A page briefly went online earlier this morning over at Microsoft’s online store, revealing possible prices for ARM-based Surface RT models. It wasn’t just a glitch in the system: Microsoft has officially announced it will begin taking pre-orders for the device later today at 12pm Eastern, 9pm Pacific. $499 buys you an entry-level Surface RT with 32 gigabytes of storage and a 10.6-inch display, but no Touch Cover – that’s an additional $119.

The Surface RT is initially available for pre-order in eight countries via Microsoft’s online store and is set to ship next Friday, October 26, alongside Windows 8 and three days after Apple’s rumored iPad mini keynote

You can pre-order your Surface now direct from Microsoft’s online stores in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The device will ship net Friday, October 26.

Each Surface includes a preview build of Office 2013 Home & Student Edition, to be updated to the final version for free once it’s available.

The software giant wrote in a media release that this is “a special limited-quantity pre-order for Surface with Windows RT”, suggesting launch supply could be limited.

The interesting looking Touch Cover is available in white, red, black, blue and purple and costs an additional $119.99, or $129.99 for the Type Cover (available only in black). A 64GB Surface RT includes a Touch Cover and costs a cool $699. A 32GB version bundled with a black Touch Cover is priced at $599.

Here’s a cool making of video.

The Verge reports that Microsoft will promote the heck out of Surface at its retail stores.

Not surprisingly, the Surface will be in the spotlight in Microsoft Stores — we spent some time at Microsoft’s “Store Zero” in Redmond, and the Surface is everywhere.

It’ll be on a display as soon as you walk in the door, lines the walls along with customer service stations to help people set up and learn the device, and occupies an enormous amount of floor space as well.

Add that to the ad campaign that began last night, and we’re betting it’s going to be hard to avoid Surface for the next few weeks.

Indeed, Microsoft reportedly plans to spend a whopping $1.8 billion towards promoting the Surface tablet and the upcoming Windows 8 software, making it the largest product launch in the history of the industry.

Here’s the inaugural Surface commercial.

The device features vapor-deposited magnesium chassis, it’s 9.3mm thin, weighs in at 1.5lbs and comes with a built-in kickstand, pictured above.

Price-wise, the 32GB Surface RT is designed to take on Apple’s entry-level 16GB iPad 3 head on. If our poll is anything to go by, Apple should not be overly concerned about the Surface, but should definitely pay notice because Microsoft is now a legitimate player in the tablet space.

At any rate, the Windows maker with the Surface tablet has raised the water line on its platform’s functionality.

Just out of curiosity: would you consider a Surface tablet?

  • IMO, it’s better than the iPad. If the iPad ran OS X it might be different, but Windows 8 is far more powerful than iOS, and this is coming from someone who absolutely loves iOS. I’ve owned every iPhone since the first, each iPad, and countless iPod Touches along the way.

    • while I agree it may in fact be better or even more fun or more nice I know the first thing consumers are going to look at when they go to buy a tablet its the price point. they will say yeah its the same or higher than apples ipad but they know ipad and ipad is established and already thought of as the best tablet around. for a newcomer albeit from Microsoft to come to the table with a tablet priced higher or at the same is extremely risky just look at the hp tablet and its failure or hell even the playbook by blackberry all of them thought lets show our tablet as equal to or better than the ipad and they failed sheesh you can get a playbook on craigslist or ebay for less than 100.0$ the hp sold out only when they dropped the price point. Microsoft is setting themselves up to fail at these prices so its destined to fail they should have made the price just slightly lower then the ipad or had bundles with extras at lower costs this surface is going to drown….

  • Guest

    With an appstore that doesn’t yet have no official Facebook app nor Twitter nor Youtube. What the hell is Microsoft thinking of

    • Ever used a browser ?
      Man it will be awesome to use a real browser on a touch pad. & there is tons of plugins for them too !!!!
      This is gonna be a game changer!

    • Dave Fischer

      lol, dude you dont need a facebook app or youtube app, lol you got chrome or ie to do that. honestly would you want a facebook app on your computer or would you just open chrome up? and they have close to 5000 apps of things you would want apps in either way

  • I actually like it, and see potential of this device. Think about how many PC Owners their are compared to Mac OSX Users? The keyboard cover is an amazing Idea, with that kick-stand flap that kicks out the back also; Genius. No need to buy a $70 “Smart Cover” What the hell is so smart about it? Whoopty Doo it turns the iPad Off…lol Joking right? Instead you have to buy a $120 Smarter cover. Only if it had a touch mouse pad on it, that would top it off. Just my opinion. I love Apple Products most of all, always have. The build quality and the ease of use, overall look of what Apple has to offer. I am just tired of the look of OSX, its just plain. So I really would like to see another computer company take the lead in tablets, phones, exc. Apple would most likely have to step up their game and try to offer more than what the competition does. Only if they would listen to their customers! No taller screens, Bigger! Apple is a company that offers what they want, not what the customer wants, to a point. That being said I really do want the “Surface” to Surface above Apple!

    • i think it does have a touchpad mouse. The pictures from microsoft’s store definitely show it

  • I’m gonna wait for the version with The Desktop

  • I preordered. Will of course be back with video coverage of what is perhaps the biggest iPad competitor to date.

    • Just wondering Jeff, how do you afford to purchase all these devices? lol I mean does your place look like a Tech Store Front? lol

  • nxwkev

    Preordered! Better than any other tablet so far! (maybe not one of the really pricey android ones but aside from that!)

  • I will get one just because I want a touch screen windows laptop

  • This lame device is already dead like the zuun

    • BearManPig

      truth is… YOU and your comment are lame.

  • seyss

    I bet they will sell Surface “at cost” like Amazon does with the new Kindle. Anything to be in the game with Apple.