Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet – its first to run the full Windows 8 software for PCs – will hit Australian retail outlets on May 30, four months after the US, Canada and China release, two weeks after Hong Kong and one week after the UK.
Local retailers selling the Surface tablet are JB Hi Fi and Harvey Norman.
Microsoft is hoping the Pro will turn its fortunes around in the tablet market. It currently has only 2 percent of global shipments in a market dominated by Apple and Google/Android.
The previously released Surface RT, powered by an ARM chip, has not been a big seller. One reason, according to many market watchers, is that it’s unable to run the huge range of legacy Windows PC programs.
They’re predicting better things for the Pro model, which thanks to the Intel chip, can run the legacy programs, making it more important to many big-business users.
The Pro, however, is saddled with a hefty price, compared to many Android tablets as well as the Surface RT (a recommended A$559 in Australia), and the current business favourite, the Apple iPad with Retina display, which starts at $539.
The new Surface will be available in two versions: a model with 64Gb of storage at A$999, and a 128GB version at $1099. Microsoft warns that not all that RAM is available for files: a fair-sized slab will be taken up by the operating system and ancillary files.
It has an Intel Core i5 processor, a 10.6-inch display capable of showing Full HD images, and weighs 900 grams. In Australia it will be available from major chains Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi. It can also be bought through Microsoft Australia’s online store.
Available accessories include two keyboard/covers: the raised-key Type cover at $149.99 and the flat, touch-sensitive Touch cover, at $139,99.
Microsoft Australia has not revealed whether the Surface Pro will be able to link to 3G or 4G networks in Australia. The model currently selling in the US is understood to be Wi-Fi only.