Toshiba has ditched its plans to produce Windows RT tablets, citing a component shortage.
In case you hadn't noticed, Toshiba wasn't included in Microsoft's confirmed list of manufacturers cranking out Windows RT devices. The Redmond company named Asus, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung -- even Microsoft itself is producing a Windows RT tablet in-house -- but Toshiba was not on the OEM menu.
According to the company, it supposedly can't get the components it needs in time to make a "timely" launch. What's more, Toshiba did not specify as to what those missing components are, but instead indicated that it will focus on Intel-based products using Windows 8. Thus, Toshiba is merely switching teams rather than bailing out of the Windows 8 platform altogether.
"Toshiba has decided not to introduce Windows RT models due to delayed components that would make a timely launch impossible," Eric Paulsen, a U.S-based spokesman, said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg. "For the time being, Toshiba will focus on bringing Windows 8 products to market. We will continue to look into the possibility of Windows RT products in the future while monitoring market conditions."
Previously Toshiba planned to generate Widows RT tablets using ARM-based SoCs provided by Texas Instruments. The company displayed two Windows RT-based concepts at Computex, one consisting of a tablet and docking station, and one clamshell design resembling a keyboard-equipped ultralight notebook. Ir was assumed that Toshiba was one of many on Microsoft's growing list of Windows RT OEMs.
Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, isn't buying Toshiba's component-based excuse for pulling out of the Windows RT race. It's about drivers he claims, and Texas Instruments has reportedly fallen behind Qualcomm and Nvidia. The drivers in question include those for the tablet's graphics chipset, and its digital video processing (DSP) silicon.
Up until now, Toshiba had been the only announced Windows RT OEM to rely on Texas Instruments SoCs. Now Microsoft has one less Windows RT OEM under its belt -- a list of backers that was slim to begin with. It's for this very reason Microsoft stepped up to offer its own Surface RT solution on October 28, according to analysts.
"Surface is just a design point. It will have a distinct place in what's a broad Windows ecosystem," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said during the Surface reveal. "And the importance of the thousands of partners that we have that design and produce Windows computers will not diminish."