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Microsoft is currently testing Windows RT 8.1 Surface tablets with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 processor

Some of Microsoft's Surface tablets will reportedly get an upgrade with Qualcomm chips for faster wireless connections. 

Microsoft's current Surface RT tablets have a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 CPU, and while NVIDIA chips will continue to be used in certain future Surface tablets, many upgraded Surface RT models are expected to receive Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors. 

According to The Verge, Microsoft is currently testing Windows RT 8.1 Surface tablets with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 processor. With Qualcomm chips, the Surface can provide quicker wireless data connections. Many are hoping for integrated LTE support. 

Surface RT could certainly use some love, considering it's had a rough start since its October 2012 release. The device has adopted the reputation of being a half-baked version of the Surface Pro, which features the full Windows 8 operating system (instead of the limited Windows RT) and an Intel Core i5 processor.

Surface sales missed analyst expectations when Bloomberg reported that Microsoft had only sold a little over a million Surface with Windows RT tablets and about 400,000 Surface with Windows Pro tablets back in March. Brent Thill, an analyst at UBS AG, had previously predicted that Microsoft would sell 2 million Surface RT tablets in just the December 2012 quarter.

Hardware makers haven't seen a whole lot of success with RT. Back in April, many computer companies started slashing the prices of their RT-based tablets in hopes of clearing their stock. For instance, at that time, Dell's 32GB XPS 10 tablet with Windows RT launched at $500 last fall and dropped to $450. The XPS 10 was slashed again in May to a starting price of $299.99. ASUS' VivoTab RT was another device to take a cut ($599 at launch, cut to $382 for 32GB on Amazon while Newegg listed it as "discontinued").
Hewlett-Packard (HP) said it currently doesn't have any plans for an RT device. Acer called Windows RT "immature," and said that it is focusing on Windows 8 Pro and Android-based tablets instead. Samsung said it hasn't decided whether it should make a successor to its RT tablet. 

Last week, Microsoft announced that it was giving away 10,000 Surface RT tablets to teachers at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). The idea was to spread RT adoption in schools by supplying teachers with the devices and even training them how to use it. 

Microsoft is also expected to announce its "Microsoft Surface for education limited time offer" this month, which will offer discounted Surface RTs to schools and colleges interested in adopting the tablets.

The offer, which will reportedly run until August 31, 2013, will sell Surface RTs (without keyboards) to schools for only $199. The Surface RT retails for $499. If the schools want a touch keyboard with their Surface RT, the total price is $249 (retail $599). With a type keyboard, the cost is $289 (retail $629). 

Sources: Bloomberg, The Verge

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Dear Microsoft
By BRB29 on 6/19/2013 8:56:34 AM , Rating: 3
If you would just ask customers and actually take their inputs into consideration, then you wouldn't have so many problems with all your new products.

RE: Dear Microsoft
By AMDftw on 6/19/2013 9:00:26 AM , Rating: 3
But that means they would have to take the time to listen...

RE: Dear Microsoft
By Da W on 6/19/2013 11:36:45 AM , Rating: 3
Dear Microsoft.
If you could just fire Steeve Balmer that would help a lot.

RE: Dear Microsoft
By Schadenfroh on 6/19/2013 9:26:11 AM , Rating: 2
Consumers don't know what they want until you force it upon them.

RE: Dear Microsoft
By Gio6518 on 6/19/2013 9:36:35 AM , Rating: 4
Consumers don't know what they want until you force it upon them.

AAAAHHHHHHH ! ! ! Apples approach

RE: Dear Microsoft
By Samus on 6/19/2013 10:29:48 AM , Rating: 2
I just don't understand what market Microsoft thinks they have with a Windows version that lacks compatibility with the Win32 library?

RE: Dear Microsoft
By Motoman on 6/19/2013 10:49:46 AM , Rating: 1
They think they have a compelling product. What they actually have is a flop.

I've stated before that MS probably would have been fine with the RT product if they hadn't called it Windows. Because the biggest problem people have with it is that it's a "Windows" product that doesn't run Windows software.

If MS had called it "Microsoft Tablet" or something like that, it might have had a chance. But it's not Windows...and calling it Windows does nothing but irritate consumers who will no longer consider buying it because apparently you're misrepresenting the product to them.

RE: Dear Microsoft
By theapparition on 6/19/2013 11:50:02 AM , Rating: 2
What MS wants to do is have software makers recompile all of their programs, so they work on both ARM and x86 using the new APIs. Forcing the Win8 start screen instead of the Start menu is part of that. Only programs that have been written under the new code base can show up there.

It's is their way to try to force developers into a new ecosystem. They are trying to model it from Apple, which is successful for them, but bad for most other companies.

Personally, I think it's a bad move. Mobile computing is the future, but desktops will always have a place. MS should concentrate on that, and should be looking to develop the next technology that will replace mobile. As of now, they are just trying too hard to be like Apple.

RE: Dear Microsoft
By w8gaming on 6/19/2013 7:25:24 PM , Rating: 2
However, ARM does not offer a proper desktop mode compatibility, so all existing desktop applications cannot be recompiled for RT. It has to be re-written, from scratch. Even Microsoft themselves are unable to recompile their software suite such as Visual Studio, or MS Project.

RE: Dear Microsoft
By TakinYourPoints on 6/20/2013 3:13:09 AM , Rating: 2
Apple generally has a good idea of what works well and how human beings interact with things. If they didn't then the mass market would have rejected their products years ago.

Microsoft can't get a cohesive and usable package together, bottom line. In hindsight their one real consumer electronics triumph, the XBox 360, feels like a one-time fluke that crumpled the moment J Allard was removed from the company. It has gone down the crapper with each successive UI change, and Windows 8 and Surface aren't much better. Enough pages have been wasted the last week talking about the technology and PR flub that is the XBox One.

I guess the lesson is that if you're going to brute force something then at least be good at making a product. :)

RE: Dear Microsoft
By karimtemple on 6/20/2013 8:04:45 AM , Rating: 2
It has gone down the crapper with each successive UI change
The is the exact opposite of the truth, lol. Right now the 360 UI makes the PS3 UI look like a DVD player. There are precious few software products Microsoft has developed that are better than the Xbox UI, e.g. the Vista/7/8 Windows Media Center.

RE: Dear Microsoft
By retrospooty on 6/20/2013 10:56:23 AM , Rating: 2
I dunno. I dont mind the PS3's "UI" in itself, its the gutwrenchingly slow speed of the UI that bugs me. WTF does it take so long to do anything for, its just a menu system FFS.

RE: Dear Microsoft
By karimtemple on 6/20/2013 11:48:21 AM , Rating: 2
There are a ton of things wrong with the PS3's UI. I could rant hardcore. One of my lingering fears about the PS4 is that we find out they didn't really know how to fix it. I pray to Black Jesus they don't screw this up again.

Also if they don't put a proper web browser on it I'm going to kick a kitten clear across the room.

RE: Dear Microsoft
By retrospooty on 6/20/2013 4:45:59 PM , Rating: 2
LOL... It's not grerat by any means, but I could live with it except for the gutwrenchingly slow speed. That is what makes me want to kick a kitten across the room.

RE: Dear Microsoft
By TakinYourPoints on 6/26/2013 3:48:26 PM , Rating: 2
The 360 UI has gotten worse over the years. I despise the current Metro theme they forced in there, and on top of that it has advertising even if you're a paying Gold member.


RE: Dear Microsoft
By karimtemple on 6/19/2013 9:41:28 AM , Rating: 4
Eeehhhh. Customer input only goes so far. The Secret Sauce is selling customers things they didn't even know they wanted -- the Unknown Need. I guess MS thought they had a handle on it, lol.

Truth is they kind of did, conceptually. The real problem is what was riding on the concept's underbelly: Microsoft's butthurt.

MS is super butthurt about Apple making money on every app. They became dedicated to the idea of a mandatory Microsoft Store and it's breaking the RT framework. They seem to underestimate the importance of the historical semi-openness of Windows, and I think they've forgotten how to play their position.

Having lost sight of their strengths, they're now untethered from their base and venturing into the jungle, where they no longer enjoy some of the advantages they once had and are suddenly just as vulnerable as anyone else.

They still have time to pull back and regroup, but I think they'll instead choose to keep pushing forward into the jungle, and I think they're probably going to get eaten.

RE: Dear Microsoft
By name99 on 6/19/2013 2:56:50 PM , Rating: 2
Truth is they kind of did, conceptually

Uhh, no they did not. Microsoft's grand idea was that the world should use the SAME UI on every computing platform, from a phone to a tablet to a laptop to a desktop. This is a STUPID idea. It does not match reality. The smaller a device gets, the more one is willing to compromise efficiency for the sake of mobility (hence the value of touch) but there is no need to make this tradeoff on larger devices.

MS' basic problem is they have no imagination. They couldn't see that phones needed a different UI back in the Win Phone days, they still can't see it today.
This same lack of imagination leaves them completely unprepared for the future, where computing is becoming ever cheaper and people will routinely own five or ten different computing devices in different form factors.
They not only don't have a tech plan to deal with this (even as Apple moves ever forward on this front) they also don't have a business plan to deal with this --- because no-one is interested in paying $100 Win licenses for every device, in tracking all the Win registration crap, in installing EVERYTHING that a full Win license implies even when most of it makes no sense, etc etc etc.

IF they'd shipped WinRT as is (perhaps named Microsoft SomethingNotWindows), and Win8 as a better Win7 (with the same Win7 model UI) THAT would be "having a handle on it". But the lure of Windows everywhere strikes again, hurting MS one more time.

RE: Dear Microsoft
By karimtemple on 6/19/2013 4:09:10 PM , Rating: 2
The idea is apt, really; almost visionary. The problem wasn't that it's unrealistic, it's that they failed to properly execute. The problem was the design, not the idea. The design doesn't know how to turn off its touchscreen focus, and it too strictly imitates the one-task-showing-at-a-time-ness of the mobile OSes. They should have evolved the window (and taskbar) concept instead of blowing it up and scattering its ashes at sea. They also probably should've kept and evolved Aero Glass.

Keep in mind, Windows 8 (/RT) does not target phones. MS has Windows Phone for phones. You're right though that they tried to unify the UI of the desktop/laptop form factor and the tablet form factor. If you're like them and you expect the Supertablet to prevail -- which if you're smart, you do -- then you'd also try to get out in front of it by developing a unified UI.

It seems kind of silly at this point that so many people like you don't understand the imminent rise of good-enough-power, and that it always takes several years for application segments to outgrow certain performance levels. Once you hit that level at a low cost, it's time to put that segment on pause to move on and come back later, or risk getting caught asleep at the wheel.

Ultimately this means that it's exactly wrong every time someone says "a tablet will never meet the needs of a desktop user." I honestly don't have to lecture you on this, because the hardware is going to speak for itself. It'll start as soon as next year. By 2015 everyone will be talking about how obvious good-enough cheap convertible tablets are, and how silly it is to have random tech all over the place when you could just have a supertablet and a phone, and you'll forget you ever even had this rant of yours.

RE: Dear Microsoft
By name99 on 6/19/2013 5:14:48 PM , Rating: 2
It seems kind of silly at this point that so many people like you don't understand the imminent rise of good-enough-power,

I am not arguing anything about "computer power". I am arguing about user interfaces. Screens are getting cheaper and larger. Trackpads and/or mice remain easier to use for fine manipulation (or chording interaction) than touch. The keyboard remains a more efficient UI for bulk interaction.

You are, in essence, claiming that people will willingly give up the efficiencies of a 30" screen + keyboard + trackpad for a 10" tablet. Why? Already a 30" screen iMac-style system can be bought for under $1000, and that price is only going to fall. Why won't anyone who cares about efficiency own BOTH the tablet and the desktop machine?

The point is NOT that the tablet is powered by ARM and that desktop is powered by an IB system that is 6x as fast in MIPS and 20x in FLOPS. The point is that the tablet utilizes a multitouch UI and the desktop utilizes a classic (large-screen, kbd+pointing device) UI.
It is these two DIFFERENT UIs which allows each to be optimal in its sphere of influence.

RE: Dear Microsoft
By Alexvrb on 6/19/2013 11:11:30 PM , Rating: 2
You are, in essence, claiming that people will willingly give up the efficiencies of a 30" screen + keyboard + trackpad for a 10" tablet. Why?
Actually, they've been abandoning the desktop for laptops for years now, in droves. In fact, traditional laptops are giving way to touchscreen laptops/ultrathins and hybrids. Meanwhile, tablets serve the masses for a large percentage of their computing needs, and rather than a desktop as a fallback, more and more it will be a somewhat larger laptop/hybrid.

Us desktop folk are a dying breed. With further refinements, it is possible to have a UI that will cover the majority for both large screens and small. They're making some of these changes with 8.1, such as the ability to adjust snapped views freely, including desktop. So I wouldn't completely rule out a future more adaptable Modern-type UI being able to cover both, for the vast majority of users. Heck years ago a lot of people felt that a graphical UI was a step back in terms of efficiency. It all worked out in the end. :)

They even still have a command prompt program, and there's always DOSbox. There will always be a way to run what you want, access a traditional desktop view, etc. I just think that we'll see it being fired up less often over time.

RE: Dear Microsoft
By lazybum131 on 6/20/2013 12:47:40 AM , Rating: 2
Why would anything have to be given up at all? The best thing I see about Windows 8 is I can have one device that can be tablet <-> ultraportable <-> desktop and still be perfectly usable in all three use cases.

My ideal tablet would be like the Thinkpad Helix, but with added wireless everything. I'm talking about wireless power, display, sound and input, where I can set it on my desk and everything gets connected wirelessly. If the wireless standards aren't there yet, I'd settle for a docking station like I have with my current 5-year old Dell Latitude laptop.

RE: Dear Microsoft
By karimtemple on 6/20/2013 7:59:47 AM , Rating: 2
Why won't anyone who cares about efficiency own BOTH the tablet and the desktop machine?
Because if the tablet is good enough for both, you can just stick it in a desktop dock that's connected to a 30'' monitor.

RE: Dear Microsoft
By Chadder007 on 6/19/2013 10:29:07 AM , Rating: 2
They actually did that on a large scale with Windows 7.
With Windows 8, they threw everything to the wind.

RE: Dear Microsoft
By retrospooty on 6/19/2013 10:32:11 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly... Vista was extremely poorly received. Win7, they took all that negative feedback and addressed it with a vengeance and everyone loved Win7. Then Win8 - clearly they learned nothing from the experience. LOL

RE: Dear Microsoft
By Motoman on 6/19/2013 10:57:20 AM , Rating: 1
Vista's biggest problem was just driver support at release...and for a few months after. The new driver model really threw a lot of vendors for a loop.

In all honesty, once the drivers were sorted out I don't think there was really anything wrong with Vista. MS just did a terrible job with working with their partners on the driver model.

But the damage was done, and everyone's convinced Vista is just simply a bad product...when it was really the victim of bad coordination, and as a product is fine.

RE: Dear Microsoft
By retrospooty on 6/19/2013 11:12:05 AM , Rating: 2
"But the damage was done, and everyone's convinced Vista is just simply a bad product...when it was really the victim of bad coordination, and as a product is fine."

Exactly... That is why I said it was "poorly received" insstead of a POS. MS mad ealot of mistakes with it and with 7 they took all that crap, all the BS and all the negative comments and truly fixed it. A great product from a consumer, marketing, business, and development point of view. IT really seemed like MS learned something with that process... then blammo, Win8, SurfaceRT, XB-One... WTF is wrong with the monkeys in charge at MS? Og wait... nevermind... Too obvious

RE: Dear Microsoft
By BRB29 on 6/19/2013 11:29:35 AM , Rating: 2
Vista was the pivotal point of change for the 64-bit conversion. Of course it would have driver problems. There were a lot of new implementations that bugged the crap out of people besides drivers. One of them was the cursed security prompts that pops up for everything.

I used Vista 64 Ultimate for a long time. I thought it was an improvement over XP. The one thing I hated was the massive amount of RAM it requires to run without swapping files constantly on the HDD. Win7 fixed that issue along with a few other problems. win7 was more like a refined vista more than anything. Win8 is an unrefined win7.

RE: Dear Microsoft
By retrospooty on 6/19/2013 11:46:03 AM , Rating: 2
"The one thing I hated was the massive amount of RAM it requires to run without swapping files constantly on the HDD"

Yup, that in particular was irritating as hell. You could fix that and the rest if the problems with some tweaks, but those tweaks, all totalled it were way out of the realm of something normal users could do by themselves ,even with instructions. It was just poorly managed by MS from the start. At least Win8 isnt THAT bad LOL. And tha tis my slogan for them... MS Windows 8 " Try it... it's not THAT bad"

RE: Dear Microsoft
By BRB29 on 6/19/2013 12:28:58 PM , Rating: 1
My tweak was easier. Buy 16GB of RAM. Done!

RE: Dear Microsoft
By Rage187 on 6/19/2013 10:44:58 AM , Rating: 2
It is like they have two separate Dev teams and take turns coming out with the next OS. That's why 98 was good, Millennium sucked, XP was good, but Vista sucked, Windows 7 was good but Windows 8 sucked. Every other version blows goats.

RE: Dear Microsoft
By tayb on 6/19/2013 11:00:28 AM , Rating: 2
The only thing really wrong with Surface RT is the requirement that all apps come from the Microsoft store. It's as if they looked at the long and successful history of Windows and decided that the 'Apple way' was superior in this particular instance. They should have stuck with what made Windows successful, freedom. But even this isn't abnormal in the market. Android has a dedicated store (and most users don't know they don't have to go through this store) and Apple has a dedicated store.

Price aside, what do customers actually want that Microsoft isn't delivering with Surface RT?

RE: Dear Microsoft
By gamilonman on 6/19/2013 12:02:10 PM , Rating: 2
They aren't delivering the application library. With RT, MS gives up their historical advantage of largest library of applications in favor of having the weakest library amongst it's main competitors. With it's late start and small instal base, it is fighting an uphill battle to try to close that gap. When customers see Windows, they want Windows. I think RT just pisses people off.

One thing Android and iOS have changed is the price model for operating systems and software. Selling a $200 OS just won't fly for a lot of people when you can buy a tablet with OS and many applications for the same amount. I think the MS strategy should be to embrace a dual interface, keeping tiles for tablets and mobile, but allowing an improved traditional start button for desktop use. Let users choose what works best for them. Keep the MS store as a convenience for mobile and tablet users, but don't pretend Metro apps are what people want on their desktops and don't alienate developers by pushing that model for everything.

The reason for Microsoft's success has always been an open platform, good development tools, and compatibility across a large install base. Do that. I also think MS has missed a large opportunity by promoting Xbox to the exclusion of PC gaming. PC gaming drove a lot of system and OS upgrades in the Win 95 - Win XP era, but MS has done about everything it could to marginalize it. If not for Steam, it would be near dead. If MS were smart, it would have BEEN steam and promoted cross platform play and licensing across PC and Xbox. With games working on console and PC and applications working on phone, PC, tablet, and partially on console, how could Sony and Apple counter? Instead, MS pursued fragmentation and a closed system approach - the opposite of what it proved as the winning approach in the 80's and 90's when it almost killed Apple and PC gaming was king.

And if you thought MS couldn't do anything else wrong, they are now flirting heavily with breaking the other leg of their power, MS Office. I've been a heavy Office user since Office 95, and Office 365 was a huge step backwards for me - the first time I've thought that, including the 2007 interface change. They did something to the performance - probably to achieve run time independence to run on RT - and for a power user, the suite is unbearably slow now. You may not notice if you don't run macros, database access, and large projects, but if you do, it is ugly. To me, that was an area where MS was really unrivaled - are they going to piss that away too?

Damnit MS, I didn't want to go back to the heterogeneous world of the 80's with Commodore, Apple, IBM, Atari, Amiga, TI, Tandy, and the rest. It was an exciting time, but having a single platform was really good for IT, and, I think, for the world. I'm afraid that era is ending.

/end rant.

RE: Dear Microsoft
By ilkhan on 6/19/2013 7:10:41 PM , Rating: 2
What aren't they delivering? Well, they are delivering Metro and aren't delivering windows.

Metro is crap and none of their programs work.

By Shadowmaster625 on 6/20/2013 9:00:52 AM , Rating: 2
Why dont they jsut use temash, and then it doesnt even have to be RT. I must poitn out the fact that this entire product line (and all the associated losses) exists for one reason and one reason only: the greed of Intel. You think microsoft would be whoring itself out to nvidia and qualcomm if intel offered a competitive product at a competitive price?

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