Microsoft’s Surface Pro, the tablet/laptop amalgam device designed to perfectly showcase Windows 8, is getting a 256 SSD internal storage option, the biggest yet for the device. Previously, Microsoft has shipped the Surface Pro with either a 64GB or 128GB internal drive, but when it arrives in Japan June 7, it’ll come in 128GB and for the first time, 256GB flavors (via Engadget).
The 128GB model will retail for just about $1,175 U.S. in Japan, or just under $200 more than the 128GB version’s current retail price. The beefier version should help address some of the criticism levied at the Surface Pro for actually reserving a big chunk of on-board storage for OS components, which was particularly harmful in the 64GB capacity.
A 256GB option not only makes the Surface Pro more generally useful, it also gives Microsoft another way to compete with devices that consumers might look to instead, like the iPad, which introduced a high-capacity 128GB version shortly after the Surface Pro’s launch, and the MacBook Air, which offers up to 512GB of storage through customization options.
The Surface Pro spec bump will likely make its way to the U.S. and other markets eventually, as it seems like something that Microsoft could use to boost interest in its Windows 8 flagship slate. But there are also rumors of an entirely new Surface to ship in June, with a possible introduction at Build. I’d say it’s more likely we’ll see this spec bump touted at that conference, as the first-gen Surface is barely out of the oven as it is.
The Surface Pro reportedly hasn’t been selling at that well, with figures from March showing it hadn’t even broken 500,000 devices shipped at that point, based on sources close to Microsoft’s supply chain. That’s obviously not good by really any relative measure, so it wasn’t entirely clear that Microsoft would do much with the line in the future. This new storage option is proof that for now at least, Microsoft is still investing resources in the Surface Pro, even if it isn’t on the verge of releasing all-new hardware under the brand.