Despite all the rantings over Microsoft's Surface tablets, Acer is still in the Windows RT boat for now.
Earlier this week, Microsoft confirmed four OEMs that are scheduled to release Windows RT devices: Asus, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung. Toshiba said it was pulling out of the Windows RT race due to problems in acquiring components for a "timely" release. Acer was also excluded from the list, but a spokesperson for the company confirmed on Thursday that it plans to produce Windows RT devices at some point.
"Acer plans to incorporate Windows RT into our product roadmap, but we have not yet confirmed the timing of our product launches," an Acer spokeswoman told Computerworld. The acknowledgment backs up a previous statement made by Acer President Jim Wong back in June who said a Windows RT "portable device" would not arrive until 1Q13.
Acer CEO JT Wang has been one of several within the company to be extremely vocal towards Microsoft over the past month, lashing out at the Redmond company for producing its own Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets based on the new Windows OS. He said the devices would drive a wedge between it and its OEM partners, and even urged Microsoft to "please think twice" about building the Surface tablets.
"We have said [to Microsoft] think it over. Think twice. It will create a huge negative impact for the ecosystem and other brands may take a negative reaction. It is not something you are good at so please think twice," he said.
Even Acer founder Stan Shih has thrown his two cents into the Microsoft lashing, saying that Microsoft's entry into the tablet hardware sector was merely designed to promote Windows 8. Essentially he's right, but his comment seemingly meant to imply that Microsoft was only out to make tons of money off Windows 8, and screw the OEM partners and their need to generate revenue too.
"I sincerely recommend they withdraw from the hardware market when they get what they want," Shih said.
Just recently there have been rumors that Microsoft will offer its Windows RT tablet starting at $199. Acer CEO JT Wang advised Microsoft against such pricing, claiming that it would have a significant, negative impact on partners. Instead, the Surface tablets should retail for $499 to $599. So far Surface pricing is a big mystery despite rumors.
"Suggested retail pricing will be announced closer to availability, and is expected to be competitive with a comparable ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook-class PC," Microsoft previously stated.
The cost to build each Surface RT tablet alone is estimated to run the company up to $600, hence the OEM paranoia -- especially in Acer's case -- regarding the rumored $199 pricetag.