The old saying about secrets and the lifespan of closed-lipped conspirators hasn’t quite held true when it comes to Windows 8/RT tablet pricing; Microsoft and its OEM partners have managed to keep remarkably mum about the cost of the upcoming slates, leading to a rash of rumors placing the Surface’s price anywhere between $199 and $999. Now, however, a Lenovo executive has broken omerta.
David Schmoock, the head of Lenovo’s North American group, told Bloomberg that ARM-powered Windows RT tablets will cost $200 to $300 less than Windows 8 tablets running on traditional x86 processors. Of course, knowing that isn’t knowing much unless you also know the price of Windows 8 tablets. Fortunately, Schmoock dropped the dime on that, too.
If you were expecting Windows 8 tablets to be priced competitively with the $500 iPad, you’re in for a surprise: Schmoock says that Windows 8 tablets will retail for between $600 and $700. Since Windows RT tablets will retail for $200 to $300 less than those, that places the price of Windows RT tablets — or at least Lenovo’s Windows RT tablets — between $300 and $500.
Why the price difference? Windows RT tablets will only be able to run the newer Metro apps (or whatever they’re called now) while Windows 8 tablets include legacy support for the Windows software currently being used.