Microsoft Surface RT tablet pricing set, starts at $499

En Us L Surface Win Rt Rm1Earlier today, Microsoft updated its website with pricing for its upcoming Surface RT tablet. Keep in mind, the Surface RT runs Windows RT, a stripped down version of the upcoming Windows 8 operating system that eschews support for legacy Windows software in favor of apps that take advantage of the operating system’s new capabilities including touch and full screen display. Rest assured, Microsoft Office is still supported.

The Surface RT will launch Oct. 26, but pre-orders for the device are available now through Microsoft’s site. The device starts at $499 for a 32 gigabyte model without the Touch Cover. This cover wowed many at the launch event as it both protects the screen and doubles as a keyboard. That same 32GB model with the cover is $599 and a 64GB model with the cover is $699.

If you want to purchase the cover separately, it runs $120. And if you want a version with actual, depressible keys, you’ll shell out $130.

Microsoft said they would price the Surface competitively with the iPad and they’ve done that here. However, we still don’t know how much the second version of the Surface will cost. This pro version of the device is powered by a traditional Intel processor you’d find in a laptop and runs the full version of Windows 8 that also supports all your classic Windows software. After seeing these prices, I’m thinking this version of the Surface will come in at no less than $800.

It will be interesting to see how many contractors put these devices to use out in the field. This is definitely a Windows-dominated industry, so having the official Windows tablet will be a no-brainer for many companies, even with the success of the iPad.

At this point though, your best bet for the best Windows 8 tablet for the jobsite is still the HP ElitePad 900.