The Microsoft Surface RT will feature a pricepoint that competes favourably with the iPad, it has been revealed after Microsoft's online store briefly displayed prices for three variations of the tablet earlier today.
The cheapest RT, which has 32GB of on-board solid state memory and no touch keyboard cover, will cost $499 (£310). A black cover will cost an extra $100 (£62), while coloured versions in blue, pink and red cost $119.99 (£74.50) each.
A more traditional keyboard with solid keys will also be available, coming in at $129.99 (£80.70) and available only in black.
The top-end RT sports 64GB memory and a black touch cover, and costs $699 (£434).
Prices, as ever, convert a little more unfavourably for the UK market. The stock 32GB option is priced at £399, with the touch cover at £99 and the solid keyboard cover at £109. The 64GB version has yet to be priced for the UK market.
Microsoft removed the listing soon after posting the prices, but the web page offered pre-order opportunities starting today, with an expected delivery date of 26 October, when Windows 8 hits the streets.
As Microsoft has often mentioned in advance of price revelations, the Surface RT compares favourably with Apple's devices in the iPad range. $499 still buys a 16GB iPad 3, and though iPads now feature Apple's retina displays at a higher resolution than Surface's 1366 x 768 screen, the closer bonding between touch sensor and screen on the Surface is said to decrease reflection and enhance tactility.
Microsoft's promotional video, also launched today, seems to be aiming Surface RT squarely at dancing schoolchildren, and those who prefer doing backflips over fountains than simply sitting quietly and working.
Thus, it seems it will be left up to the full-blown Surface Pro – with its Windows 8 software base and Intel processor – to occupy the enterprise gap for the company's tablet rollout.
While prices for the Surface Pro are still yet to be revealed, Microsoft has suggested they will be closer to that of traditional laptops. After today's very obvious positioning of Surface RT, there seems no reason to doubt such claims.