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More business-friendly Microsoft Surface Pro tablet coming soon

CDN CURATED: The Surface Pro, with better specs and a full version of Windows, will launch in January

It won’t be available in time for Christmas, but not too long into the New Year users will be able to purchase the Surface Pro tablet from Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT).

According to a report from The Verge, Microsoft has announced the Surface Pro will be available in January for US$899. It’s a $400 premium over the entry-level Surface RT, but the Pro edition offers several notable advantages.

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A key one is much better specs. The Pro will be powered by an Intel Core i5 processor with 4GM RAM, while the regular Surface runs a Quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 with 2GB RAM. Storage on the Pro starts at 64GB, vs. 32GB on the RT.

Microsoft’s Surface Pro will be available in January.

The most notable difference is operating system. One disadvantage of the RT is that, running Windows 8 RT, it’s limited to downloading apps from the Windows 8 app store. This means small business users that want a tablet as business tool can’t install programs they may use on their desktops. The Pro, however, will run the full version of Windows 8.

With the significant price-gap between the RT and Pro, businesses looking at a Surface tablet should consider their choice carefully. If most of your use will be browser and app-based (the Microsoft app store now has 20,000 apps and counting) and isn’t compute-intensive, you’re probably fine with the RT. But if you’ll be running more compute intensive workloads, and want to install business software that you use on your laptop, pay the extra for the Pro.