Windows 8 won’t be released until the end of the month, but a major retailer has prematurely showcased devices featuring the upcoming software. On Sunday, the Home Shopping Network advertised five new Windows 8 computers for the first time, three of which are being manufactured by Gateway, and two coming from Acer.
The cable shopping channel’s website offered a special on two Gateway notebook PCs that come with Windows 8 preinstalled. A customer service representative initially confirmed on Sunday that all five PCs are in stock and will be shipped immediately, according to ZDNet who first reported these Windows 8 offers.
HSN’s page for the Gateway computers says that customers should expect delivery within 12 days of their order date.
However, a later report from The Verge said the Windows 8 devices are on “extended delivery.” Microsoft and Acer requested that HSN take the products off their website until the Oct. 26 embargo has been lifted, but all five PCs appeared on the HSN website as of Monday morning. The computer listings weren’t removed until shortly past noon on Monday.
“Unfortunately, HSN made this offer without the support or authorization of Microsoft,” a Microsoft spokesperson told ZDNet. “Microsoft and all major retailers are getting ready for general availability of Windows 8 devices on 10//26 and not prior to that date. Once Microsoft learned of the HSN promotion, we contacted them and asked that they discontinue the on-air and online since it is not yet 10/26, the date that marks the official availability of Windows 8.”
The product page on HSN revealed the prices for these Windows 8 computers, which are as follows:
Gateway Windows 8 Core i5 4GB RAM 500GB HDD Laptop Computer: $699.96-$749.95.
Gateway 15.6’’ LED-Backlit LCD, Windows 8, Core i3, 4GB RAM 500GB HDD Laptop: $699.95
Acer 15.6’’ Touchscreen LCD, Windows 8, Core i5, 8GB RAM 750GB HDD Laptop Computer: $999.95
Acer 23’’ LCD, Windows 8, Core i5, 6GB RAM, 1TB HDD All-in-one Desktop PC: $999.95
Gateway 23’’ Touchscreen LCD, Windows 8, Core i5, 6GB RAM, 1TB HDD All-in-one Desktop PC: $1199.95
The Gateway laptop’s price range nearly lines up with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s ideal cost for tablets on the market. In an interview with The Seattle Times last month, he said that the “sweet spot” for competing slates is between $300 and $800, leading to speculation that the company’s Surface tablet would land in this gap.
A closer look at these PCs also proves that these machines were made for Windows 8—the new software’s logo is clearly seen on the i5-powered Gateway notebook’s keyboard. The Gateway all-in-one desktop also sports a sticker of the logo on the PC itself.
HSN appears to be the only retailer to have offered Windows 8 computers ahead of their announcement. Online competitors such as Amazon, Best Buy, Newegg, Staples, Target and Wal-Mart have not revealed any Windows 8 products at this time.
These early product listings from HSN contribute to mounting anticipation and curiosity surrounding Windows 8, as Microsoft prepares for its Oct. 25 media event in New York City where it will introduce the world to the new OS. The software giant is also expected to reveal the prices and additional release information for its forthcoming products, such as its Surface tablet and Windows Phone 8 devices.
Windows fans will be able to get their hands on the Surface tablet right away, as the company’s pop-up holiday stores and traditional retail locations will begin selling Microsoft’s first self-branded tablet at midnight on Oct. 26.