Microsoft announces pricing for Intel-powered Surface Pro

When Microsoft unveiled the Surface, its first in-house foray into the tablet market, back in June, it said that it would consist of two versions: a lower-end RT model built on ARM’s architecture, and a Pro model powered by Intel.

The RT version officially launched in October, in 32GB and 64GB flavors priced at $499 and $699 respectively, and has thus far seen modest sales. And last night, Microsoft finally divulged some information about the Surface Pro…

From The Official Microsoft Blog (via CNET):

“Today, I want to share a bit more detail about the growing Surface family of products and Surface with Windows 8 Pro, specifically around pricing. In January, Surface with Windows 8 Pro will be available in two versions and pricing will start at $899:

· 64GB standalone version at $899

· 128GB standalone version at $999

Both versions will both include a Surface pen with Palm Block technology and include the ability to use a Touch Cover or Type Cover (sold separately).”

At these price points, the Surface Pro seems more like a netbook or an ultrabook, rather than a tablet. Except it doesn’t come with a keyboard — you can buy one for an extra $100 though — and word is it has just 4 hours of battery life.

Now, you might be asking: who’s going to buy the Surface Pro? Well because of its Intel processor, it will be able to run a number of legacy Windows apps. So I’m guessing that will appeal to a lot of people who want to carry around a single device for “work” and “play.” That’s assuming, though, that the device proves usable in both scenarios.

And Microsoft desperately needs it to. The Surface RT, which has been on the market for over a month now, has received mixed reviews, and doesn’t appear to be selling well. In fact, DigiTimes reports that Microsoft has drastically reduced its orders for the tablet, and is thinking about lowering its price tag.

What does this all mean for Apple and its tablet line? For now, it’s good news. It looks like another iPad competitor has fallen victim to Apple’s hardware design, marketing and app ecosystem. And while you have to give credit to Microsoft for trying something different, it doesn’t seem like the Surface is quite there yet.

What do you think about the Surface Pro? Deal at $900? Or no deal?