Microsoft’s Surface tablet and Windows 8 will go on sale Oct. 26

Surface PrintWe’ve talked about Microsoft’s first official entry into the tablet market here at Equipment World before. We’ve discussed the Surface’s laptop/tablet hybrid nature, different models and slick protective cover/keyboard accessory. And we’ve wondered aloud if it’s all enough to lure any enterprise market share away from the iPad.

But what we didn’t know until today is when it will go on sale. Well, according to Paul Thurott, Microsoft has confirmed through a filing with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission that its Surface tablets running Windows RT will begin shipping on Oct. 26. Thurott pulled this quote from the filing:

“The next version of our operating system, Windows 8, will be generally available on October 26, 2012,” the filing reads. “At that time, we will begin selling the Surface, a series of Microsoft-designed and manufactured hardware devices.”

As the quote above notes, Microsoft’s next version of the Windows operating system, Windows 8, will go on sale the same day. And assuming Microsoft is still planning on separating the launch of its two versions of Surface, this Oct. 26 launch will be for the Surface RT. This version will run Windows RT, a scaled-back version of Windows 8 that restricts most use to the more touch-friendly elements of the OS rather than the classic desktop interface. Unlike the Surface Pro, expected to be released 90 days afterward, the Surface RT will run on a mobile ARM processor rather than Intel’s powerful Core processors that power desktops and laptops.

What we still don’t know about the Surface is the price. For the Surface RT, I’d wager you can expect a base price of about $499, the same as the iPad. As far as the Surface Pro goes, that’s anybody’s guess as technically that device has the same capabilities as a laptop, housed in a tablet’s body.