Microsoft’s Surface Tablets could soon debut in India as the company looks to gain leverage of selling devices with upcoming OS Windows 10. Not available in India yet, the company offers 2 models – Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3 with different hardware configurations to other parts of the World.
Speaking to TOI Tech, Vineet Durani, Director – Windows Business Group at Microsoft (India), informed that the company is looking at bringing the Surface devices to India, following feedback from its current and potential customers including CXOs. However, he refused to comment when the company will launch the 2-in-1 devices in India.
In the past, Microsoft executives including Durani have categorically stated that the reason why the company did not bring the Surface tablet to India is the price sensitive nature of the market.
Prior to April 2015, the only Surface model available was the Pro 3 which was sold at a starting price $799 (Rs 51,000 approximately) (for the Intel Core i3/64GB storage/ 4GB RAM model).
It’s worth pointing out that the 12-inch tablet was sold without a keyboard cover for which users needed to spend $130 extra. The first-generation Surface was launched in October 2012, and Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 were unveiled in October 2013. None of the models were released in India.
“We feel there’s a market in India for all devices including high-end convertibles and the Surface is the perfect device to showcase Windows 10, which adapts to 2-in-1s easily with seamless switching between PC and tablet UIs,” said Durani.
In April 2015, Microsoft unveiled the Surface 3, an affordable 10.8-inch version of the Surface that starts at $499 (Rs 32,000 approximately) (for the quad-core Intel Atom, 64GB storage, 2GB RAM version). Just like the Pro version, even the Surface 3 comes without the Type cover, available for an extra $130.
Unlike most high-end tablets, the Surface is more of a laptop/PC replacement bundled with the Type cover. Microsoft also sells a $50 stylus called Surface Pen to write and draw on the screen.
Of late, we’ve seen the Indian market being flooded with low-cost (sub Rs 20,000) 2-in-1s from the likes of Micromax, iBall and Notion Ink based on Intel reference design concepts. It would be interesting to see if Microsoft will position the Surface to compete with these devices and high-end tablets like the Apple iPad Air 2 or keep it as a high-end niche device.