Microsoft Surface coming down-under November 6, pre-orders available now

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Microsoft has confirmed today what we have been long waiting for – details on price and international availability. And for Australians, Redmond has confirmed that the much-hyped tablet is indeed coming to Australia, with those who pre-order set to receive the tablet from November 6; and showing off its retail prices starting from AU$599.

The Surface with Windows RT will be coming out first – before one running on Windows 8 – and will be priced at US$499 for a 32GB model without the Touch Cover, US$599 with the 32GB model and the Touch Cover and a 64GB model for US$699. No word on Australian pricing as of yet, but expect it to be somewhat on par – given that the Australian dollar is slightly on parity (but that tends to change constantly).

For Australians, the 32GB Surface without the Touch Cover will be priced at $559, the one with the Touch Cover will be priced at $679, and the 64GB model with the included Touch Cover is priced at $789. (Thanks, Long Zheng)

The US pricing for the 32GB model without the Touch Cover pretty much puts the tablet head-on with the 16GB iPad with Wi-Fi; and with double the storage and out-of-the-box Microsoft Office could make this a pretty good back-to-school device. The Australian pricing, however, is a tad greater than the iPad 16GB model with Wi-Fi.

Hardware specifications of the tablet include a 10.6-inch display, two cameras with both 720p HD recording capabilities, and a NVIDIA processor with 2GB of RAM. In contrast, the Windows 8 model will be in 64GB and 128GB capacities and is a bit fatter – 9.3mm for the Windows RT version, and 13.5mm for the Windows 8 model.

The Touch Covers can be bought separately for US$119.99 – which is a lot of money just for an accessory (Apple doesn’t charge that much for their covers); and a Type Cover will set you back another US$129.99. Australian pricing is $139.99 for the Touch Cover, and $149.99 for the Type Cover.

Confirmed launch countries are the United States, Canada, Australia, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. For the US and Canada, they will be able to get the Surface through all Microsoft Store locations and online. The rest of the world, including us, will have to go through Microsoft’s Online Store to get it – which is also a stark departure from their traditional methods of selling products to us.

You can find all the pre-order information on the Surface website.

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