According to a report in TechJungle, pricing information for Acer’s Windows 8 tablet line has been made public. This allows us to further sketch the hardware picture that Windows 8 will enjoy – or not – when it launches.

To the brass tacks: the cheapest Acer tablet, the Acer Iconia Tab W510, a device that does contain some 64 gigabytes of internal storage, will retail for, according to the report, $712 before tax is taken into account. This is not a low price.

Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer recently commented that the ‘sweet spot’ for pricing such devices was “$300 to about $700 or $800,” putting the lowest end Acer device in those bounds, but not by much. This is troubling. To have but the cheapest of its units in the proper price range, and the very upper tier of it at that, gives Acer essentially no leverage.

This news builds off of earlier reports of Asus’ tablet pricing, which ZDNet breathlessly zinged:

I mean seriously. Asus, a mid-range computer vendor, wants $599 for a Nvidia Tegra ARM-powerd Windows RT tablet? The Windows 8 tablet with an Atom processor for $799? Oh, and if you want a keyboard for either one, it will cost you an extra $199!?

Ouch.

What is the upshot to all of this? A $300 Surface RT would storm the burning keep, it would seem. Thus, Microsoft has a wide open hardware opportunity, it would seem, if it wants to take it. In fact, even a $400 Surface device would so undercut the competing Windows 8 machines that we have seen thus far that it would likely make Microsoft the largest Windows tablet OEM overnight.

Ouch.

That means that OEMs long in the Windows hardware game were directly shown up by a software company.

A final thought to all of this: What are they thinking? Tablet pricing is relatively set in the market, with the lower price points staked out, along with the higher end price tiers. Surely Acer and Asus know that they are trending towards the stratosphere of cost to consumer?

Windows 8 will thrive or muddle on the strength of the mobile hardware that runs it. So far, it’s chariot has yet to step forward. Redmond, we are waiting.

Top Image Credit: Kiwi Flickr