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Microsoft’s tablet computer finally coming to Japan in search of sales

by Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writer

Microsoft Corp.’s first-ever tablet computer will hit the Japanese market in two weeks, the company said Friday, hoping to break the iPad’s domination.

Five months after its debut in several other countries, Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet will reach store shelves here March 15, Microsoft Japan President Yasuyuki Higuchi announced during a media event in Tokyo.

“Finally, the Surface RT will debut in Japan . . . many customers and our partners have asked me when the Surface RT will come in Japan,” Higuchi said.

Running on the Windows RT operating system, a tablet-friendly version of Windows 8, the 10.6-inch Surface RT weighs 675 grams. It has a Tegra 3 processor with 2 gigabytes of ram and a battery that lasts about eight hours.

Models will have either 32 or 64 gigabytes of storage and will be priced at ¥49,800 and ¥57,800, the firm said.

One of the advantages of the Surface compared with its competitors is that people can use it like a notebook when a thin keyboard cover is attached, according to Higuchi.

In general, tablet devices are handy for browsing the Internet and casually watching movies, but they are not necessarily great work tools for tasks like writing and making spreadsheets.

Higuchi said about half the people who have purchased non-Windows 8-based tablets have been disappointed by what they can do with their devices, but the Surface RT will be different.

Users can choose to buy the Microsoft tablet and the keyboard cover separately.

Despite the company’s high hopes, it is unclear how Japanese consumers will welcome the device.

The Surface RT has struggled in the countries where it debuted in October.

According to IDC, a U.S.-based IT research and consulting firm, the fourth quarter of 2012 saw the Surface RT account for only about 900,000 of the 52.5 million tablet shipments worldwide.

The Apple iPad meanwhile topped the chart with 22.9 million, and Samsung Electronics Co. followed with 7.9 million.

The Surface RT has not been well received because it’s bigger than other tablets despite the market trend for smaller sizes with lower prices, IDC said in a report Jan. 31.

  • 秋中 赳

    Too bad that Windows 8 is just horrible. It’s a pattern. 98 and 2k were good, ME was awful, XP was great, Vista was awful, 7 is a highly polished and well working product, 8 is the weird cousin nobody will ever talk about.

    Hopefully 9 will be better.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jasontanwl Tan Wei Lin Jason

      I often question why Microsoft like to force User interface changes onto people. While I believe that Windows 8 is good for tablet, it is close to pointless for Windows 8 UI to be used in desktop environment. It is nice and cool but I doubt there is any benefit in efficiency.