HP is a major desktop and notebook manfuacturer and they’ve always been known for making most of their products based on Intel hardware running Microsoft’s Windows operating systems. The next big thing for them obviously has to be the launch of their own Windows 8 devices. The first thing that comes to mind is the Windows 8 tablets. One would assume that HP would bring out both, tablets running Windows 8 Pro as well as the ARM version, a Windows RT tablet. But, it looks like that might not go as per plan. According to a news by Bloomberg, HP has decided to scrap plans of launching an ARM tablet running Windows RT at least in the initial phases. This might have something to do Microsoft’s move of introducing their own Surface line of tablets. HP, however, will continue to make tablets based on x86 hardware running Windows 8 as expected.
Plans for Windows RT tablets pushed back
Microsoft has a bunch of partners who are developing hardware for use with Windows RT, just as they are making Windows 8-based Ultrabooks and Windows 8 tablets. These partners were hoping to launch their new Windows RT tablets into the market, but Microsoft spoiled the party by launching their own tablets alongside them. Microsoft enjoys a good brand presence and customers are likely to end up purchasing Microsoft’s own Windows 8 tablets, instead of from a separate vendor.
Microsoft is said to charge vendors some $85 – $90 for a copy of Windows RT on the tablet, that’s somewhere around the Rs. 4,800 mark. Considering vendors are paying a large chunk of their budget, per tablet to Microsoft, it’s bound to have raised some level of irritation among them. In fact, AllThingsD was speaking with Steve Ballmer about the reaction of his partners when it comes to their launch. He said that their PC vendors were well aware of this upcoming announcement, but he didn’t want to comment on what their reaction to the news was.
HP has been a close partner to Microsoft and the move not to go ahead with Windows RT for now, shows the weakened relation. Marlene Somsak, a spokesperson for HP said that the first tablets would be directed towards business customers. She said that the x86 hardware and software was robust and it provided the best customer experience as of now, and for the near future.
Microsoft’s Windows 8 made its first appearance with its redesigned Metro user interface and it was instantly approved to be apt for tablets, rather than for desktops by many experts. The Metro UI appears to be completely touch-friendly. The company also puts forth its tablet strategy by introducing the Windows RT (Windows 8 for ARM). Those who thought that with this strategy Microsoft will also change its pricing model for OEMs, will be disappointed, as Microsoft doesn’t plan to do so.
This means, we may see expensive Windows RT tablets. Some analysts had earlier predicted low-priced tablets for Microsoft, as it is up against Apple's iPad iOS and the Android OS, which is free and running on multiple manufacturer tablets. So, while it may not compete with the affordable tablet market, it would have to face that market segment, wherein the iPad has been reigning from the time the original iPad was conceived. It is also speculated that Android and Windows RT devices with the same specs may have a huge price difference.
Probably, there may not be much scope for a sub $500 (approx. Rs. 27,845) Windows RT tablet. Further, these tablets are likely to be priced around $549-$799 (approx. Rs. 30,569 to Rs. 44,490), clearly stating that it won’t be an affordable product, like many Android tablets. Manufacturers who were hoping to craft affordable Windows RT tablets powered by ARM processors may now struggle to do so, if the operating system costs around $85. The Windows RT is also expected to come with the Metro versions of the Microsoft Office apps. However, this isn’t confirmed yet.
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