Surface RT, the model that's powered by the Windows 8 variant known as Windows RT, is now listed on back order at the online Microsoft Store. Surface Pro, which runs Windows 8 Professional, isn't listed at all.
The wait times for Surface RT vary by model. The delay for the 32-GB model with included Touch Cover, priced at $599, and the $699, 64-GB model, is one to two weeks, according to the Microsoft Store's website. Shipping for the $499, 32-GB model is listed at "within three weeks."
While it's not known how many units Microsoft made available for presale, the delay may indicate that interest in Windows 8 among consumers is high.
During a quarterly earnings call last week, Microsoft investor relations director Bill Koefoed said Microsoft has posted $780 million in Windows 8 presales, 40% higher than presales for Windows 7 during a comparable period. Windows 7 went on to become the best-selling operating system in Microsoft's history.
[ If you're planning an operating system upgrade, see XP To Windows 8? Why It's Best To Wait. ]
Windows RT devices are expected to be popular with consumers, given price points that are competitive with Apple's iPad and Android tablets. Enterprises are expected to take a pass however, and opt mainly for Windows 8 Pro tablets. Unlike RT tablets, Windows 8 Pro devices can run legacy apps and be joined to Windows Server Active Directory domains.
For people that go the RT route and can't wait until Surface comes off back order, there are other options. As of Monday, Best Buy's website indicated that Asus' VivoTab RT will be available on the same day as Windows 8 itself launches, Oct. 26. The 10.1-inch VivoTab RT features 32 GB of storage, an Nvidia Tegra 3 T30 processor, and a built-in 2-megapixel webcam with microphone. It's priced at $599.
Acer last week introduced a Windows 8 Pro tablet that also will sell for $499 for the basic, 32-GB model. The Acer Iconia W510 features a 10.1-inch HD screen that uses Corning's Gorilla Glass 2, dual cameras, a multitude of peripheral ports, and Intel's new Atom Z2760 "Clover Trail" processor.
A higher-end version of the W510 is priced at $749. It comes with 64 GB of storage and a keyboard dock, which is optional on the less expensive model. Acer said it expects the Iconia W510 to hit U.S. stores on Nov. 9.
Microsoft plans to hold high-profile launch events for Windows 8 on Friday in New York City and other locations around the country.