Microsoft now offers 256GB Surface Pro outside of Japan, but can you buy it? [update]
Microsoft released the 256 GB Surface Pro in Japan almost a month ago and, since then, it left potential buyers puzzled as to when the new model arrives outside of the land of the rising sun. Well, the date is today, as Microsoft just expanded the availability of the latest Surface Pro version to include new major markets. There's a catch though.
Microsoft tells me that "there will be limited availability of a 256GB version of Surface Pro in the U.S. exclusively through the commercial channel and the authorized Surface resellers". This model runs for $1,199, making it $200 more expensive than the 128 GB Surface Pro which goes for $999. And, at least at the moment, the former cannot be purchased from Microsoft Store or any retail shop.
Upon perusing the Surface for Business website, it appears that the 256 GB Surface Pro is also available in Canada (CAD1,199), China (price is not listed), France (EUR985.79), Germany (EUR990.76), Hong Kong (HK$7,888) and UK (₤799.17). The listed prices do not include any local taxes such as VAT (Value Added Tax).
I have also asked Microsoft whether the 256 GB Surface Pro, that is sold outside of Japan, includes Office Home and Business 2013, and will update this post accordingly.
Edit: Following my inquiry, here is the response received from Microsoft:
So, Japan SKU is largely different because it's broadly available at retail. This is a unique SKU available only to distributors and resellers as we described in our news today. We're excited about the resellers we've named in today's announcement because they are so well equipped and experienced to work with their customers to develop the precise/best solutions for their unique needs.
The resellers that are part of this initial phase of commercial expansion for Surface are great at working with their customers to develop unique solutions to meet their unique needs. Beyond that we're not discussing details/specifics.
The 256 GB Surface Pro comes with: 64-bit Windows 8 Pro; 10.6-inch ClearType multitouch display with a resolution of 1920 by 1080; third generation Intel Core i5 processor; Intel HD Graphics 4000 GPU (Graphics Processing Unit); 4 GB of RAM; 42 Wh battery; 256 GB of internal storage; 720p cameras on the front and rear; USB 3.0 port; microSDXC card slot; Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/n; Bluetooth 4.0 and pressure-sensitive stylus. The slate comes in at 275 x 173 x 14 mm and 907 grams.