Microsoft has sold out of its least expensive $499 32GB Surface RT tablet.
The sold-out status does not extend to the $119 Touch Cover, which includes a touch-sensitive (not laptop-style) keyboard. Also, early indications are that most pre-orders were just for the tablet, so It would appear that those consumers were being budget-conscious. According to reports, the tablet does not feature the same type of virtual keyboard found in others like the iPad. So, without it, the Surface is “just another tablet,” said Stephen Baker, an analyst with the NPD Group.
“With a cover, it’s both a consumption and creation device,” he said.
He added that the $499 unit’s pre-order supply exhaustion may not be that important: “[Sell-outs] don’t ever really mean anything,” he said. “They could have made just 10 of them, then said, ‘We’re out!'”
The two higher-priced units–the $499 model bundled with the Touch Cover for $599, and the 64GB model also with Touch Cover for $699–remain available to be shipped on October 26, the official release date for Windows 8. The new OS is the only option available for the new devices.
Here’s an excerpt, from PCWorld.com:
Microsoft has exhausted its initial supply of the lowest-priced Surface RT tablet, which now is backordered by three weeks.
On Wednesday, the company’s pre-order website noted, “Order now for shipment within 3 weeks” for the $499 32GB tablet.
That model lacks a cover-cum-keyboard.
Microsoft yesterday kicked off pre-orders for the Surface RT, its first entry into tablet design and manufacturing. The Surface RT comes in three configurations: a 32GB model at $499, a 32GB device with a Touch Cover for $599, and a 64GB model with that same cover at $699.
Touch Covers are also available separately for $119.99, and the Type Cover, a slightly thicker keyboard with key travel more like that of a lightweight notebook, costs $129.99.
The two higher-priced SKUs, or stock-keeping units, remain available for delivery by Oct. 26, the official launch date for Windows 8, its spinoff Windows RT, and hardware powered by both new operating systems.
Although the entry-level Surface RT was out of stock Wednesday, the Type Cover—which one might expect would be ordered alongside the keyboard-less tablet—was not. Orders for the Type Cover will be fulfilled by Oct. 26, Microsoft said.
Customers may be opting for the lowest-priced model—and passing on a keyboard—simply to save dollars.
“The entry-level product includes no typing solution and is pretty transparently an opening price point gambit,” said Stephen Baker, an analyst with the NPD Group. “But there’s no way to know how many people bought, or didn’t buy, one of the covers.”
In other words, Baker continued, don’t read too much into either the backorder or the fact that the two covers are still available.
The full story can be found here.