Unnamed sources in Taipei are reporting that Windows RT tablets may become a Microsoft exclusive thanks to software compatibility and weak performance. They also blame Microsoft's own Surface RT tablet as a main issue of rebellion -- nothing new there -- because the software giant has the resources to undercut its partners on pricing.
Additional insiders claim that there have been issues developing Windows RT tablets, especially with software drivers in the early stages. The ARM-focused version of Windows 8 feels sluggish they claim, even more so when compared to Windows 8 Pro tablets running on Intel's hardware.
Just recently Microsoft confirmed four OEMs that will produce Windows RT devices: Asus, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung. Afterward Toshiba announced that it had bailed out on the Windows RT parade for now, citing the inability to get the needed components before a "timely" launch. Acer however said it will stay on the Windows RT team, supposedly launching products in early 2013.
The latest controversy surrounding Windows RT is that Microsoft may sell its Surface 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 Redmond mystery.
Just recently, David Schmoock, head of Lenovo’s North America operations, told Bloomberg that Windows RT tablets from OEMs should cost between $200 and $300 less than Intel-based Windows 8 Pro tablets. "RT will play in consumer and retail at very aggressive price points," Schmoock told Bloomberg. "It will do well but it's going to be more of a consumer price point play to begin with."
So far there's no indication that the Big Four plan to bail out on the Windows RT bandwagon too. Both Lenovo and HP have stated that Microsoft will be just another competitor, that both feel confident their Windows RT solutions will conquer anything Microsoft has to offer.
For the Windows RT tablet sector, a lot will be riding on the initial release slated for October 2012, leading OEMs like Acer and Toshiba to play the wait-and-see game as consumers flock -- or not flock -- to all versions of Windows 8 tablets.