Microsoft’s most anticipated hardware venture of all time launches next month in the US. Set to underpin its new Windows RT software release and set a high benchmark for their own OEM hardware partners (something Windows Phone lacked until Nokia’s arrival) it is of course their exciting new Microsoft Surface tablet. Coming in two versions, the Surface RT for the ARM chipset and a later Pro version for intel/amd x86 chipsets early 2013, Microsoft are hoping it will form a key “wow” fact in hardware design and performance to show of the Windows 8 operating system for maximum impact. Of course the inevitable questions arising for Aussies are when and where can we get it – and how much will it be? Now we can start providing some exclusive answers to these questions!
We had previously reported here at WPDU that initial reports were suggesting that the device would be available from Microsoft Australia’s online store only. With no brick’s and mortar stores in Australia at present (a prior exclusive by WPDU on the anticipated Sydney 1st MS store in 2013 can be read here), this would have resulted in more limited availability for the portion of the market who buy on impulse in-store, wanted to demo and see/touch a unit before committing to purchase or just refrain from buying online. This looks set to change! Thanks to an impeccable source, we have learnt that Microsoft have been in negotiation with a major Australian retail partner to launch the Surface here locally. Further to this, the advice we have received is that this will be an EXCLUSIVE deal for at least initial availability.
We can’t publicise the name of the retailer – for reasons of commercial sensitivity – however we believe that the device may be shown to select staff at the same time as they participate in scheduled national Windows 8 training sessions run by Microsoft in the lead-up to the OS release on October 26th.
Ok, one down. Two to go.
So with the biggest question at least partially answered, that just leaves how much (TAKE MY MONEY NOW) and when! Being an Aussie, it has typically meant that we face delays and excuses over new tech product releases. “US release today…..yeah we plan to get it to Australia some time in coming months….” is all to often the response we get. Well, in a HUGE win for Aussie customers – our source confirmed that the release date for Australia is set to be OCTOBER 26th…..2012!!! Yep – you heard it - same day release as the US (time lags aside). This even opens the door to some ‘midnight launches’ as a distinct possibility in selected stores – for some launch excitement and buzz (Yes, even a Live Tweet-up for WPDU from our closest store LOL).
Finally, on pricing we will have to delve into the lands of speculation and guesstimates. Our source would not confirm the big question of how much. Our own WPDU expectation is an Aussie RRP of $699 for the 32GB and $799 64GB – but on this we will all have to wait and see like everyone else – unless YOU have some more info you can share with us!!!
So in the interest of those waiting to read this article – I will leave it there. Some exciting news – and I guess I can scratch plans for my Sister to line-up in the LA Santa Monica store to buy one for me on the 26th in the US