Windows RT tablets: At $300 less than Windows 8 tablets, they'll be top-level devices at bargain basement prices

Unconfirmed reports say Microsoft's Surface Windows RT tablet will sell for S199. It's hard to know whether that's true, but Lenovo says that its Windows RT tablets will cost between $200 and $300 less than full-blown Windows 8 tablets. At that price, they should be one of the tablet world's great bargains.

Earlier this week, a number of sites reported that Microsoft will sell its low-end Windows 8 Surface tablet for $199. Computerworld reports that at that price point, Microsoft would be selling the tablet at below cost. And selling it for $199 would certainly put Microsoft's OEM partners in a difficult position to try and match it, especially considering they'll have to pay Microsoft licensing fees. Those fees might be as high as $85 per device. So there's simply no way they could match either the Surface's price or hardware specs.

Lenovo gave a hint of its pricing for RT tablets when it told Bloomberg that Windows RT tablets will cost between $200 and $300 less than Windows 8 tablets. David Schmoock, head of Lenovo's North America operations also told Bloomberg that Windows 8 tablets will cost between $600 and $700. So that puts the price of a Lenovo Windows RT tablet anywhere between $300 and $500. That sounds more likely than $199.

At $200 or $300, a Windows RT tablet will be a great buy. Windows RT has most of the features that make Windows 8 a great tablet operating system. Mainly it's missing the Desktop. But for consumer level tablets like Windows RT will be, that's no great loss. At those prices, buyers will be getting a top-level tablet at a reasonable price.

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