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Microsoft Surface RT tablets head to John Lewis

As part of Microsoft's production increase and third-party retail availability plans for its Surface RT tablets, the company has confirmed that retail giant John Lewis is to become the first high-street store to stock the devices.

The tablets, which use an ARM processor to run a cut-down version of Windows 8 dubbed Windows RT and have the ability to use a clever 'Touch Cover' which doubles as a keyboard to turn the devices into a netbook-like form factor, are Microsoft's attempt to cut into a market dominated by Apple's iPad and numerous Android tablets. Sadly for Microsoft, initial sales have been reportedly slower than expected, while production issues with the Touch Cover have hurt consumer confidence.

The company remains certain that buyers will opt for a Surface RT over the similarly-priced iPad if they only try one for themselves, however, and is partnering with high-street retailers to give buyers a chance to try the device out in-store before they part with their cash. As the first partner in the UK, following similar deals with Best Buy and Staples in the US, John Lewis will start stocking the devices for trial and purchase from today.

It's likely to be followed by its competitors, as companies rush to stock the device ahead of hopes it could prove a big seller in the final days leading to Christmas. Whether any plan to offer discounts over Microsoft's surprisingly high recommended retail price is, sadly, not yet known.

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