The tablet landscape is about to get more interesting with the expected announcement of the iPad mini and the arrival of Microsoft’s Surface tablet in the coming weeks. We haven’t heard of the Surface’s price ever since it was unveiled back in July, though good old Steve Ballmer was quick to quash any hope of seeing it being priced to move.

Thanks to several retailers listing of the new Asus-made Windows RT tablet, we now get a better idea of just how much the “budget” line of tablets will be offered for. We say “budget” relative to the premium Intel-powered Windows 8 tablets.

The Asus Vivo RT tablet is now up on Staples, Futureshop, and other online retailers, and the first of the company’s Microsoft-flavored tablets can be pre-ordered for $599. The tablet boasts a 10.1 Super IPS HD display at 1,366 x 768 resolution, NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 32GB storage, microSD support, 8MP rear camera, 2MP front cam, WiFi b/g/n, HDMI output, and Bluetooth 4.0.

The price, naturally, doesn’t include the keyboard dock, which costs an extra $170 – at least from Staples.

With such pricing point, it’s apparent that Microsoft is not interested in pitting the Windows RT tablet against the likes of Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD. The Asus Vivo Tab is also pricier than the latest iPad, which starts at $499. Shipments for the Asus Vivo Tab RT begins at the end of the month.

Read comments