Windows Tablets to Cost Between $300 and $700, Says Lenovo

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Jared Newman/TIME

There’s been no shortage of speculation about how much Windows 8 tablets will cost, but Lenovo looks like the first to give some solid estimates.

David Schmoock, Lenovo’s head of North America operations, told Bloomberg that Windows 8 tablets will cost between $600 and $700, while Windows RT tablets will cost $200 to $300 less than that.

Windows RT is the version of Microsoft’s operating system that runs on ARM-based processors–the same kind that appear in most phones and tablets, including Apple’s iPad. Compared to Windows 8 tablets, whose processors will come from Intel and AMD, Windows RT devices will likely be thinner, lighter and more power-efficient on average. According to Lenovo, they’ll be a lot cheaper as well.

However, only Windows 8 will be able to run legacy desktop software, whereas Windows RT will rely on apps from the Windows Store, a walled garden similar to Apple’s iOS App Store. It’ll have a desktop, but only for a few built-in applications, such as File Explorer, Internet Explorer and a special version of Office 2013.

“RT will play in consumer and retail at very aggressive price points,” Schmoock told Bloomberg. Windows 8 tablets, he said, will be aimed at corporations who still need legacy software.

Though the possibility of $300 to $400 Windows RT tablets is intriguing–and more believable than that $200 Surface tablet rumor–I’m more interested to see what happens in the $600 to $700 space for Windows 8 slates. I don’t think it’s a given that consumers will gravitate toward Windows RT. Rather, it’s one of the biggest unanswered questions about Microsoft’s next operating system.

To me, one of the main value propositions with Windows 8 is the ability to take all your old software along. Even if the Windows Store gets a ton of great apps, sometimes there’s no good replacement for desktop software, stuff like Photoshop and iTunes. Also, only Windows 8 will be able to run third-party browsers such as Chrome and Firefox on the desktop. Will consumers be so quick to let all of that go–and to do so with a Windows RT tablet instead of an iPad? I’m not so sure.

If Lenovo’s price ranges hold true for most Windows 8 tablets, that’s good news. A price of $600 to $700 is still in the same ballpark as the iPad, and that’s essentially for two devices in one. PC makers shouldn’t be so quick to think only businesses would be interested in that.

MORE: Microsoft Surface RT Tablet for $199? Let’s Be Realistic

7 comments
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havasu46
havasu46

A Windows RT Surface or similiar for $399 would be great for couch potatoes doing email, browsing web and reading with a little doc and xls management too. If you're a retired IT pro like me it will do everything I need including online bills and investments.  An Surface Pro or similar for $599-799 would replace the Lenovi or Toshiba notebooks we have and each would be a tablet too.  Microsoft and it's OEMs including Nokia are going to blow mobile devices out of the park. 

Taxpyer
Taxpyer

$300 for a RT tablet still seems low considering it will have a min 32gb.  I think $399 is a minimum for the low end RT tablet. 

Sam Trutna
Sam Trutna

 SSD prices have been falling through the floor recently. When I got my SSD a year ago, it was $2 per GB at best, mine was about $300 for a 120GB Intel SSD. These days the majority are floating around $1 per GB, with that descending well under a dollar as storage size decreases.

Adam Paffhouse
Adam Paffhouse

Full OS games like those from Steam or World of Warcraft on a tablet??? You are beginning to turn some apple fanboy ears....

FrogSlayer Software
FrogSlayer Software

These price points seem much more reasonable than the $199 Surface rumor. If MS really does decide to take a loss on their hardware for the sake of market share and app store revenue, how are the other OEMs supposed to compete at all?

Sam Trutna
Sam Trutna

One could argue that that would be the point. However, we all know Microsoft benefits from having its competitors use its OS.

Jess Reynoso
Jess Reynoso

I think Lenovo is very quickly going to gain momentum in the US. They're doing some really great things and promoting in interesting ways - like bringing in young filmmakers to create short movies to help promote their Ultrabooks. www.youtube.com/seizethenightc...