Microsoft Surface RT tablets to launch October 26

Now that we know that Windows 8 will be released on October 26, 2012, it was only a matter of time until someone would figure out when Microsoft’s recently announced Surface tablet family would be launched by the company.

We have covered the tablet before and for a Microsoft hardware product, it has received lots of praise and only light criticism. That’s definitely a good sign for a company that is betting big on the success of Windows 8 and its Metro interface.

The Microsoft Surface tablet family comes in two different flavors. First as Surface RT tablets that run on ARM hardware, and then Surface Pro devices that run on Intel hardware. We have covered the differences between both models before and I’d like to only cover this briefly here.

Windows RT embraces Metro and apps fully. While it ships with a few programs that you may know from your day to day Windows activities, Office comes to mind, it generally does not support the installation of desktop applications. What this means is that you can’t install Firefox, Chrome, VLC, Open Office, Mozilla Thunderbird or uTorrent on the device, unless the developers of said products create a specialized version for it that runs on ARM hardware. Maybe virtualization or streaming may be a solution, we will see about that.

Surface Pro on the other hand is a full Windows system that lets you install all Windows software and utilize the Metro apps store at the same time.

Paul Thurrott today discovered that Microsoft will ship the Surface RT tablets on the same day that Windows 8 will become available: October 26, 2012.

The next version of our operating system, Windows 8, will be generally available on October 26, 2012. At that time, we will begin selling the Surface, a series of Microsoft-designed and manufactured hardware devices.”

The Surface Pro tablets on the other hand will be made available at least 90 days after the launch of Surface RT, which indicates a release note earlier than late January 2013.

It is not clear why Microsoft is forfeiting the lucrative Christmas period, unless it is intent to push the ARM version of the tablet series. Another reason could be to give OEM partners ample time to sell their Windows 8 Pro tablets in that Christmas season.

Whatever the reason may be, it is certainly a blow for Windows users – like myself – who were planning on getting their hands on a Surface Pro device.

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