HP bails on ARM-based Windows 8 RT tablets
HP has no intention of releasing a Windows 8 RT-powered tablet and will instead focus its attention on Microsoft’s Intel-based Windows 8 Pro platform
HP has confirmed it will not be producing a Windows RT-powered tablet anytime soon, preferring to focus its energies on tablet devices powered by Windows 8 and Intel Ivy Bridge chipsets.
This will no doubt come as a massive blow to both Microsoft and ARM. Windows RT was developed specifically by Microsoft to work on ARM-based chipsets and compete directly with Apple’s iPad - both in terms of price and performance.
Microsoft deliberately limited the number of OEMs that had access to the Windows RT code so that it could work closely with its partners and ensure the initial devices carrying Windows RT were of the highest quality.
Marlene Somsak, a spokeswoman for HP, said, ‘The robust and established ecosystem of x86 applications provides the best customer experience at this time and in the immediate future.’
Somsak also confirmed HP’s decision to focus on enterprise-ready Windows 8 Pro tablets was taken well before Microsoft debuted its Surface tablets, following speculation that it had fled the consumer market for fear of competing directly with Microsoft.
Following HP’s webOS debacle last year, it’s easy to see why the company might be a little apprehensive about re-entering the tablet space. However looking at Somsak’s statement it’s clear that HP hasn’t written Windows RT off entirely - just don’t go expecting one anytime soon.
While HP is a key Microsoft partner, the software-giant need not worry too much. The release of its own-brand Windows RT-powered Surface tablet later on in the year should fill the gap created by HP’s departure from consumer-end of Windows 8.
However, should other manufacturers like Dell, Acer and Asus bail on Windows RT for similar reasons, Microsoft’s mobile-friendly Windows platform could be in trouble.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Sid Parakh, an analyst at McAdams Wright Ragen, said: ‘Microsoft limited the number of computer-makers given early access to the Windows RT code to ensure a smaller number of high-quality devices. As the number dwindles, there’s additional pressure that those remaining be successful.’
He added: ‘It’s not a negative to have just a few, but they need to be really compelling.’
The first batch of Windows 8 Pro/Windows RT tablets are expected to launch in late-Q3 of 2012.