Microsoft’s Free Keyboard Cover Makes Surface RT Whole

A limited-time offer finally makes the most interesting part of Microsoft's tablet part of the standard package.

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Wanna buy one of Microsoft’s Surface RT tablets? Assuming you live in the U.S. or Canada, the company is now throwing in one of its Touch Cover or Type Cover keyboard add-ons at no extra charge. It’s a limited-time offer, although the company isn’t saying when it will end.

Normally, you can get a Surface RT with a Touch Cover for $100 extra; that cover is $120 when purchased separately, and the Touch Cover Limited Edition and Type Cover are $130 apiece. So the free-cover offer is a deal.

But the dollars and cents are less interesting than the fact that the offer turns Surface RT from a tablet with an optional keyboard cover into a tablet that comes with a keyboard cover. Both the Touch and Type covers are ingenious: they’re remarkably thin, draw power from the Surface and get out of the way when you don’t need them. They’re the most special thing about Surface, and the thing that Microsoft chooses to spotlight in Surface ads:

The fact that the Surface’s most noteworthy feature was optional was always weird. Presumably, it was an artifact of Microsoft wanting to match the iPad’s $499 starting price without eating the cost of the keyboard covers. Now, as long as the special offer is in effect, it is eating that cost. (Surface Pro, which starts at $899, isn’t really a direct iPad competitor, and isn’t part of the special offer.)

Seven months have passed since Surface RT’s debut. Despite all the attention it’s gotten and Microsoft’s advertising blitz, it barely seems to be a blip in the tablet market, saleswise. The product has faced multiple challenges: For the first part of its life, for instance, the only retail stores that sold it were those in its creator’s tiny Microsoft Store chain.

It remains a Windows-branded computer that can’t run conventional Windows software, a fact which is difficult to explain to normal everyday folks who aren’t obsessed with technology. And it’s still tough for Microsoft or anyone else to make a case that many people would be better off with one than with an iPad, especially given the humongous disparity in third-party apps.

But I still wonder: Would Surface RT have gotten off to a better start if it had come with that nifty keyboard all along?

ZainiChia 1 Like

Definitely would have been better. MS should have included the keyboard in the cost, and tried harder to match the iPad's 499 cost with they keyboard. It is, like you said, the most important differentiator.


Saturn PCS has entered the Windows Tablet market with their new WinPad 11.6 inch Tablet. Docking Station is included in the purchase. Very nice unit and it flies!

BobbieDooley 1 Like

Seems to me like the entire marketing team at Microsoft needs to be fired.  No one wants to send an excel spreadsheet from a park or public place, and then start dancing because their surface tablet computer didn't crash. 


@BobbieDooley  losts of people do work NOT in the office... moron 


@VictorSmith @BobbieDooley  - so, you're actually Bullyboi Ballmer, thinking you can INTIMIDATE people into liking your badly-implemented product? 

 I've got a Win 7 desktop and laptop (the former of which I intend to keep and am generally very happy with, and the latter which I can't WAIT to get rid of!). Why would I want a Windows Surface RT over a Macbook Air, lower price aside? Can  I run my Win 7 software on it? Is it more open than Mac OS/IOS - which is great for media consumption and easy games, and between mediocre and crap for productivity or even just responding to social media?  

Convince me you're not just M$FT fanbois and Apple Hatas (which is, I'll admit, akin to convincing me you're both Republican and NOT a raging bigot Kochsucker!), but have good reasons for preferring Surface RT....


worleyeoe 1 Like

Yes. And the sad fact is that even at $499 with a fancy type cover the Surface RT is still over priced. Now that said, I've played with it a couple of times and its quite nice. Their great mistake was trying to over price the device and include Office. It should have been sold for $450 from day one with the touch cover and then have people pay a subscription to run Office.

harrymccracken moderator 1 Like

@worleyeoe Interesting idea, especially since Office isn't that useful WITHOUT the keyboard cover.

worleyeoe 1 Like

@harrymccracken @worleyeoe And to make one more point, there has to be a Metro version of Office coming soon. Why didn't MS just dispense of the desktop entirely for Windows RT and say "Oh by the way, we'll have Metro Office ready in about 12 months." They could have sold the Windows RT device for $399 and allowed users to add Office and the keyboard separately.