Originally Posted by tubemonkey
Why did Microsoft skimp on the display? It's only 148 ppi.
Truth? Making the price-point without selling at cost.
(They swore Surface would not unfairly undercut the OEMs, after all.)
The choice was probably between a cheap fullHD screen and a quality WSXGA screen and they went with the latter. For productivity uses, that is just fine. It is in the mediapad functions that the resolution difference will most be felt and, realistically, that is *not* the target customer base for Windows RT. (Remember, Job one is: "Keep iPad out of the corporate market." Job Two: "Appeal to personal-productivity users". Job Three falls mostly to Win8Pro tablets: "If any tablet is going to replace a PC, that Tablet will be running Windows".)
Appealing to the mediapad "video and gaming and maybe some ebooks" users is more of a target of opportunity. For now. Right now it is in Microsoft's best interest to have Apple and Google have it out as fiercely as possible, each undercutting the other, for at least another year. By then the Win8 Appstore will be fully stocked and the install base and the OEMs will be ready for the lower cost devices.
MS is walking a tightrope with Surface.
They can't make it *too* competitive or they'll squeeze the OEMs out. But they do have to make the price competitive or consumers won't show up. They need to grow the install base without killing the OEMs profitability.
Surface Tablets exist both to showcase Win8 and to prod the OEMs into doing better products at better prices, not shut them out. Not yet.
So far it looks like ASUS, HP, Sony, and Lenovo got the message and ACER didn't. Samsung... probably...
At this stage of the Win8Tab game MS isn't pushing for rock bottom prices; they're merely pushing for not-insane pricing. Now, if in a year the OEM-friendly strategy isn't working, the gloves will come off. The future of Windows is more important than any single OEM or all of them combined. Worst case scenario, MS buys Dell or HP and goes full bore in-house.
But that is the worst-case; best case is the OEMs start adding real value to the tablet space. (Like Sony's 20in tablet/desktop.