Australia is one of eight countries worldwide that will be able to order Microsoft's Surface tablet online from October 26. We've got all the local pricing and availability details.
Microsoft will offer three versions of the 10-inch Windows RT tablet for Australian customers: a 32GB model for $559, the same model with a black Touch Cover for $679, and a 64GB model including the Touch Cover for $789. Individual Touch Covers will also be available in black, white, magenta, cyan or red for $139.99, and the Type Cover which incorporates a built-in keyboard will cost $149.99. Microsoft is predicting delivery "by November 6". Pre-orders placed before October 24 will get free shipping.
In the US, the entry-level Surface model costs $US500. Before you start screaming "Australia tax", bear in mind the prices for Australian include GST; knock that off and there isn't a significant difference. In the US, the devices will also be sold through Microsoft stores, but there are no local retailer plans for Australia yet. (Other countries which get online ordering are Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. As usual, New Zealand isn't in there!)
Pre-orders are being taken online from 3am AEST October 17. Microsoft says there will only be a "limited quantity" in this release, I have a suspicion the first batch will sell quite quickly. The Surface includes the preview version of Office RT, but will update to the final version when that's released later in the year.
Microsoft's price point makes the Surface cheaper than the iPad (the cheapest entry-level current iPad is $539, but only has 16GB of memory, while the 32GB model is $649). Those who were anticipating a massively cheaper device will presumably stick to the Nexus 7 or other Android tablets for now.
Are you tempted by the Surface at this price? Tell us in the comments.