Microsoft says its first tablet computer, the Surface , will start at $499 when it goes on sale October 26.
The price matches that of Apple Inc.'s iPad , the most popular tablet computer, but the base model of the Surface has twice as much storage memory: 32 gigabytes.
The signature hardware feature of the tablet, a cover that doubles as a keyboard, will cost another $100.
The launch of the Surface is an unusual move for Microsoft, which usually sells software to computer makers instead of making computers itself. It coincides with the launch of Windows 8, a version of the operating system that's designed to work better on touch-screen computers and tablets.
The first version of the Surface doesn't have a regular Intel-style PC processor and won't run PC software.