Call it a back-to-school sale. Call it excess inventory clearance. Whatever you call it, Microsoft is stepping up its fire sale on its ARM-based Surface RT tablet/PC hybrids.
On July 14, as rumored last week, Microsoft and partners chopped the 32 GB Surface RT base price by to $349 (from $499) and the 64 GB model to $449 (from its original $599), at the Microsoft Store, Staples and Best Buy in the U.S.
Microsoft execs have repeatedly declined to say how many Surface RTs the company had built and/or how many the company has sold since the devices were launched in October 2012. Some Microsoft watchers estimated the company had far too many Surface RTs produced, severely overestimating demand for the device which cannot run existing Windows apps.
While some find the Surface RT's performance to be so lackluster that even a $349 price tag still isn't enticing, I'm not in that camp. The lighter weight and better battery performance (about 8-9 hours, compared to 4-5 for the Surface Pro) make the RT a better choice for me, as I use it as a PC companion device -- and not a PC replacement. I use my RT just like I used to use my iPad and find it fine for light email and Web browsing. The Surface RT's biggest limitation in my case is its reliance on Wi-Fi, as even here in New York City, Wi-Fi is still far from ubiquitous.