Microsoft has announced that the Surface Windows 8 Pro tablet hybrid will be released on February 9th in the US and Canada.
Hopefully it will be out in the UK on the same day, or soon after, but there’s no confirmation of that yet.
Over in the States, Microsoft will be selling the device via its online stores, and bricks-and-mortar shops, as well as at Staples and Best Buy (in an effort to broaden the tablet’s availability).
The Surface RT has been out since the launch of Windows 8 in October, and runs the cut-down version of Windows RT designed for ARM architecture. The Surface Windows 8 Pro runs the full x86 version of Windows 8 Pro, as the name would suggest.
That means all x86 software will run on this machine, unlike the Surface RT, which is limited to Windows Store apps.
The hardware in the Surface Pro is also far chunkier, with an Intel Core i5 processor running the show, driving a full HD display – with an included pen, and stylus support adding another facet to the productivity front.
Naturally, it’s more expensive with $899 being the starting price for the lowest spec model in the States, compared to $499 for the Surface RT.
UK pricing isn’t confirmed, but given that the RT is £399 over here, it would seem the Pro model will pitch in at around the £700 to £750 mark.
That, of course, is far more expensive than a basic iPad – which is £399 – and you can buy a keyboard accessory for that, too.
But then, there could be quite a few folks out there willing to pay the price for a fully portable PC slate which they can use the full-fat versions of Office and other popular x86 applications on, when on the move.
Microsoft also announced that the Surface RT would be made available in a number of further markets in the coming weeks, including Ireland, and also Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Thus far, Surface RT sales don’t seem to have set the world alight, although Microsoft hasn’t provided any hard numbers (which is a clue in itself). Whether the Pro version will change Microsoft’s slate fortunes, we shall have to see…