I think those who are predicting Microsoft's coming Surface PC/tablet hybrids will fail if they don't beat the iPad on price are wrong. I think the Microsoft Surface will fail if Microsoft fails to prove the devices are premium products worth premium prices.
We still don't know exactly how Microsoft intends to price the Surface, though CEO Steve Ballmer telling The Seattle Times he considered the "sweet spot" for the PC market to be between $300 and $800. We know Microsoft execs are continuing to insist tablets are PCs. So I guess that means Ballmer believes PC/tablet hybrids like the Surface -- or "pablets," as no one but me calls these things -- also should come in between $300 and $800. Keyboards like the Touch and Type keyboard covers for the Surface are probably extra, I'd think.
Ballmer also made it clear to The Seattle Times he isn't trying to be the price leader with Surface devices. I have to say I'm relieved to hear it. There will likely be more than enough look-alike, same-old Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets competing to be the low-cost leader/loser, I'd bet.
I'm not sure if any of the other PC/tablet makers will talk pricing at the upcoming September 27 Intel Clover Trail showcase, but both Acer and Asus -- along with Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung and ZTE -- are all expected to show off their new devices at the San Francisco event.
We're just about a month away from the day the Surface RT -- the version that runs on an ARM chip but that won't run existing third-party Windows software -- will debut. None of us in the tech press have had any real hands-on time with production versions of the device so far. So we don't really know if the hinges, the touch pads, the keyboards, the casing and all the other components Microsoft execs touted back in June are really as amazing as they looked in the orchestrated demo. None of us has had any real hands-on time with the operating system powering these machines, Windows RT, either.
If the Surface RT works, looks and feels great, I'd be willing to pay more than an iPad for one. I know there are others like me who are tired of having lots of Windows hardware from which to choose -- but almost nothing worth splurging on.