Microsoft Surface tablet gets a shelf date

Microsoft has offered up a shelf date for its Surface tablet, and it's the same date as the launch of its new Windows 8 platform.

No surprise there as that's the OS that will power Microsoft's tablet device. 'The next version of our operating system, Windows 8, will be generally available on 26 October 2012,' the company confirmed. 'At that time, we will begin selling the Surface, a series of Microsoft-designed and manufactured hardware devices.'

By that point, we could well have seen a Kindle Fire in the UK, as well as an iPad Mini. But the Microsoft Surface is probably aiming a little higher up the market than either of those devices. It's also not clear if that date is for the UK, as well as the US. We hope so, and should get confirmation ahead of the big day.

The tablet launching initially is the Surface RT, which we previewed back in June. It's the entry-level tablet (compared to the upmarket Pro version) with an ARM processor and a choice of 32 or 64GB storage options, along with a 10.6-inch HD screen and that eye-catching cover, which folds out to double up as a touch-sensitive keyboard.

Pricing still hasn't been confirmed, but was talked about as being 'competitive' at launch, so you might want to look at the price of the equivalent iPad for a rough idea. It's unlikely to undercut too much.

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