Australia misses out on first Surface Pro units

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Australia misses out on first Surface Pro units

Microsoft today announced pricing and availability for its Surface tablet running Windows 8 Pro, but Australia has been left out of the first round of shipments.

The Surface Pro will be on sale in the United States and Canada from February 9, 2013. It will be available in 64GB and 128GB models, starting from $US899 ($A850).

The product is Microsoft's second in its new Surface tablet family, and is aimed squarely at business users thanks to the inclusion of an Intel X86-based chip, fully-fledged Windows 8 operating system, stylus, 4GB RAM, USB 3.0, microSDXC slot, two 720p cameras and a two-year hardware warranty.

In comparison, the Surface RT tablet released in mid-October runs on an ARM chip with a hobbled version of Windows 8 for mobile, Windows RT. It starts from $559 for the 32GB model.

Australia was one of several countries to get the Surface RT on release day. Microsoft has declined to reveal when local buyers will be able to get their hands on the business-grade device.

Australian resellers are similarly keen to find out when they will be able to sell the anticipated tablet. Microsoft partners were shut out of Surface RT sales initially after the software giant decided to sell tablet through its own website.

Two months after launch, Microsoft decided to allow partners into Surface RT sales. In December the company offered the tablet through the likes of Harvey Norman and JB HiFi after receiving a backlash from resellers unhappy with its decision to go direct.

Microsoft has not revealed its sales strategy for Surface Pro, but Harvey Norman's head of computers Ben Macintosh told CRN in December he expected Microsoft would learn from its mistake and this time work with its partners.

He said he expected to have the Surface Pro in Harvey Norman stores soon after launch.

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