Microsoft launched its eagerly awaited new mobile device, Surface for Windows RT, on Tuesday, offering preorders for delivery on October 26. And though the Microsoft Store never suffered under the weight of eager buyers (as Apple’s store routinely does when that company releases new products), there is one bit of bright news for our recently minted devices and services company: One Surface model is already sold out.
Microsoft will eventually sell two versions of the Surface, one based on the ARM architecture and Windows RT, and the other based on an Intel chipset and Windows 8. The former device type, called Surface with Windows RT, was made available for preorder in three different models on Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. ET, and you can learn more about these devices in my articles "Microsoft Surface: Pricing and Availability" and "Microsoft Surface: RT Specifications."
The Windows 8 version of Surface, called Surface with Windows 8 Pro, will ship in early 2013, Microsoft says. It’s unclear why this product isn’t shipping alongside the Surface for Windows RT, but this schedule was established when Microsoft first announced Surface back in June.
All three of the Surface for Windows RT models are available for preorder exclusively through the Microsoft Store. These include a low-end version that costs $499 and features 32GB of storage, a mid-level version that adds a black Touch Cover for $599, and a high-end 64GB model that features a black Touch Cover. Microsoft is also selling various accessories, such as colorful Touch Covers for $120 each and a Type Cover that costs $130. There are various video adapters and other accessories available, as well.
A few people experienced issues trying to order Surface with Windows RT devices on Tuesday, but the majority sailed through the purchase process in a scant couple of minutes, with nary a hiccup. It’s unclear whether we can attribute this success to the superiority of Microsoft’s e-store back end or to a lack of demand. But one thing is certain: If you waited to preorder, you might be disappointed today.
As of this writing, the base Surface for Windows RT device—the $499 model without a cover—is sold out and won’t ship for three weeks. The other two models are currently still slated for delivery on October 26. And although it’s hard to establish shipping times for all of the available accessories, it appears that the colored Touch Covers and Type Cover will still ship October 26 if preordered now.
Stay tuned to the SuperSite for Windows for more information and commentary about Windows RT and Surface.