Surface's other shoe is about to drop: the full Windows 8, Intel Core-driven Surface is headed to stores in just a few weeks.
Microsoft has finally put a launch date on the Surface Pro.
The full Windows 8 tablet, which made its behind-the-scenes debut in Las Vegas during CES, has been awaited since last year's Los Angeles Surface event. Originally expected in late January and 90 days after the launch of the Surface RT on October 26, the launch window has shifted a little. Still, it's on its way in two weeks. Panos Panay, Microsoft Surface general manager, made the announcement this morning.
The Surface Pro has a Core i5 or Core i7 Intel processor and either 64GB or 128GB of onboard storage, starting at $899 ($999 for the 128GB version). Unlike some Surface RT bundles, the Surface Pro doesn't come with a Type Cover or Touch Cover -- those are sold separately at $130 and $120, respectively. It does come with a pressure-sensitive Surface Pen stylus with palm-rejection technology that magnetically clips to the charging port. Add in a Type Cover (incredibly useful but not essential if you have your own keyboard and mouse) and the Surface Pro will effectively start at $1,029.
The Microsoft Surface Pro will be available February 9 at Microsoft retail stores, microsoftstore.com, at Staples and Best Buy in the U.S., and at "a number of locations" in Canada.
A few new Surface accessories are launching alongside the Surface Pro: a set of red, magenta, and cyan limited-edition etched-design Touch Covers ($120 each, same as the previous Touch Covers), and a Surface-optimized version of the $69 Microsoft Wedge Touch Mouse, a product CNET reviewed last year.
The Surface RT also has a new 64GB tablet-only configuration without the Touch Cover for $599, the same price as the 32GB Surface RT with a Touch Cover. Microsoft announced that Surface RT availability will spread to 13 new territories: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.