Though Microsoft has yet to announce the pricing for its Surface tablet, one analyst is tipping the cost of the RT version between $400-$500 and the Pro between $799-$899.
“Microsoft has been very tight-lipped about the price of its Microsoft Surface range of tablets,” independent analyst Sameer Singh wrote in a blog post.
Singh was apparently tired of waiting and decided to come up with his own estimate, based on former bill of materials (BOM) calculations for devices like the Kindle Fire, Nexus 7, and iPad.
For the RT version of the Surface, Singh’s breakdown lined up all of the components, including the display ($66.95), touch screen ($43.71), processor ($21), camera ($4.10), and battery ($25.74), for a total of $298.82. Add a $10 manufacturing cost, which bumps the direct costs to $308.82.
“Microsoft would be under considerable pressure to ensure that the Surface is priced in the same ballpark as tablets from OEM partners,” Singh said. “Unfortunately, OEMs are also at a cost disadvantage,” he said, since the companies need to pay Microsoft a $50-$65 licensing fee per Windows RT device.
“OEMs could cut some of the costs mentioned in the BOM above to boost margins (for example, they could use a cheaper casing), but Microsoft’s hardware requirements could make steep cuts a challenge,” he wrote. “Including the license fee, I expect the BOM of most Windows RT tablets to fall within the $300-$350 range.”
As a result, the RT Surface will likely launch at the $399-$499 price point, with 25-35 percent gross margin for Microsoft, Singh said.
The Pro version, meanwhile, will likely retail for a much higher price — $799-$899, Singh said, with a similar gross margin of 25 to 30 percent. Based on the RT costs, the analyst estimated another $321.35 in BOM components for the Surface Pro. The primary culprit of the price increase: the $204 Intel Core i5 processor.
A Microsoft spokeswoman said in an email that the company does not comment on rumors or speculation.
Last week there was a report that Microsoft is developing its own Windows Phone 8-powered smartphone, though Nokia chief Stephen Elop – a key Microsoft partner – was skeptical.
The Surface tablet will be released around the time Windows 8 becomes generally available on Oct. 26.