Microsoft is handing retailers access to its Surface device earlier than it previously indicated and says it has ramped up production for its tablet.
The software giant announced last night that third-party retailers in the US and Australia would be given the chance to punt the ARM-based version of Surface running Windows RT as soon as the middle of this month.
Since it was launched in October, the slab has only been available directly from Microsoft, either through its website or its own stores.
Although Microsoft was tight-lipped on UK plans, it said additional availability will be added in "a number of countries in the coming months".
Steve Schueler, corporate vice president of Microsoft Retail sales and marketing, said: "Our plan has been to expand the retail presence for Surface after the first of the year. Based on interest from retailers, we are giving them the option to carry Surface with Windows RT even earlier."
Microsoft did not specify which US and Australian retailers would be the first to get their hands on the devices, although Staples has revealed on its website that it will stock the Surface from today.
Microsoft has played its cards close to its chest on Surface sales so far, although a report from DigiTimes last week claimed the vendor has been forced to halve the number of devices it will build by year-end to two million, in response to poor demand.
However, Microsoft Surface general manager Panos Panay said the public reaction to Surface had been "exciting to see".
"We have increased production and are expanding the ways in which customers can interact with, experience and purchase Surface," he added.
The software giant also said it is extending all its Microsoft holiday stores in the US and Canada into permanent outlets, based on their success.
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