Here's what we know about the Microsoft Surface so far for sure: Microsoft has designed the product. There will be two versions: One based on ARM and one on Intel. There will be covers that double as keyboards. And the Windows RT ARM-based one will be available on or around October 26, the date when Windows 8 is generally available.
The list of what we don't know is much longer. At the top of that list is battery life and pricing. And despite the publication by a Swedish retail site of supposed list prices for Surface this week, we still do not know Microsoft's planned pricing for these devices, beyond the vague guidelines company officials provided in June (that they will be in line with comparable products in the ARM tablet and Intel ultrabook arenas).
TechieBuzz got the Swedish site, Webhallen, to admit that the 32 GB Surface price of about $1,000-plus listed on its site was just a made-up number. Here's what Webhallen told reporter Paul Paliath:
"Our customers are very interested in pre-ordering these products, so we have set a high preliminary pricing for the lineup so that they may be able to pre-order them.
"Just to clarify, we have not recieved any pricing from Microsoft regarding MRSP or purchasing net cost, and any people who have booked the Surface at this high price will of course have their order adjusted before any product is shipped. So we’re not going to overcharge anyone for being an early adopter."
All we know for a fact about Microsoft's Surface distribution plans is that Microsoft will sell the Surfaces at its two-dozen (so far) Microsoft brick-and-mortar stores, plus via select Microsoft online stores. CEO Steve Ballmer told CRN earlier this month that any resellers or others who want to offer the Surface to their customers will have to buy the products from Microsoft (at the stores or online) and then make them available to their customers.
I heard from one of my readers this week that Microsoft may be distributing a few Surfaces to a few key developers to get them excited about the product. But I heard from another reader that the Surfaces are on total lockdown and Microsoft didn't allow any non-Microsoft employees to see or use Surfaces at recent Microsoft events, including its partner show and the MGX sales conference last week.
I asked Microsoft if anyone outside the company has been supplied with demo units and/or are allowed to preorder the devices at this point and received a no comment from a spokesperson.