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Microsoft to increase production of Surface tablets for sale in third party retail stores

Microsoft_Surface_RT_rearDemand for the new Microsoft Surface tablet is heating up as the tech giant is reportedly making plans to step up production. The new tablet is designed to battle with Apple’s popular iPad, and Microsoft is expected to introduce them to third-party retailers within the week.

Microsoft is yet to reveal sales figures of the new tablet but the recent move is a sign that demand for the new product is rising.

“The public reaction to Surface has been exciting to see,” general manager of Microsoft’s Surface project Panos Panay said.

“We’ve increased production and are expanding the ways in which customers can interact with, experience and purchase Surface,” Panay added. He did not give any details how many tablets are being produced though.

He did not provide names of retailers that will sell the new Surface, though Staples Inc had already said that it would soon be selling the tablet starting Wednesday.

Retailers in Australia will have stocks of Surface starting mid-December, while other countries will follow at later dates.

After its launch in October, Surface was sold primarily by Microsoft itself through its  brick and mortar stores in North America. Customers from Australia, France, China, Germany, and the UK could avail of the new product though the Microsoft online store.

The currently available variant of Surface–officially dubbed Surface with Windows RT–is running a modified version of Windows 8 designed to work with low-power chips manufactured by ARM Holdings, the same maker of chips that being used in most tablets and smartphones.

32-GB Surface version costs around $499 before tax. An additional $120 thin cover that can also be used as a keyboard is also available.

Another heavier variant of Surface called Surface with Windows 8 Pro will become available in January and will run on Intel Corp chip that are compatible with Microsoft’s Windows and Office apps. It will reportedly costs around $899 for a 64 GB version.

Microsoft also revealed that it would open and keep a chain of “pop-up” holiday shops into the new year and will eventually turn them into permanent retail outlets it calls “specialy store locations”.

Following the lead of Apple to open physical retail stores, Microsoft opened 31 permanent stores and another 34 holiday “pop-up” stores in both the United States and Canada.

Converting the pop-up holiday shops into permanent ones will  increase the number of physical retail stores for Microsoft to 65, well below Apple Inc’s 400 worldwide stores.

source: reuters