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Microsoft Surface could be as cheap as Nexus 7, reports tip

Microsoft's upcoming tablet could prove to be dirt cheap, if rumours prove true.

Microsoft's Surface tablet could be dirt cheap, if fresh rumours that claim the upcoming tablet will cost as little as the Google Nexus 7 prove true.

Engadget cites an "inside source" that was apparently present at Microsoft's recent TechReady15 conference, where the beans were supposedly spilled on how much the Surface would cost to buy.

The price was reportedly revealed to be $199, which is how much Google's magnificent 7-inch offering is priced in the US. Over here, the Nexus 7 costs a delightful £160 for the 8GB version -- a price that, if Microsoft could match it, would make its kickstand-sporting tablet nigh-on irresistible.

But is it remotely possible that Ballmer and co would release a tablet with such a low price tag? The Nexus 7 is so cheap that Google is hoping to make cash on things like movies, music and app downloads more than the devices themselves.

There's also value in flogging a tablet at low, low prices, even if you don't make any money back at first, because once customers are invested in your app store and signed up to all your services, they may be more likely to buy a follow-up gadget.

Microsoft's Surface tablet is bigger than the Nexus 7, which could mean it's more expensive to actually make, so there's potentially more to lose.

The Surface will run Windows RT (though there's also a Pro version if you're interested), meaning you'll only be able to install software through Microsoft's own app shop. It could make a chunk of change that way, but would it be enough to cover costs?

Microsoft has remained cagey on the pricing issue, saying only that the Surface is "expected to be competitive with a comparable ARM tablet or Intel ultrabook-class PC".

While I'd love to see the Surface costing less than £200, I can't see Microsoft going for it. Were I a betting chap, I'd guess Microsoft would follow other tablet makers in pricing its wares to match the iPad, which could see the Surface costing about £400.

Would you pay that much for an unproven operating system though? Stick your thoughts on how much the Surface should cost in the comments or on our Facebook wall.