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While many industry watchers have been speculating that Microsoft will soon be announcing a next-generation follow-up to its Surface Pro and Surface RT line of tablets, it seems that the company isn’t quite finished with the current generation yet. Earlier today, a Surface Pro with a 256 GB solid state hard drive was unveiled and priced at $1199. That brings the count of different Surface Pro models up to three, with the lowest MSRP of all of them being the 64 GB priced at $899. Furthermore, today Microsoft also announced that it would expand the list of distributors and resellers authorized to sell the Surface line of tablets.

According to a post on PCWorld, the 256 GB model of the Pro was recently released in Japan, so it was only a matter of time before the company decided to bring it stateside as well. However, the model will only be sold in limited quantities through its resellers.

Here’s a statement from a Microsoft spokesperson on the news:

“Yes, there will be limited availability of a 256GB version of Surface Pro in the U.S. exclusively through the commercial channel and authorized Surface resellers. We’re excited about the resellers we’ve named in today’s announcement because they are so well equipped and experienced to work with their customers to develop the precise/best solutions for their unique needs.”

It seems somewhat odd that Microsoft would go to all the trouble of getting another version of the Surface Pro out there that only has expanded internal storage, rather than simply including the bigger hard drive with an upgraded version of the device that so many are predicting. Unless, of course, there is no Surface 2 on the way in 2013 after all. It seems doubtful that this would be the case, but at this point, it’s difficult to predict what Microsoft’s doing from day to day.

But no matter what happens with the Surface, at the very least Microsoft’s latest OS, Windows 8, is starting to gain a bit more ground, having finally surpassed Vista in terms of user-adoption. According to TNW, Windows 8 (which is standard on all Surface Pro tablets) has achieved 5.1 percent market share among computer operating systems, beating out Vista’s 4.62 percent—though it’s got a long way to go to top Windows 7’s 44.37 percent.

Will a new model of Surface Pros help Windows 8 become the new OS standard? Only time will tell…

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