Sources from the upstream supply chain have told the somewhat spotty DigiTimes that Microsoft has no plans to launch another tablet based on Windows RT. Instead, the Redmond company will merge the ARM-based version of Windows 8 into Windows Blue.
At first glance, the wording implies that Microsoft is working to merge an operating system based on ARM architecture (Qualcomm, Nvidia) with a platform based on x86 architecture (Intel, AMD). Thus, the company would have one Windows 8 product that works on both.
Unfortunately, supply chain chatter can be misinterpreted as details get lost in translation. What's likely happening is that Windows RT will join the incremental update pattern dictated by Microsoft's Windows Blue release schedule. Even more, it appears that the company may drop the "RT" label so that from a brief consumer standpoint, there's no real obvious difference between the ARM and x86-based versions.
The report claims that although Microsoft and its partners pushed Windows RT rather aggressively from the beginning, the sales just aren't there. The Windows name has reportedly misled consumers into believing that the RT platform would be compatible with their current x86-based software. But it's not, and a lack of apps, combined with the compatibility issues, have thus damaged the Windows RT brand.
How Microsoft plans to resolve this by removing the "RT" label is unknown at this point. Despite HP and Samsung rejecting the platform, several OEMs have already stated they still plan to produce Windows RT tablets this year, as they're cheaper than their x86-based cousins. With that, Microsoft may need to stick with an entirely new name to reduce the amount of customer confusion.
Most of what we've heard about Windows Blue is mere chatter anyway. Microsoft didn't acknowledge the scheme until earlier this week. "With a remarkable foundation of products in [the] market and a clear view of how we will evolve the company, product leaders across Microsoft are working together on plans to advance our devices and services, a set of plans referred to internally as Blue," said Frank Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Corporate Communications at Microsoft.
Thus, Windows Blue is an envelope of simultaneous, incremental updates. It makes sense that Windows RT will be included in this "Blue" schedule, and it really isn't surprising that Microsoft plans to revise its Windows RT strategy. How that strategy will unfold will likely be revealed during BUILD 2013 in San Francisco from June 26 to June 28.