Oh come on, this is silly - the $199 was just a made up rumour.
$499 is cheaper than the ipad I think? And generally in line with 10" tablets. It's ludicrous argument to say it's expensive, just because it's not as cheap as some ridiculously unrealistic cheap cost that someone made up. I might as well claim the ipad 4 will be 50 cents, and then claim it's too expensive when the real cost is announced. As soon as I saw the rumour on $199, I could just see that these kinds of arguments would come :/
Yes there's a valid argument to say that the real mainstream usage of tablets will be in low cost devices - at high prices, they're luxury products, but at cheap prices, it's tempting to get not one but several for different sizes and purposes. But that argument applies against all the other high end tablets, from Apple, Samsung, ASUS etc.
Johnny-come-lately? That was Apple with phones
If now is late for tablets, then MS don't have to worry anyway, as it means there isn't going to be any further growth. OTOH if there is plenty of future growth in tablets (the thing that concerns MS), then now is certainly not late.
Similarly with the idea of the Surface Pro - if there isn't a demand for tablets that are also usable as laptops/desktops/full blown PCs, then it doesn't matter anyway, MS will just go on selling Windows on PCs as before. But if there is, then they're certainly not late to the market - rather, they're first, as no one has yet to make a tablet that's actually a full blown PC, rather than an oversized phone.
Also consider that this is just one of many Windows tablets - unlike Apple, but like Android, you're not stuck with one product. As with the Google phones, it makes sense that the "flagship" product should be a high end premium product, but let other companies fill the market with cheaper products. I don't think that MS's aim is to dominate with the Surface alone (although I'm sure they wouldn't mind), but to provide a flagship example to other Windows tablet manufacturers, similar to what Google did with phones in the earlier days of Android (the Nexus line has never sold that well compared with other Android phones, but they are an important line).
ETA on comparisons:
Does an ipad mini actually exist yet? With pricing? All I've seen is rumours.
The 7" Android tablets look great, but it's not fair to compare 8/16GB 7" tablets to 32/64GB 10" tablets - if you're going to compare, let's compare like to like. (Plus if you want cheap, the cheapest seems to be Ainol, offering 7" tablets cheaper than Amazon, Google, Samsung or Apple - but do the media ever mention them...?)
The original Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 prices were $499 for 16GB, $549 for 32GB ( http://techcrunch.co...b-549-for-32gb/
). I believe an Ipad 3 is $499 for only the 16GB version.
Given that Windows's strengths would be things like Office, easier integration with PCs and so on, it seems to me that this strategy is better than going for the ultra-cheap-low-end 7" market. Yes, every platform and device has its pros and cons, but I'm boggled at the argument that the Surface RT is expensive, when if anything it's cheaper than the competition.
Edited by mdwh, 17 October 2012 - 08:24 AM.