Qualcomm at the Computex 2013 trade show in Taipei on Tuesday announced that it has added support for Microsoft’s upcoming Windows RT 8.1 operating system to its high-end Snapdragon 800 processor. The quad-core chip features an integrated multimode 3G/4G LTE modem and supports speeds of up to 2.2GHz per core. The company promises a new wave of tablets, hybrids and notebooks that are “thin and fan-less, and deliver speedy performance with long lasting battery life.” Along with its four asynchronously clocked cores, the Snapdragon 800 chipset includes a new Adreno 330 graphics processor that is capable of supporting 4K resolution playback at 30 frames-per-second. Qualcomm’s press release follows below. More →
Acer doesn’t seem to be able to make up its mind about Microsoft and its new platforms. Top executives from the company have called Windows 8 a flop and bashed Microsoft for its Surface tablet, but at the same time Acer’s president Jim Wong has also defended the operating system. Microsoft is doubling down on its Windows RT platform and is looking to its manufacturing partners to help spur consumer interest with new and affordable devices to compete with low-cost Android tablets. Acer may not be one the companies willing to help Microsoft, however. Acer chairman J.T. Wang said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that Windows RT won’t be “so influential anymore,” and the company is unsure if it will release a new RT tablet. More →
Microsoft’s struggles to make inroads in the tablet market with Windows RT are well documented, but the company still seems to think it can make lemonade out of what has been described as a very large lemon. Unnamed sources tell Bloomberg that Microsoft plans to cut licensing fees for Windows RT in an effort to boost interest in the platform and cut into iOS and Android’s dominant share of the tablet market. Bloomberg notes that Acer, HP and HTC have shied away from Windows RT so far while Samsung hasn’t committed to releasing any further Windows RT products after its first RT tablet fell flat. Wes Miller, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, tells Bloomberg that the company desperately needs more manufacturers producing lower-cost Windows RT devices for the platform to have any kind of future.
Windows RT has for a while been the awkward third wheel of the Windows family and consumers have so far avoided buying devices based on the tablet-centric operating system. Now unnamed sources tell Bloomberg that weak demand has forced HTC to cancel its plans to produce a larger Surface-sized Windows RT tablet, although the company still plans to make a smaller 7-inch Windows RT tablet that it can sell at a lower price. Bloomberg’s sources say that HTC executives got spooked about producing a larger Windows tablet after Microsoft’s own Surface RT tablet posted disappointing sales. Given HTC’s struggles over the past year and given the fact that its Facebook-centric HTC First smartphone already looks like the biggest tech dud of 2013, it’s not surprising that the company is taking a more cautious approach to where it’s investing its resources.
Microsoft has released a second advertisement targeting Apple and its popular iPad this week. The company compares the iPad to an ASUS VivoTab RT, noting that the Windows RT device is slimmer, lighter and can perform more functions than Apple’s tablet. Microsoft highlights Windows RT’s multitasking ability, integration with Office, and convenience with features such as a built-in microSD card reader and compatibility with “nearly all printers.” This is the second advertisement released by Microsoft that targets the iPad, as an earlier video mocked the supposedly inferior voice recognition capabilities of Apple’s Siri voice assistant. Microsoft’s Windows RT commercial follows below. More →
Windows RT has always been something of an oddball in the new Microsoft operating system family. It’s not a pure mobile OS like Windows Phone 8 but at the same time it doesn’t have the full capabilities of Windows 8 and isn’t able to run desktop apps from older Windows platforms. The question has become, then, what exactly is Windows RT good for? The answer that many consumers have given back so far is, “Not a whole lot.” And it’s not just consumers, either: ComputerWorld’s Gregg Keizer spoke with several analysts this week and found that none of them were convinced that Windows RT will be around for much longer unless something fundamentally changes. More →
Despite negative reception and poor sales, Dell remains committed to Microsoft’s Windows RT operating system. The company has confirmed that it plans to release “future generations” of ARM-based tablets that will be lighter and faster than before, IDG News reported. Neil Hand, Dell’s vice president, acknowledged that adoption hasn’t lived up to expectation, although he believes the platform has a good chance to succeed once users become more familiar with the new tile-based interface. More →
Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows RT platform for tablets has not been well received. The media was very critical in early looks at the new operating system, and reviews of Microsoft’s Surface tablet almost unanimously found that the stunning hardware was being held back by mediocre software. Consumer response to products doesn’t always mirror the sentiment of reviewers but in the case of Windows RT, it looks as though the mass market hasn’t shown much interest in Microsoft’s most recent tablet play. More →
With consumers largely ignoring Windows RT so far, Microsoft (MSFT) may be considering cutting licensing fees to make Windows RT tablets cheaper and help them compete with low-cost Android tablets. Topeka Capital analyst Brian White has released a new research note claiming that Microsoft is planning to release a cheaper version of Windows RT that could result in “a 35-40% price reduction” in Windows RT tablets going forward. News that Microsoft plans to push low-cost Windows tablets comes after the company made some changes to its Windows 8 hardware certification guidelines last week that significantly lowered the minimum resolution requirements for devices, thus potentially paving the way for OEMs to make smaller 7-inch tablets.
Microsoft (MSFT) and its manufacturing partners have aggressively pushed the ARM-based Windows RT platform to consumers, however sales have remained flat. According to a report from Digitimes, the company may no longer offer devices under the Windows RT line and will instead merge the operating system into the next version of Windows, code-named Windows Blue. Although Windows RT devices include the same Metro interface as Windows 8, the operating system does not support legacy Windows applications, and also suffers from compatibility issues and a poor selection of apps. These features, or lack thereof, have resulted in confusion among new computer buyers. The latest rumors suggest that Microsoft will announce Windows Blue at its Build developers conference on June 26th in San Francisco.
No recent Microsoft (MSFT) product has been hit with as much criticism as Windows RT over the past few months. Microsoft’s tablet operating system has been called a “lemon” that serves no purpose other than confusing consumers who don’t understand how it’s different from the full Windows 8 operating system. But in an interview with CNET, Microsoft corporate vice president Michael Angiulo said that Windows RT has a “bright future” and that Microsoft was working to make it better every day. In his defense of the OS, however, Angiulo didn’t really respond to a single one of the core criticisms that have been leveled at Windows RT. More →
The signs of doom are all aligned for Windows RT, which looks like it could soon inhibit the same plane of oblivion currently occupied by Microsoft Bob. Ars Technica’s Peter Bright has written a thorough pre-obituary for the current incarnation of Microsoft’s (MSFT) first attempt at creating a tablet-centric operating system, which he calls “a lemon” that consumers are “avoiding… in droves.” Bright lists several reasons for Windows RT’s failure so far, but most of them boil down to the fact that the operating system as it’s currently built has no reason to exist. More →
It seems that the Surface isn’t the only Windows RT tablet that’s proving to be a tough sell. German website MobileGeeks reports that Samsung (005930) will no longer sell its Windows RT-based ATIV Tab in Germany and other European countries due to a lack of demand. In particular, MobileGeeks says that Samsung has found it hard to sell Windows RT tablets to consumers since they don’t pack the full power of Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows 8 operating system and aren’t priced low enough to be compelling alternatives to the iPad. Samsung earlier this year cancelled its plans to sell the ATIV Tab in the United States, so it seems the company is finding it hard to move Windows RT devices in markets outside of Europe as well.