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Microsoft Takes on Apple

The new widgets will go on sale next week on October 26

Microsoft Tuesday priced its ARM-based tablet, the dingus with the ARM-ported Windows RT that won't run any of the scads of applications written for x86 machines although there will be an ARM-ported version of Office bundled with the things.

The new widgets will go on sale next week on October 26.

As expected by most people they're priced up against the iPad.

Microsoft's 32GB Surface tablets, targeted at business folk, will cost $499.Apple's iPad at that price point has only 16GB but a higher-resolution screen.

The Surface's magnetic cover that doubles as a real keyboard - a Type Cover - will cost another $130.

There's also a 32GB model with a black so-called Touch Cover that'll cost $599 and a 64GB model for $699.

Eventually, probably early next year, Microsoft will put out x86-based tablets that run x86 programs. Intel said there are six OEMs for that product.

Microsoft hasn't priced those widgets yet.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Microsoft sent an order for three-five million ARM-based Surface tablets to its builder for Q4, roughly the number of Kindles and Nexus 7s Amazon and Google ordered.

Apple is supposed to have ordered 10 million iPad minis, which it may announce next week.

Apple finally sent out invitations to an invite-only soiree for the press next week that's assumed to be for the 7.85-inch mini. The invitation read, "We've got a little more to show you."

Mass production of the Surface tablets reportedly started earlier this month. Ditto the unconfirmed iPad mini.

The Surface tablet is 9.3mm thick and weighs 1.5 pounds, much like the iPad's 9.4mm and 1.44 pounds specs.

The Surface also has a built-in kickstand.

Microsoft is taking a limited number of pre-orders now. Next week Surface will be available for sale online in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the UK and the US. It will also be available from Microsoft stores.

Microsoft is using an Nvidia T30 chip with 2GB of RAM. The widget has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, two 720p HD front- and rear-facing cameras and two microphones with stereo speakers.

Besides Office, the dingus includes Windows Mail, Windows Messaging, SkyDrive, Internet Explorer 10, Bing, Xbox Music, Xbox Video and Xbox Games.

Microsoft is expected to have a huge ad budget behind the device and has basically snapped its fingers under the noses of its traditional partners like HP and Dell.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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