Microsoft wheels out 256GB Surface Pro tablet – in Japan

New model will sell elsewhere, but no word yet on when

A business-friendly version of Microsoft's Surface Pro laptop/tablet is being introduced in Japan sporting 256GB of memory, double that of the previous top-of-line model.

Microsoft Japan says in a press release that it will sell the new version in other countries, but doesn’t say which ones or when. The device sells for $1,183.50.

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The Japan version of the 128GB Surface Pro ($985.92) costs roughly the same in the U.S. ($999), so the eventual U.S. price for the 256GB Surface should be in line with the Japan price. Prices don’t include a keyboard.

Microsoft has been making Surface available in several other countries over the past few weeks, saying it will hit Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland and the U.K. by the end of the month. Japan, Russia, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand will follow in June.

Surface Pro runs on an Intel processor and supports both Windows 8 applications and any application that can run on Windows 7. This is different from Surface RT, the Microsoft tablet powered by ARM chips and that only supports Windows 8 applications and a specially crafted version of Microsoft Office.

Given its support of Windows 7 applications and its optional keyboard, Surface Pro is considered a candidate for business use as a possible replacement for laptops. The larger memory of the model being introduced in Japan would make it more attractive for enterprise use where certain jobs require storage of large files.

Tim Greene covers Microsoft and unified communications for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at tgreene@nww.com and follow him on Twitter@Tim_Greene.

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