Microsoft launched its Surface RT tablet in late October but have yet to reveal any early sell numbers. Analysts are casting doubts and lowering sell predictions for the two-faced tablet. Some blaming lukewarm receptions and $499 price tag as barriers. Detwiler Fenton brokerage firm, on the other hand, is saying that limited distribution is the primary factor for low tractions.
Currently the Surface tablet is only available for purchase online and at Microsoft’s 31 store locations and 34 kiosks in the U.S. In contrast, Apple has 395 of its own stores in 14 countries and more locations through major retail stores.
There’s been hints that Microsoft could be offering their tablets through major retail stores in early 2013. On a Yahoo! Answer page dated back to October 29, that had now been deleted, someone asked “When is Best Buy going to sell Microsoft Surface?” and got an interesting answer.
By the context of that answer, it could’ve been someone at Microsoft who answered. That page had been deleted and the reply poster was de-named. Luckily, Microsoft’s own Bing cached of that page is still available.
Now, Paul Thurrott of winsupersite.com said on yesterday’s Windows Weekly podcast that according to unnamed source, the Surface tablet is indeed heading to major retailers like Staples and Best Buy before year’s end.
Whatever the case, we will find out soon enough as the year is rapidly approaching an end. If we survive the Mayan Calendar, who knows, Microsoft could surprise and announce it with the availability of the Surface Pro early. Fingers crossed.
We, like BGR, see potential in the surface. But some industry analysts are already calling it a failure. With orders cut in half short after launch, the tablet received mass criticism from most online publications. The tablet was already off to a rough start, but today’s news from Forbes is making the situation look even worse.
Boston-based brokerage firm Detwiler Fenton has now said that the Microsoft Surface will sell less than a million devices before the end of Q4 2012. This is a scary thought for Microsoft if they want to compete with the iPad — Apple sold 17 million iPads in Q3 2012 alone. Forbes revealed numbers from Detwiler Fenton predicting that the Surface might sell between just 500,000 and 600,000 Surfaces for the holiday-shopping month of December. That’s awful.
Microsoft released the Surface tablet in late October to considerable fanfare, but consumer demand and sales of the device have not been very good to say the least. It’s no wonder that a new Bloomberg report claims that the Microsoft-Intel push to compete with the iPad has gotten off to a slow start.
Apple is still dominating the tablet industry with its iPad, while the release of the iPad mini has not helped Microsoft whatsoever. Google is also becoming more competitive in the tablet market, releasing both the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 this year.
Even worse, it’s difficult to track down Windows-based tablets that are built on ARM chips or Intel processors. The scarce availability of Windows 8 tablets has all but helped the iPad maintain its position atop the industry this holiday shopping season.
Plus, there are a limited number of options to choose from: Microsoft’s Surface, Asustek’s Vivo Tab RT, Lenovo’s IdeaPad Yoga, Samsung’s ATIV Smart PC and Acer’s Iconia. And with little to no marketing of these tablets being done by Microsoft’s manufacturing partners, sales remain poor.
“You can hardly even find one,” said Bob O’Donnell, an analyst at market researcher IDC in Framingham, Massachusetts. “So even if you wanted to buy it, it would be difficult.”
While more options are coming, such as a Windows RT tablet by Dell in December, it’s evident that Microsoft still has a lot of work to do to cut the gap between the iPad and its own product offerings. But that is what happens when you enter an already saturated market three years late. For now, the iPad remains the benchmark.
Microsoft has released a Trackpad Settings app for the Surface tablet, available as a free download from the Windows Store. The app lets you control how the trackpad works on the Touch Cover or Type Cover that connects to the Surface, including tap gestures and scrolling. Additionally, the app allows you to toggle off the trackpad entirely or switch the scrolling direction. The app is currently averaging three-stars based on 20 user ratings.
It’s far too soon to judge how well the Surface is doing, but early reports coming from up the supply chain say it’s not boding too well. Microsoft initially expected to ship at least 4 million Surface RT units before the end of 2012, but it appears that the Redmond, Washington corporation probably won’t reach that goal — orders for the tablet have now been reduced to 2 million.
Also noted by DigiTimes is that “although Asustek Computer, Samsung Electronics and Dell have all launched Windows RT-based tablets, consumer demand for those devices is also weak.” With the Surface RT rumored to not be doing so well, it will be interesting to see how Microsoft markets the more expensive Surface Pro going forward.
Today has been a big day for the Surface Pro, as Microsoft has revealed both its price point and the amount of battery life the launch model will have.
Panos Panay, General Manager of Microsoft Surface, announced the official price points for the upcoming tablet earlier this morning. They are very similar to what we expected, and are comparable to that of a higher end third-party laptop.
- 64GB standalone version at $899
- 128GB standalone version at $999
[quote_box author="" profession=""]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).[/quote_box]
It’s interesting to note that the Surface Pro will not be coming with a Touch Cover nor a Type Cover, and that they will only be sold separately. Since this version of the Surface intends to be more of a full-PC experience, it’s surprising that Microsoft expects you to purchase a $120-130 accessory just to have a tactile (or in the Touch Cover’s case, not so much) keyboard.
Also announced today on the official Surface Twitter account was new details regarding the Pro’s battery life:
The beefed up hardware will apparently drain the new tablet’s battery about twice as fast as the Surface RT. Whether this is due to a lower-capacity battery or if the new hardware will simply be using more juice (or a combination of both) is unknown.
The Surface Pro models are slightly heavier, they feature 4GB of RAM, and the display is of higher resolution as well. The screen has a resolution of 1920×1080 and a 10-point multi-touch-capable sensor, mostly to make for a better viewing and stylus-using experience.In comparison, the Surface RT has a 1366×768 screen with 5-point multi-touch.
Hit the break for the full Surface RT vs. Pro specification comparison chart.