A Swedish website has apparently outed pricing for Microsoft's Surface tablets, and if the prices are right, they're eye-watering.
UPDATE: Seems like the price was placeholder text. While the site is still to come back to me, a statement has been issued to Techie Buzz:
"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."
Four tablets are listed, ranging from a budget 32GB version running Windows 8 on ARM -- otherwise known as Windows RT -- to a high-end x86 version with 128GB of storage running Windows 8 Pro.
Prices are listed in Swedish Krona and range from $1,005 for the budget tablet all the way up to $2,155. Bear in mind that Sweden slaps a tax on electronic devices, but even accounting for that, if these prices are based in reality and have not just been pulled out of thin air -- then there's no way the market can support these prices.
Microsoft has remained coy about Surface pricing. There was a statement from Microsoft saying that they were "expected to be competitive with a comparable ARM tablet or Intel ultrabook-class PC," but nothing more concrete.
On paper, the Surface tablets sound quite impressive. Both have a 10.6-inch screen, with the Intel x86 version running at full-HD 1080p resolution, and the ARM version running at HD 720p. Both are thin, both are light. Both have an integrated kickstand; both have a complement of ports, including a full-sized USB 2.0 port on the ARM Surface, while the x86 Surface enjoys USB 3.0 support. Both support storage expansion through the use of micro-SD cards.
While this makes them high-end, there's no way that the budget ARM version is worth anything close to $1,000, and a $2,000+ price tag on the top-end x86 Windows 8 Pro is pure insanity. From a bill of materials point of view, a $1,000+ price tag is not justified, so unless Microsoft wants to try to make Surface seem like a premium product -- and likely kill the product in the process -- there's no reason for such stratospheric prices.
The only company that could command that sort of price for this kind of hardware is Apple, and I'm sure Microsoft didn't get their competitors from Cupertino to build the Surface tablets.
Examining the market, I would peg the ARM version to be in or around the $600 price bracket, while the Intel-based version needs to be in the ballpark of $1,000 -- give or take a few bucks.
It's important to bear in mind that these prices could be nonsense; it wouldn't be the first time where I've seen a site attach a fake price tag to an upcoming product just to excite the rumor mill. The problem is that Microsoft has created an environment where rumors and speculation can spread because of the information vacuum with regards to pricing.
I'm interested in hearing from readers how much they would be willing to pay for a Microsoft Surface tablet based on what they already know about the device.
|Image Gallery: Microsoft Surface tablet|
I have a question sent in to the Swedish retailer asking for clarification. I'll update the post if I hear back.