Australia part of Microsoft Surface launch

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Australia part of Microsoft Surface launch
Surface RT sideways. Source: Microsoft

No Aussie Tech Tax.

Microsoft has launched final specifications and pricing for its Surface RT tablet overnight with Australia being one of ten markets that will get the device on October 26 whereas New Zealand misses out.

Three models of the Surface RT will be available, starting with a plain 32GB version for $559 and one with the Touch Cover bundled for $679. The top of the line 64GB model with the Touch Cover bundled will sell for $789.

Separate Touch Covers will cost $139.99, and the Surface Type Cover with keyboard goes for $149.99.

All prices include GST and are from Microsoft's Surface website, from which customers can pre-order the device in limited quantities starting today.

US pricing for the three models above is US$499 ($486), US$599 ($583), and US$699 ($681) respectively.

Large international vendors such as Microsoft, Apple and Adobe are presently the targets of a Federal Government inquiry into high local pricing of hardware and software compared to overseas charging, dubbed the "Aussie Tech Tax". 

However, local pricing for the Surface is roughly equivalent to the US one, once GST is deducted.

Microsoft has priced the Surface tablets roughly on par with Apple's current wi-fi only iPads, which sell for $539, $649 and $759 for the 16, 32 and 64GB models respectively.

Unlike the Apple iPads, there are no Surface models with 3G broadband support as well as wi-fi.

Final specifications for the Surface tablet are:

  • Storage: 32 GB; 64 GB
  • CPU: NVIDIA T30 quad-core, 2 GB of RAM
  • 10.6" ClearType multi touch screen, 1,366 by 768 pixel resolution.
  • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 
  • Two 720p HD cameras, front- and rear-facing
  • Two microphones, stereo speakers
  • Full-size USB 2.0, microSDXC card slot, headset jack, HD video out port, cover port
  • Ambient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass
  • 31.5 Watt-hours battery with eight hours life and 24W power supply
  • One-year limited hardware warranty
  • Made from magnesium, the dark titanium colour case dimensions are 274.6 by 172 millimetres and the tablet is 9.4 millimetres thick and weighs 680 grams


Surface RT Tablet. Source: Microsoft

The Surface apps bundle includes Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT Preview with Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote, Windows Mail and Windows Messaging, SkyDrive, Windows Internet Explorer 10, Bing, Xbox Music, Xbox Video, and Xbox Games

Customers will get the final version of Office 2013 RT via Windows Update, Microsoft said.

An Intel-based version with a Core i5 processor called Windows 8 Pro Surface and 32, 64 and 128GB storage options is expected to launch in January next year.

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