The Microsoft Surface will start from $499 for the 32GB version in the US – £399 in the UK – and goes on sale on October 26th in eight countries, including the UK.
The Surface is set to arrive at the same time as Microsoft’s midnight launch of Windows 8.
The Surface’s hardware is based on ARM chips – the same British chip architecture which can be found in almost every mobile phone. It runs a new touch-based version of Windows written for ARM, called Windows RT. Existing Windows apps will not run on it.
Microsoft is banking on its new Windows 8 Store – which it is inviting developers to sign-up for – to populate its upcoming computer platforms with software and games.
A 32GB model packaged with packaged with the black keyboard Touch Cover will retail for $599 (£479).
The 64GB model plus black keyboard Touch Cover is also available for $699 (£559).
Touch Covers in various colours can be purchased for $119 individually, with a thicker, supposedly more efficient Type Cover offered at $129.
Microsoft’s Surface will go on sale in the US and Canada in Microsoft stores, and will be available for online orders in the UK, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Australia and China.
In the UK, Apple’s third generation iPad (32GB) retails for £399. However, Apple is planning on unveiling a smaller tablet to compete with Google and Amazon’s range of slimmer 7” value tablets.