According to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, a previously-announced “$100 off” sale on Microsoft Surface Pro tablets just became a permanent price drop. In addition, WPCentral’s Daniel Rubino reports that the price of Surface Touch Cover accessories has dropped to $79, and that a bundle of a Surface RT with a black Touch Cover is now available for $399, only $50 over the (recently discounted) price of a 32 GB Surface RT by itself.
Surface RT? Surface Pro?
The Surface RT runs “Windows RT,” which is a scaled-back version of Windows 8 that can’t run what are called “desktop apps” except for the included Microsoft Office. If you’ve used a previous version of Windows, this means it can’t run any of the games or apps that you’re used to, and instead only runs the “modern UI” apps and new games in the Windows Store. It is available in 32 GB and 64 GB models.
The Surface Pro runs the full version of Windows 8, and includes a pressure-sensitive stylus. It is available in 64 GB and 128 GB models.
Previous price cuts
Besides the “$100 off” Surface Pro sale, Microsoft has dropped the price of the unpopular Surface RT tablet by $150 since its launch. The base 32 GB Surface RT originally cost as much as a 16 GB iPad; over $100 more if you included a touch cover at its original price. And while that’s comparable to the price of a 32 GB iPad, most of the Surface RT tablet’s storage is taken up by Windows itself, making the 32 GB Surface RT roughly the equivalent of a 16 GB iPad.
The Surface RT bundle includes a black Touch Cover, which is sort of like a non-folding version of the iPad Smart Cover which has a keyboard and touchpad embossed on its inner surface. These are “soft” keys that don’t click, and are basically just raised parts of the cover.
The more colorful versions of the Touch Cover seen in Microsoft’s Surface ads have to be bought separately, and cost $30 more over the price of a bundle. The Type Cover, which has a fully-articulated netbook-style keyboard and touchpad, still costs its original price of $129.
The Surface Pro does not have bundle pricing available in Microsoft’s online store, and buyers of refurbished Surface RT units pay the same price ($379) for the black Touch Cover bundle as they would to get one with a colored Touch Cover.
With the massive losses Microsoft is taking from its unsold Surface tablets, even if you have your heart set on getting one it may be best to wait for either an upgraded version or a BlackBerry PlayBook-style fire sale.