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Right now, customers can only buy the Surface RT tablet at Microsoft Stores

Reports on Microsoft's Surface tablet have been a mixed bag lately, but All Things D is pretty clear about its position: the demand and sales just aren't there.

All Things D recently spoke with Boston-based brokerage firm Detwiler Fenton about Microsoft's Surface RT tablet. The verdict? Microsoft better get its tablet out in other stores or it's going to sink.

"Lack of distribution is killing the product," said Detwiler Fenton. "Mixed reviews and a [$499] starting price tag certainly don't help, but lack of retail exposure at Best Buy and others is severely depressing sales."

Right now, customers can only buy the Surface RT tablet at Microsoft Stores. The problem with this is that there's only 31 of them, with another 34 smaller Microsoft kiosks around the U.S.

Due to this lack of presence in major retailers, Detwiler Fenton estimates that Microsoft will only sell 500,000 to 600,000 Surface RTs in the December quarter. This is a strong hit to previous estimates of 1 million to 2 million.

Recently, a pair of reports from both CNET and The Seattle Times showed differing views on how Windows 8-based touchscreen tablets, convertibles and laptops are faring. CNET spoke with IDC and IHS iSuppli analysts, who said retailers were having trouble keeping them on shelves due to high demand. However, The Seattle Times begged to differ, echoing Detwiler Fenton's concerns: there just aren't very many Windows 8 tablets out yet, and those that are are impossible to find. However, other Windows 8 tablets are sold in major retailers like Best Buy; not just Microsoft Stores.

Microsoft's Surface Pro is expected to be released in January, which will feature the Windows 8 Pro operating system instead of Windows RT for ARM-based tablets.

Source: All Things D

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RE: Zune all over again
By Solandri on 12/9/2012 2:33:22 PM , Rating: 2
Samsung has had a line of x86 slate models out for a couple years now. Here are the latest versions:

The Surface Pro certainly beats them in features per dollar. But if companies had wanted to go for this form factor in an x86 system, they could have done it already. They didn't have to wait for the Surface Pro.

Don't get me wrong - I think this form factor is next obvious evolution of the laptop. But I don't think the lackluster sales are as simple as "companies are waiting for the Surface Pro." When you add the expense of an Intel CPU ($300+ for the ultra low voltage versions vs $15 for an ARM processor) and a Microsoft OS ($100 vs free for Android), an x86 tablet is already starting at a $400 price disadvantage.

Starting a couple years ago, CPU performance got so high that a low-end CPU on a PC was "enough" for the average user. ARM processors aren't quite there yet, but it's inevitable that they will be. ARM combined with a non-Microsoft OS has represented the first time in decades that the industry has really had a chance to shake off the huge tax imposed by the Wintel duopoly. Long-term I'm predicting either Android (Linux)/ARM will win out and become the new standard, or Microsoft and Intel will steeply drop their prices and sacrifice profit margin to remain the industry standard. (Apple's closed ecosystem will prevent it from truly dominating - business compares are tools, not appliances.)

RE: Zune all over again
By Visual on 12/10/2012 4:46:00 AM , Rating: 2
On paper the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro is actually better than Surface Pro in some regards... lighter than it when undocked, and has a real keyboard dock that will hold the display at the angle you set it.

It was supposed to be out earlier too - as early as when Windows 8 launched on 26th of October. When that didn't happen, it was supposed to be out on several other rumored dates in between then and now. Well, it is finally available in the USA... barely... but for $1700 or even upwards of $2000 at some places, when it was supposed to be $1100...

No idea when it may be available in my country at a sane price at all. Might turn out to be even later than the Surface Pro. I am very disappointed.

As to the last-gen Sandy Bridge variant that you mention - it was a decent product, but again very late to the market. Would have been a great hit if it launched when the Sandy Bridge CPU it uses launched in the start of 2011 (i.e. when the Asus ep121 launched with last-year's CPU and ruined the market segment, especially because of its craptastic GPU), but instead it launched close to the year's end, when I was already waiting for Ivy Bridge. Little did I know that Ivy Bridge based devices would also not launch when the CPU became available though, but be delayed until Windows 8 and then some.

This whole market segment feels like a series of cruel jokes with people like me that had wanted a similar tablet for years... now Microsoft, supposedly entering the market in order to fix the situation, instead adds to it with yet more unreasonable delays.

RE: Zune all over again
By darkhawk1980 on 12/10/2012 6:39:13 AM , Rating: 2
I have had the Samsung Slate 7 now for approximately 6 months, and I can't complain about it's use at all. Even running Windows 7, it is miles ahead of what I expected to get out of the tablet. It certainly does everything I need, want, and expected out of it, and more. At this point, I realize that newer Sandy Bridge CPU's are out, but to be perfectly honest, that wasn't a huge deal. As far as price, total (PC, dock, keyboard) I paid roughly $1300. That's for the model with a 128 GB SSD as well. I didn't find that unreasonable, even though the dock and keyboard were both $90. I'm not sure where you're getting the $1700 to $2000 from, but I haven't seen them more than $1400, even with the extra bells and whistles....Newegg currently (although out of stock) has the Samsung STIV for $1200 with a 128 GB SSD. Is that really all that unreasonable? I don't think so.

Lastly, these products are doing bad because of bad marketing, and incredibly low advertising. I haven't seen an ad at all for any other tablet besides the Microsoft Surface. People don't know these alternative products exist.

RE: Zune all over again
By Visual on 12/10/2012 7:35:33 AM , Rating: 2
I'm getting the price from Amazon. Places that are out of stock are not valid.
I'm sure the price will get to the promised $1100-1200 when supply stabilizes, but right now the situation is really bad.

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