Print 14 comment(s) - last by TakinYourPoint.. on Jan 13 at 10:03 PM

Samsung Windows RT devices may come to the U.S. in the future

Microsoft has been having a difficult time selling its own Surface RT tablet in high volumes. The Surface RT tablet was first Windows RT device on the market and runs a version of the Windows operating system designed specifically for ARM processors. 

Microsoft hardware partner Samsung has announced that it won't be releasing its Windows RT device in the United States. Samsung says that retail partners aren't seeing strong demand for Windows RT tablet and the value proposition for Windows RT isn't clear to consumers. Samsung has also not been forthcoming with its plans for Windows RT devices in markets outside the United States.

Samsung senior vice president Mike Abary told CNET:

There wasn't really a very clear positioning of what Windows RT meant in the marketplace, what it stood for relative to Windows 8, that was being done in an effective manner to the consumer. When we did some tests and studies on how we could go to market with a Windows RT device, we determined there was a lot of heavy lifting we still needed to do to educate the customer on what Windows RT was. And that heavy lifting was going to require pretty heavy investment. When we added those two things up, the investments necessary to educate the consumer on the difference between RT and Windows 8, plus the modest feedback that we got regarding how successful could this be at retail from our retail partners, we decided maybe we ought to wait.

Abary also noted that one of the big selling points for Windows RT devices was that the devices should be less expensive than those running Windows 8. "We didn't necessarily attain the price point that we hoped to attain," Abary said. "It's not an issue on Microsoft's side. It's more an issue of how the product was built and some of the tradeoffs we had to incorporate in it."

Abary did leave the door open for Samsung Windows RT devices to come to the US in the future. He added, "We want to see how the market develops for RT. It's not something we're shelving permanently. It's still a viable option for us in the future, but now might not be the right time."

Source: CNET

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What does this really mean?
By Varun on 1/11/2013 11:37:22 AM , Rating: 2
I'm going to argue (because it's the web and I can say whatever I want!) that a big part of this, is the lack of any real reason for the RT tablets at all. Intel has positioned the Clovertrail devices in such a way, that there is basically no room left for the ARM tablets. Clovertrail's performance is as good or better than the ARM ones (depending on A15 vs A9 vs Krait) and gets as good battery life.

Full Windows, full backwards compatibility, and as good or better performance.

I think a Tegra 4 tablet will be OK, but by the time they come out, the new Atom might be around.

I'm not sure it was worth the effort to port Windows to ARM. The performance just isn't there. ARM is basically now just keeping Intel's pricing in check.

RE: What does this really mean?
By Mint on 1/11/2013 11:47:33 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure it was worth the effort to port Windows to ARM. The performance just isn't there. ARM is basically now just keeping Intel's pricing in check.
Precisely. It's just a backup plan in case ARM did have tangible benefits, whether through real innovation or Intel's foot-dragging to protect higher margin products. It was never in MS's long term plans.

I don't think much effort was needed, though. They already had the ARM kernel for WP8, and it's the same UI and API from Win8. Pretty minimal marginal investment, AFAICS.

By BugblatterIII on 1/11/2013 2:36:34 PM , Rating: 2
It got Intel to pull its finger out; I reckon Intel's given mobile a lot more resources since MS produced an ARM version of Windows.

RE: What does this really mean?
By tayb on 1/11/2013 4:00:26 PM , Rating: 2
It was worth the effort because it helped Intel realize they should stop dragging their lazy asses when it comes to power management.

It's also still substantially cheaper to go with ARM than it is with Intel. You aren't going to find a $500 Windows 8 tablet that isn't garbage. The Intel chip and licensing of Windows 8 doesn't leave any room for profit.

RE: What does this really mean?
By Varun on 1/11/2013 8:41:17 PM , Rating: 2
That's not true. Dell just released a Clovertrail Windows 8 tablet for $499. It's actually pretty nice. If the Surface was Intel rather than Tegra 3, I'd have one. If the Surface was $399 I'd also have one.

If it's so much cheaper to go ARM (which I would argue is untrue anyway) then why aren't the ARM tablets costing less?

RE: What does this really mean?
By Alexvrb on 1/13/2013 1:33:28 PM , Rating: 2
They do cost a bit less. The pricing on the Dell Win8 tablet is being misreported/bogus or it's a rather early price drop that hasn't hit yet. I'm betting on the former. Anyone can go to the Dell website and see the pricing. The XPS 10 (Windows RT) is $499. The Latitude Windows 8 tablet is $599. The build quality of the Surface is better too. The VaporMg body (and awesome built-in stand), for example, is much nicer and sturdier than any polycarbonate casing Dell uses.

It also is superior to the Atom Z2760 for games. I'm not a big fan of Tegra 3, but, it still pounds the crap out of this Atom for games. Run some of the more graphic-intensive games on any of the Tegra 3 WinRT tablets. Compared to the Atom they will look better or run faster, or both. Intel purposely (for power, thermal, reasons?) uses an older single core PowerVR design, although they clock it high. Even as outdated as Tegra 3 is, for a consumer "content consumption" WinRT device, the Tegra does pretty decent when games are involved.

I will say that I'm stunned that the non-Microsoft cheaper designs haven't hit the $400 price point yet. Especially Asus, I figured they'd be selling a dock-free variant for $400 by now.

By TakinYourPoints on 1/11/2013 6:10:24 PM , Rating: 2
I think you're right. A big reason RT isn't selling well is because the machines cost as much as or more than low cost laptops or netbooks did, except that they aren't running Windows. Consumers in that low end aren't going to compromise things like a keyboard and larger screen (poor as they may be at that price) for a tablet.

This is despite the fact that products like the Surface are actually well made. All people in that market see is the price. Samsung is smart holding back and waiting for things to settle.

MS screwed up WIndows RT
By tayb on 1/11/2013 4:15:45 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft dropped the ball on Windows RT...

- Why call it Windows RT? It's not really Windows, most techie people think "Windows RunTime" when they hear RT, and the vast majority of the public has no clue what RT is. Was "Windows Tablet" too descriptive and not confusing enough?

- Why include the desktop? Office could have easily been a Modern UI app (previously known as Metro) and it's essentially the only reason anyone would ever venture to the desktop. It's confusing. You get to the desktop... and your two best options are to leave the desktop or run Office. Why even include it?

- Epic fail on marketing and user education. A lot of people here on AT/DT still have fundamentally false information about Windows 8 and Windows RT. I can't imagine what is going on with the general public. This is a horrible failure by Microsoft.

- Failure to deliver with reasonable app support. No excuses here. If developers aren't interested in the platform reach into the treasure chest and convince them. Hint: A good way to entice developers isn't to offer to scoop a percentage of their profits. Ridiculous.

- Failure to work with hardware partners. Windows RT should have launched with dozens of tablets. Didn't happen.

RE: MS screwed up WIndows RT
By lotharamious on 1/13/2013 10:18:26 AM , Rating: 2
There's no question I've been a believer in Windows 8 since the DP in Sept 2011.

But this post is spot on. Microsoft failed miserably with everything else besides the actual OS bits.

From what I've been reading about Steven Sinofsky's departure, I believe he is very responsible for at least a part of this failure. He wanted to lock down even more of the OS than what is currently available.

For example, it was his decision to originally (later revoked) not release free tools to create desktop programs. The plan was to only release tools for Metro, and you'd have to pay to create desktop programs.

^^^ You better believe that if this even made the light of day, the internal politics were even more ridiculous.

To Julie Larson-Green: Please, oh please, bring some balance back to the force. I believe in the vision, but the execution has been beyond embarrassing and incredibly stupid thus far.

RE: MS screwed up WIndows RT
By TakinYourPoints on 1/13/2013 9:59:12 PM , Rating: 2
Nailed almost every single one of these points, so spot on. The only one I disagree with is taking a percentage of developer profits, that is standard for every single centralized "store" out there. It is an offset to Microsoft hosting and serving content on a centralized platform that put the big guy and the small indie on a much more level playing field than had existed before.

Microsoft's profit taking is actually the lowest out there. Amazon and Apple take a standard 30% cut while Valve's cut on Steam ranges anywhere from 30% all the way up to 70%. Meanwhile Microsoft's is at around 25%, not bad at all.

By TakinYourPoints on 1/13/2013 10:03:34 PM , Rating: 2
Just double checked and the terms of profit splitting changed since I last looked.

It is 30% up until an app hit $25k in sales, then it goes down to a 20% cut. Its a very good deal either way.

The thing that will get more developers on board isn't eliminating Microsoft's cut, it is getting more customers. iOS is the biggest app store out there, and it is all because it has lots of paying customers on it. Valve's cut on Steam is even more aggressive, maybe one of the most aggressive out there, and yet it is the #1 digital storefront for games because it is a good service that has 50 million accounts on it.

The Microsoft Store needs more customers, then the developers will follow.

By kleinma on 1/11/2013 10:50:20 AM , Rating: 3
Samsung makes quality hardware. I would much rather see them put their efforts into making an x86 based device. I am primarily a Microsoft Windows user, although I have iOS and Android devices as well, but when I want Windows, I want x86 Windows, not ARM Windows.

RE: personally
By Obujuwami on 1/11/2013 11:07:17 AM , Rating: 2
I know for a fact many IT departments would also like to see other competitors in the x86 and would prefer an x64 solution.

Microsofts bad marketing
By Ammohunt on 1/11/2013 4:36:33 PM , Rating: 2
If their tablet was marketed in the form of a relationship with Windows Phone e.g in goggle land Nexus 7/10 for tablet nexus 4 for phone. I think it would have done much better even though from what i understand windows RT and windows phone are different OS's it still would have made better sense to the consumer.

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