Microsoft will launch its ARM-based Surface tablets at the same time the company releases Windows 8, according to the company’s recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “The next version of our operating system, Windows 8, will be generally available on October 26, 2012,” Microsoft says in its 10-K filing with the SEC. “At that time, we will begin selling the Surface, a series of Microsoft-designed and manufactured hardware devices.” Microsoft was unavailable for comment at the time of this writing.
The software giant has yet to officially announce pricing or a launch date for its Surface devices. During a press event in June when Microsoft debuted its Surface tablets, the company only said that ARM-based Surface for Windows RT would be available sometime during the general release of Windows 8. The Surface Pro, based on an Intel chip, is slated to launch about three months after the ARM tablets. Microsoft also said that the Surface RT tablets would be priced in line with comparable slates, and the Pro would be priced similar to Ultrabooks.
Introducing a Microsoft-branded tablet is a dramatic step for a company that has traditionally stayed out of the hardware business opting to sell software to computer manufacturers instead. But with companies such as Apple, Google, and Amazon all integrating online services with their own hardware, Microsoft apparently felt compelled to do the same.
But the new strategy is not without risks as the company also noted in its 10-K filing. “Our Surface devices will compete with products made by our OEM partners, which may affect their commitment to our platform,” Microsoft said.
Surface for Windows RT will feature a 10.6-inch display, microSD card reader, USB 2.0 port, MicroHD out, and 32GB or 64GB storage. The device will be using Windows RT, the version of Windows 8 for ARM devices, which includes Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 RT.
The Surface PRO will feature the same size screen, microSDXC reader, USB 3.0 port, Mini DisplayPort, pen input technology, and 64GB or 128GB of storage.
The company may not be ready to officially announce the Surface launch dates yet, but Microsoft on Monday did announce new keyboards and mice optimized for Windows 8 devices.