Just about everybody with an eye on the tablet market was doing a double-take this week at the news that a Swedish retail site was listing Microsoft's upcoming ARM-powered, 32GB Surface tablet at a starting price just under £650 - more than £200 pricier than Apple's market-leading 32GB iPad with a Wi-Fi-only configuration.
Smaller tablets than the 10.6-inch Surface running Google's Android OS like the Nexus 7, start even further below that head-scratching price tag, though they have less on-board storage.
"It's baffling. If it's true, what are they thinking?" wondered Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. "When you have something like one per cent of the tablet market, you don't break into it with [such an expensive] product."
Spotted by WP Central, the listing on Webhallen.com (still live as of Thursday afternoon) appears to be a landing page for pre-ordering the Microsoft-built Surface, which the company unveiled a month ago in Los Angeles.
The Surface is expected to launch with the official release of Windows 8 on 26 October, the date Microsoft has officially set for the coming out party for its next-generation operating system.
There are four Surface models listed on Webhallen.com, starting with the 32GB Windows RT model priced at 6,990 Swedish krona, or about £650 going by currency exchange rates. The site also lists the 64GB Windows RT Surface at 9,900 krona, the 64GB Windows Pro Surface at 12,990 krona, and the 128GB Windows Pro Surface at 14,990 krona. That's roughly £917, £1,200, and £1,389, respectively.
Either Sweden has a massive, WTO-spiting import tariff we don't know about, or there's something really weird about these prices. Or at least Microsoft had better hope so, because more than a few people are ready to proclaim the Surface dead-on-arrival if it's legitimately being priced this way.
So far, Microsoft has been quiet on the subject.
There are a few tidbits to be gleaned from the specs listed for the Surface on the Webhallen.com pre-order page. The Windows RT models are listed as using an Nvidia Tegra processor, so there's that. They also appear to be Wi-Fi-only, so you really won't be getting much for the cash you'll fork over for the ARM-powered Surface, if the prices are at all accurate.
But there's another funny little detail in the tech specs. The 32GB Windows RT Surface is listed as having a "Hard drive - 632 GB" instead of "32 GB". Remember that the price tag for that model is 6,990 krona - could it be that Webhallen.com's data entry keyboard has a wonky "6" key? If the Surface really starts at 990 krona, or £92, we take everything bad we just about Microsoft back.