By Claire Reilly

Microsoft has announced pricing and availability on its new Surface tablet, with Australia one of the first eight countries to get access to purchasing the device. However, pre-sales are only available online and there is no word when retailers will be able to get their hands on the Windows RT tablet.

A spokesperson for Microsoft told that the immediate distribution strategy is for the Surface to be sold through Microsoft retail stores, “holiday stores” in the US and Canada (pop-up retail stores that will appear in the Christmas buying period) and through

At this stage, there has been no distribution strategy disclosed for bricks and mortar retailers, but pre-orders have already begun on the Australian Surface website.

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The Surface was first unveiled in June, with one of its main selling points being that it offered consumers the benefits of a conventional tablet bundled with the familiarity of Microsoft Office programs. It also features a thin Touch Cover which doubles as a touch keyboard, a kickstand at the back and a full touch interface.

Microsoft has unveiled three SKUs for the product: a 32GB model (device only) for RRP AUD $559; a 32GB model bundled with a black Touch Cover for RRP $679; and a 64GB model with black Touch Cover for RRP $789.

The Touch Covers will be available for separate purchase in five colours – black, white, magenta, cyan and red – for RRP $139.99 and a more traditional keyboard-style Type Cover (with keys) will be available for RRP $149.99 in black.


The Windows 8 and Windows RT operating systems have been widely heralded as innovations that will bring growth and profitability to the consumer electronics category by Christmastime.

However, as one of the first devices using the platform to be sold on the market, it is a huge blow to retailers to be denied an initial chance to sell the Surface. There was a great opportunity for traditional retailers to be amongst the first to capitalise on the hype created by the device, but now if and when they are granted access to sell the tablet, it will be after early-adopting consumers have already had a chance to get their fix elsewhere.

Hopefully the device is brought out to a broader market soon so retailers can get a piece of the Windows 8 pie.