While we still don't have official pricing information from Microsoft regarding its highly anticipated Surface tablet, CEO Steve Balmer recently dropped a big hint in an interview with the Seattle Times. While comparing the tablet to the existing market of PCs and tablets, Balmer speculated that Surface would cost between $300 and $800 depending on the model/configurations.

On the low-end, that would make the 10" Surface $200 cheaper than the entry-level iPad and the same price as the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD (the largest model). Though Surface is comparatively affordable, Balmer said Microsoft was never interested in making a cheap knockoff of the iPad. Instead, he said Surface was designed as a premium full-featured computing device unlike light, media-consumption tablets like the iPad and Kindle.

"I think most people would tell you that the iPad is not a super-expensive device. ... (When) people offer cheaper, they do less. They look less good, they're chintzier, they're cheaper," he said.

"If you say to somebody, would you use one of the 7-inch tablets, would somebody ever use a Kindle to do their homework? The answer is no; you never would. It's just not a good enough product. It doesn't mean you might not read a book on it...."

Surface is expected to launch October 26 with Windows 8.

[Seattle Times via BGR]