Microsoft is authorizing a $150 discount off its Surface RT tablet for a week, which represents a 30% discount off the list price of $499, according to an ad on the upcoming-sales page of Staples Web site.
This is the least attractive of the Surface tablets because, among other things, it runs only Windows 8 applications – not traditional Windows applications - and has only 15GB of the 32GB disk available to the user. It does come with an abbreviated version of Office.
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Those who want to buy the device at the sale price still have to pay either $119 or $129 extra if they want a keyboard to go with it.
New Surface accessories
Microsoft will be coming out with new accessories for its Surface tablets over the next 12 months, according to information it revealed at its international partners conference last week.
While it didn’t detail what they’d be, the new add-ons were mentioned in a slide during a presentation by Microsoft COO Kevin Turner and noticed by eagle-eyed Mary Jo Foley, the author of the All About Microsoft blog.
The slide consisted of 48 squares – not unlike the tiles that display apps on the Windows 8 Start screen – that represented innovations coming in 2014. That seems to mean the company’s fiscal 2014 because among the tiles was one for Windows 8.1 which is scheduled to be finalized for manufacturing in August.
(Prediction: one accessory will be a keyboard that contains a battery that will extend the overall battery life of the device. Surface keyboard ports are already wired with the electrical connection needed to carry this off.)
The slide promises new colors for Surface accessories, which probably means keyboards. So far they’re available in five hues, and they haven’t even used up the primary colors. The slide also makes mention of new Windows 8.1 devices, which likely means devices made by hardware partners, but could mean another, perhaps smaller, Surface.
The other Windows 8/Surface-related innovations from the slide: an unspecified update to Surface RT, an unspecified update to Surface Pro, third-party application updates for Windows 8 and first-party application updates for Windows 8.
Kickbacks for resellers
Microsoft is offering up to $10 per Windows 8 Pro touch device sold by resellers in a new program called TouchWins. The idea is to get more Windows 8 devices in the hands of users with the hope they’ll prompt others to buy.
Microsoft is being pretty picky about which models it’s offering the bounties on – a total of 27 devices from these vendors: Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba.
Tim Greene covers Microsoft and unified communications for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter@Tim_Greene.