Last week we reported that Staples would begin carrying Surface RT for $349 beginning Sunday, but the price hack was seen throughout a number of retailers, including Microsoft's own retail stores. Now it looks as if the price could be a permanent thing to flush out the remaining stock and make room for the second generation unit slated to arrive in fiscal 2014.
When Microsoft first introduced the ARM-based Surface RT, the 10.6 inch 32 GB model sold for $499 and the 64 GB model for $599. But they weren't easily accessible to the consumer: they either had to purchase the tablet online through Microsoft's online store, or locate an actual brick-and-mortar location. Sales weren't all that great, but improved somewhat when the tablet was finally allowed to be sold in normal retail outlets.
But sales still haven't reportedly been what Microsoft had hoped. To push even more units out the door, the Redmond company launched a promotion that offered a free cover for anyone who purchased a Surface RT unit before June 2013. The company also sold attendees of the TechEd North America and Microsoft Partner Conference the 64 GB version of Surface RT for a mere $100. Ouch.
To this day, Microsoft has not released the official sales figures of the Surface line. However the company has blamed sluggish Windows RT sales on customer confusion. And although the tablet does come packed with Office Home & Student 2013 RT, it still can't run their favorite desktop software offered on the consumer's x86-based Windows tower or laptop. That said, a price cut still may not move Surface RT units off store shelves.
Computerworld reports that Microsoft was able to drop the price of Surface RT due to a lack of OEM support. Currently most third-party partners have either flocked to only Windows 8 Pro, or publicly announced that their Windows RT plans are on a wait-and-see-how-it-does schedule. They have been keeping an eye on Surface RT which in turn hasn't reportedly produced impressive numbers.
Starting Sunday, the $349 32 GB version of Surface RT popped up at Staples, Best Buy and Microsoft. The discounted price tag is just above cost, as Microsoft spends around $284 on each unit. At this point, Microsoft may be relying on accessories like the keyboard cover to make a profit off the series. And as previously stated, it's likely flushing out hardware to make room for the second generation supposedly landing on store shelves in late fall.
According to the Staples ad and the online listing. the price hack will end on July 20, or while supplies last. The discounted Surface RT 32 GB model was also shown on the back of Best Buy's Sunday ad brochure, but didn't mention anything about a time limit. Even more, the website shows that it's also selling the 64 GB model for $449.99 – order either unit online and Best Buy pays the shipping (Staples has the 64 GB version too). Microsoft's own reduced Surface RT tablets can be purchased here.
Now that consumers are halfway through July, should they simply wait for the next generation before sinking money into Microsoft's Surface line? The next Surface RT model will reportedly sport Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 for the LTE models and Nvidia's Tegra 4 for the Wi-Fi only models. They'll also come with Windows RT 8.1 out of the box which is supposed to be a huge improvement over the previous Windows RT release.
When purchasing a new Surface RT tablet, keep in mind that the 32 GB model will only yield around 15 GB of free space to device owners. The 64 GB model offers a better user capacity with 45 GB of free space, possibly making it a better deal for those not wanting the keyboard cover accessory but willing to pay the extra bucks.
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They had better keep it there... And make new Surface RT's cost that much. THEN put them on sales on top of that. The product simply isn't compelling to many people at its current iPad-esque price point. The thing isn't even a horrible product, it's just not a compelling product at that price.Reply
100% its permanent. They were barely selling any when it was at $499. Maybe now sales will pick up.Reply
More likely it's gone to be with Zune...Reply
Nobody likes Metro, and nobody is accepting a walled garden from MS. Especially developers who are abandoning ship.
How is winRT better than random Chinese OS that looks like some other OS but has no actual software for itself? Why would anyone buy winRT? Can it do anything else than check email and listen to music?Reply
They should indeed empty their inventory. Once the Bay Trail tablets arrive, the Surface RT will be even more irrelevant than it is. At least I'm hoping.Reply
11161196 said:How is winRT better than random Chinese OS that looks like some other OS but has no actual software for itself? Why would anyone buy winRT? Can it do anything else than check email and listen to music?
I'm curious to know, what random Chinese OS? Why they'd develop their own OS when Android is free?
Edit: Sorry, double posted for some reason.Reply
eodeo, can it even check e-mail? It doesn't come or work with outlook. :PReply
Also triple post... this is one fine messaging system going here.
11161226 said:I'm curious to know, what random Chinese OS? Why they'd develop their own OS when Android is free?
I was referring to the Chinese iPhone copies. They look like an actual iPhone from both exterior and a quick glance at the UI/icons. They can place calls, listen to music... the basics- but have no actual external software to distinguish themselves from the slightly advanced calculator into an actual smartphone category.
They were made with one thing in mind- to look like something they aren't.
I'm pretty sure you can check emails with RT. I doubt their "smart" status, but not that MS implemented the crudest of the basics- like checking email. Also, I've never used outlook, and I dont plan to start now.
The main advantage to Surface RT tablets over Android/iOS is the regular Windows driver support - tens of thousands of USB devices, printers, etc - that Android and other types of machines likely won't have, along with Windows style multi monitor support, along with actual Office and not some half-arsed app. Personally, I feel that an RT device might actually outstrip Android and iOS devices as productivity devices at the same price point. At $350, I'd consider one over an iPad, though I still favour much cheaper Android tablets because of the cost advantage paired with the much more varied app store - clear advantage in everything but straight up productivity.
That being said, if you compare an RT tablet to a full Windows tablet, it's still a clear second best for productivity, and if you want productivity, you generally don't want to compromise.