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Microsoft keeps expectations for its first party tablet modest amid market hype

At its Worldwide Partner Conference in Canada, a Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) executive offered official confirmation of an August Release to Manufacturing (RTM) build of Windows 8, followed by an October release.  

The details were confirmed by Windows Chief Financial Officer Tami Reller.  They fall roughly in line with past statements by Microsoft, but were more explicit, committing to precise months.

Leaked builds have shown that one of the big changes in the RTM build will be the elimination of the Aero glass UI, in favor of a Metro UI desktop theme.  The desktop Metro UI theme in leaked builds looks somewhat similar to the familiar Windows desktop, but emphasizes harder windows edges and pastel colors.

At the conference CEO Steve Ballmer also is quoted by All Things Digital's Mary Jo Foley as stating, "We may sell a few million of the 375 million PCs we expect to sell in next year with Surface."

Microsoft has high hopes for its first-party 10.6-inch Surface tablet.  However, much like Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) 2010 iPad launch, its initial production run is constrained by its bleeding-edge hardware and manufacturing processes.  The Microsoft tablet is built with a unique scratch resistant magnesium body, an industry first.

Microsoft Surface
The Microsoft Surface

Apple's iPad sold "only" 15 million units in 2010, but went on to sell 40 million units in 2011 [1][2][3][4].  While Microsoft's objectives with the Surface are quite modest, it surely hopes to follow a similar path in its second year on the market.

Microsoft recently acquired Perceptive Pixel, a company specializing in large-scale multi-touch hardware and is looking to launch new devices with large multi-touch displays.

Sources: Digital WPC, Mary Jo Foley

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RE: Looks Good
By B3an on 7/11/2012 5:54:21 AM , Rating: 2
And me. A useful tablet, never thought i'd see the day.

RE: Looks Good
By theapparition on 7/11/2012 9:34:07 AM , Rating: 2
And price?

So far I haven't seen a price or full specs released. While I'm excited for this as well, and have no problem affording it at any price, I'm still value conscientious. If the Intel version is $2k, then I'm not going to buy it.

The RT version needs to be priced in the $400 range and the Intel in the $600 range for this to be a hit.

RE: Looks Good
By B3an on 7/11/2012 1:30:20 PM , Rating: 2
$600 for ultrabook level hardware? Dont think so. Theres noway it will be 2K. but i'd expect to pay as much as a average ultrabook which is perfectly fair for what you get and the fact that it can also replace a ultrabook/laptop anyway.

RE: Looks Good
By sigmatau on 7/11/2012 1:35:38 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft did state that the pricing of their ARM tablets will be in line with other ARM tablets while its Intel based tablets would be priced in line with ultrabooks. Hopefully they will be a little less.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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