Microsoft reports that for a limited time only, the company is handing out a free Touch Cover (opens in new tab), Touch Cover Limited Edition (opens in new tab), or Type Cover (opens in new tab) to customers in the U.S. and Canada that purchase a Surface RT tablet from the Microsoft Store or other Surface retailers. On their own, the Touch Cover retails for $119 whereas the Touch Cover Limited Edition and the Type Cover each costs $129.
"Touch and Type Cover do much more than just protect and personalize your Surface RT," says Brian Hall, General Manager of Microsoft Surface. "They let you get real work done. With Office Home & Student 2013 RT pre-installed - which includes versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote - a keyboard that goes everywhere with you really is the perfect accessory for your Surface."
The Surface Touch Covers come in cyan, red, magenta, white and black, and the Surface Type Cover is only offered in black. Want to add a little spunk and flair to your Surface RT tablet? The Touch Cover Limited Edition comes in cyan with a skull pattern, and magenta with a flowers pattern.
The move to offer a free cover is likely to push what has been thus far lackluster sales of both the Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets. In March Bloomberg reported that Microsoft had sold around 1.5 million Surface units since the launch in late October 2012, 1 million of which were likely Surface RT units, half of what Microsoft initially expected.
OF course, the pricing of Surface RT isn't helping sales. The 32 GB version retails for $499 USD whereas the 64 GB model costs $599 USD. Throw in the black Touch Cover prior to the promotion, and the price increases $100. A two-year warranty and technical support service is an additional $99 on top of that. Even more, the device does not support Windows-based desktop software that runs on Intel and AMD processors (x86).
Microsoft's Surface RT features Nvidia's quad-core Tegra 3 SoC clocked at 1.3 GHz, 2 GB of RAM, and a 10.6-inch ClearType HD 5-point multi-touchscreen with a 1366 x 768 resolution and a 16:9 aspect ratio. Other hardware specs include two 720p HD cameras (front and rear-facing), a full-size USB 2.0 port, Wireless N and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, a battery promising up to 8 hours of "mixed activity", and Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT Preview.
The current Surface RT free cover promotion begins May 31 and ends on June 30, or while supplies last. That said, will this new offer help push Surface RT units? Maybe.