windows 8 interface, while full Windows 8 users can switch back and forth.
That means that Windows 8 Surface tablet users will be able to install software that they currently have installed on their Windows PCs, but Windows RT users will be limited to apps from the app store. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially since Microsoft is promoting its app store as much as possible in an effort to get developers to jump on board. It should be filled with useful software by the time the Surface’s October 26th release date rolls around.
Fortunately, both Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets are expected to have Microsoft Office pre-installed. Windows RT will feature a barebones version of Office, but it’s a perk nonetheless.
Of course, for those who don’t like the Windows 8 interface, the RT could be a pain to use. According to early reviews, the Windows 8 interface (Metro) has a steep learning curve, but once Windows users get the hang of it, navigation is an absolute breeze. Some people won’t want to re-learn how to use the Windows operating systems they’ve used for years, and others won’t want to invest in new apps in place of the old software programs that they know and love.
The $300 price difference
Why is there such a big price difference between RT and Windows 8 tablets? It could be because Microsoft plans to make quite a bit of money off of app store sales on the Windows RT. If users can’t install traditional Windows software on the RT tablet, then they’ll have to start downloading apps from the app store. Some apps will be free, but all other apps are priced between $1.49 and $1000 (we don’t expect anybody to actually pay $1,000 for a single app).
David Shmoock, who is in charge of Lenovo’s North American operations, told Bloomberg that Microsoft is going to price the RT tablets aggressively. While he didn’t say they would be priced as low as $199, he did let slip that the Windows 8 Surface tablets will be between $600 and $700. If the RT Surface is $300 less than the Windows 8 Surface, that would mean a price point between $300 and $400 (math!).
The mystery around the Surface’s pricing continues to thicken. We sure hope Microsoft doesn’t wait until late October before revealing the pricing of the Surface, and revealing the price point soon could help prevent a flurry of unrealistic expectations (like a $199 Surface, for example).
Stay tuned to the Fix My PC Free blog for the latest information about Surface pricing as we get closer to October 26th!