Better Late Than Never for Microsoft Surface Pro

January is quickly winding down to a close, and Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) Surface Pro is going to have to wait until next month before being available to the masses. That's slightly later than the software giant's previously announced January launch, but it's better late than never. Will Surface Pro be Microsoft's Valentine?

The company has now announced that the more powerful version of its flagship tablet will be available in the U.S. and Canada on Feb. 9, with retail prices starting at $899. This model runs Windows 8 and supports all legacy applications built for x86 architecture, unlike the previous Surface RT model that launched in October. That's because it carries a familiar Intel (NASDAQ: INTC  ) Ivy Bridge processor as opposed to the NVIDIA one powering the Surface RT.

Source: Microsoft.

Microsoft is positioning Surface Pro as a bona fide laptop replacement, one that hopes to spearhead the recent form factor push that PCs are making into convertible territory. While the company is similarly pitching the productivity capabilities of its Surface RT, the lack of legacy app support make that a tough value proposition to deliver on. The difference in pricing also points to the different market segments that Microsoft is targeting.

Model

Entry-Level Storage

Entry-Level Price

Legacy App Support?

Surface RT

32 GB

$499

No

Surface Pro

64 GB

$899

Yes

Source: Microsoft.

Surface RT is clearly aiming at the full-sized tablet crowd, competing directly with Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) iPad, which also starts at $499 for the newest models, although Apple still sells the older iPad 2 for $399.

In contrast, Surface Pro is looking to compete with full-featured laptops, like Apple's entry-level MacBook Air that starts at $999 and carries a similar Intel processor. Starting at $899, Surface Pro is cheaper than a MacBook Air but pricier than competing Ultrabooks, which can cost between $600 and $700.

That presents a challenge, because Microsoft will need to improve on communicating its value proposition with Surface Pro, since the device sits in an ambiguous position between the tablet market and the laptop market.

It's been a frustrating path for Microsoft investors, who've watched the company fail to capitalize on the incredible growth in mobile over the past decade. However, with the release of its own tablet, along with the widely anticipated Windows 8 operating system, the company is looking to make a splash in this booming market. In this brand-new premium report on Microsoft, our analyst explains that while the opportunity is huge, the challenges are many. He's also providing regular updates as key events occur, so make sure to claim a copy of this report now by clicking here.


Read/Post Comments (6) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 8:26 PM, daveshouston wrote:

    Brace yourselves for the reviews. It's going to be painful.

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 8:38 PM, daveshouston wrote:

    This thing looks dead on arrival to me.

    Why would anyone in their right mind buy one of these when they could have a MacBook Air for slightly more?

    Why would anyone prefer one of these over an iPad?

    What you have here is an abortion of a design. It's a lousy tablet and it's also a lousy PC.

    Microsoft fell on their sword again with this product. It is DOA

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 9:25 PM, pynew wrote:

    Why would I want a McBook Air? Doesn't have a touchscreen. Why carry around the Air and the iPad? Too much to lug around. Surface Pro is where't it's at! One device that does it all, and better.

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2013, at 11:11 PM, RandomMeaning wrote:

    The Microsoft marketing guys like pynew are always easy to spot. I'm not going to help them out by explaining why but anyone who actually uses computers and tablets instead of hyping them can easily figure it out.

    Here's a question to consider: why is it that the guys claiming the superiority of Windows 8 and/or Surface frequently have spelling errors in their posts? Grammar errors and poor use of punctuation are pretty common on the web but how bad is their tech that it doesn't catch simple spelling errors? Apple devices and software all have spell checking built in. What are these hype-meisters using that is so low quality that it doesn't even feature spell checking?

    In regards to the article, Surface should not have been produced by Microsoft. They should have worked with their hardware "partners" to develop it instead and stuck to the more profitable software side of the business. Maybe their partners would have come up with a better idea than the unadjustable kickstand.

    Hmmm. What other computer company uses a kickstand that has only one setting? Why, none! Because it's a bad idea!

  • Report this Comment On January 23, 2013, at 12:15 AM, pynew wrote:

    That's interesting. The reason I find it interesting is because whenever people criticize others for typos or occasional mistakes, they seem to have their own fair share of errors in their own writings.

  • Report this Comment On January 23, 2013, at 12:17 AM, tychicum wrote:

    Like laying a terd in public. Not pretty ...

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