A recent leaked roadmap for Asus’s touchscreen-enabled Windows products may just give us insight to pricing behind what other hardware manufacturers may price tablets running Microsoft’s Windows 8 systems as well as the Windows RT machines that are designed around chipset design from ARM Holdings. In the document, Asus’s Windows RT tablet, featuring NVIDIA’s quad-core Tegra 3 CPU and Windows RT, will start at $599 while the Vivo Tab, which is based on Intel’s Atom processor and will run Windows 8, will cost $799.
Pricing for the Windows RT tablet includes license for Microsoft Office 2013 as well. ZDNet posted the above image of the Asus roadmap and the pricing.
Additionally, like the Transformer Pad Android tablet series, both the Vivo Tab and the Vivo Tab RT tablets will feature optional keyboard docks allowing users an easy way to enter text as well as manipulate the OS with a touchpad. The optional keyboard dock should also carry with it a battery to help extend the run time of the tablet, which will resemble the form factor of a clamshell notebook when docked. However, unlike the Android tablets, the Windows Vivo Tab series keyboard dock will cost $199 rather than $149, suggesting that Asus will be pricing that accessory at a premium towards a more ‘pro’ audience using Windows, rather than the casual audience that consume content on Android.
With entry level pricing for the tablet hardware at $599, Windows RT may have a hard time competing with cheaper alternatives that run on ARM processors. Apple is selling the iPad 2 at just $400 and pricing for a 7-inch quad-core Google Nexus 7 tablet, also made by Asus, comes in at just $200. Windows RT is more limited than Windows 8 as Windows RT cannot run legacy programs designed for Windows 7 or earlier. For Windows tablet owners to benefit from the full Windows ecosystem, they’ll likely have to jump to the $799 Windows 8 model.
A third touchscreen-enabled device is the Asus Taichi. That device is a clamshell notebook with two screens. The inner screen will resemble the notebook form factor that we see today, but when closed, there will be a secondary touchscreen on the outside so users can use the system as a tablet.
When Microsoft had announced its own Surface tablets, the company said that the hardware would be priced competitively with other solutions on the market today. Microsoft at that time didn’t give any hints as to what the tablet hardware would be priced at and now with Asus’s leaked roadmap, we may have a hint as to what Surface and what other vendors are pricing their Windows tablets at.