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Microsoft bigs up Surface Pro to 256GB for Asian markets

It's big in Japan

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Redmond is starting shipments of a 256GB version of its Surface Pro fondleslab to Japanese customers from June 7, according to the local Microsoft website.

Microsoft is not even bothering to push the 64GB model to Japanese consumers and is just selling its current 128GB system and the new supersized version, for ¥99,800 ($986.62) and ¥119,800 ($1184.34) respectively. Touch and Type Pad covers are considered optional extras.

Unlike their counterparts in other markets, the Japanese fondleslabs will come with Windows 8 Pro and Office Home and Business preloaded. Microsoft has also come up with a number of exclusive designs for the locals, and they will be sold from the Microsoft website and from local retailers EDION, K's Denki Group, Bic Camera, Yamada Denki, and Yodobashi Cameras.

"We are excited at the tremendous response to the upcoming Surface Pro availability in Japan," Microsoft told El Reg in a statement. "With regards to future markets and other details, we have nothing to share at this time."

The Japanese are a traditional testing ground for new hardware and the response to a 256GB Surface Pro version will be closely monitored. It's a logical evolution for Surface to go to 256GB, particularly since the 64GB version has proved so irritating for some.

Once the operating system is installed, users of the 64GB version only have 29GB of space to play with, which is a bit frustrating, considering the price of the kit. Buyers seem keener on the 128GB version (although exact sales figures haven't been released) and the 256GB version should prove popular.

How quickly the rest of the buying public will get the 256GB version remains to be seen – Microsoft still hasn’t finished rolling the original product line out across all world markets yet, and no doubt it's watching the price of solid-state drives closely to support a push into roomier tablets.

While the prices for larger drives are still falling, they aren’t going down as fast as many in the industry would like. Getting them in volume at a price that's right could be the most limiting factor in Microsoft's expansion plans.

Sales of the Surface (and its RT cousin) haven't exactly been stellar. The latest analyst data suggests the company has sold just under a million units, carving itself out 1.8 per cent of the market. ®

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