Microsoft's upcoming Surface tablet, the company's first foray into the tablet hardware market, will cost $499 for its entry-level model price -- the same as a new Apple iPad -- Microsoft finally announced on Tuesday.
Online pre-orders begin at 12 noon Eastern on Tuesday, with a physical retail debut on October 26 in Microsoft Stores in the U.S. and Canada. Surface is also going to be sold in Australia, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom.
The $499 Microsoft Surface tablet has 32 GB of onboard memory and ships without the "Touch Cover," Microsoft's slim keyboard/screen cover. A 32 GB version with a Touch Cover included will cost $599, while a 64GB version comes with Touch Cover for $699. All three are 10 inches long and will ship with Windows RT, the tablet-specific version of Windows 8. All three versions are WiFi only.
Microsoft earlier said a Surface "Pro" version running a full desktop computer version of Windows 8 will be available later in 2013.
Five colored Touch Covers will be available as separate accessories for $119 a piece. Microsoft also release the following video showing the "making of" Surface: