ARM CEO Still Hopeful About Windows RT

This week during World Mobile Congress 2013, ARM CEO Warren East still seemed hopeful about Microsoft's Windows RT platform despite the current lackluster numbers in sales. He said that the Redmond company will learn from its mistakes with the new non-x86 platform and regroup with a better product.

"I'm well aware there is a perceived wisdom that RT hasn't been as successful as lots of people thought it was going be," East said during an interview. "Quite certainly I'm sanguine about it."

Microsoft launched Windows RT alongside Windows 8 back in September 2012. The company even released its own branded Windows RT "Surface" tablet months later, yet sales figures have been "poor" to the point where Microsoft won’t even release its own numbers. The biggest issue thus far seems to be that it's a Windows environment that isn't compatible with x86-based Windows software.

Just this week, Acer said that it planned to release a Windows RT tablet later this year, but added that Microsoft needs to improve on the platform's usability and provide a clear value proposition. HP, Microsoft's biggest client, still hasn't produced a Windows RT device, opting to use Android for its upcoming 7-inch tablet instead.

Despite the numbers, East indicated that Microsoft won't follow HP and give up on a new OS so quickly. He said that the Redmond company will continue to bang out the wrinkles until Windows RT offers a smooth, exceptional experience for consumers. That said, Microsoft will likely roll out the next version later on this year as part of its annual "Blue" update.

During the interview, East hinted that Microsoft is working on a 64-bit version of Windows RT. "Companies like Microsoft, everybody in the technology space, when they look at ... ARM in the future are thinking about 64-bit," he said, adding that ARM and Microsoft have had a rich dialog that has picked up in recent years.

Chips based on ARM's 64-bit architecture, called ARMv8, is expected to be introduced in 2014 and shipped in volumes in 2015.

Microsoft's Windows RT is one of many operating systems flooding the mobile market. On the phone side, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Firefox OS, Tizen, Ubuntu Touch and iOS all work on ARM-based chips. On the tablet front, Chrome OS and Ubuntu Touch works on both ARM and x86-based chips while Windows RT, iOS and Android only reside on ARM. Windows 8 Pro is x86-based, allowing customers to install their favorite Windows programs on the Surface Pro and similar tablets.

Stepping back and looking at the entire smartphone/tablet spectrum, there are a large number of platforms spanning two architectures. East said the industry will slim the number down to just a few in a couple of years.

"In time it'll be like it is in the automotive market where at different stages you end up with one or two leaders," East said. "The market kind of matures."

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  • AndreT
    I have yet to see any surface tablet in the wild.
  • damianrobertjones
    Overall I enjoyed my time owning a Surface tablet and would recommend one to everyone... apart fron one thing...

    -It's not the fact that the store might not have as many apps as the competition (Doesn't bother me)
    -It's not a super high resolution (As that's pretty much marketing crap to get you)

    It's simply playing video. If MS was serious it would have, somehow, released a fully capable media app. We're talking support for just about every media codec out there. Hurry up vlc!
  • azraa
    Am I the only one with troubles loading the home page?
    Man, every freakin time I want to check Tom's there is a freeze when loading, Chrome becomes absolutely non responsive. That didn't happen before, its annoying. Its either too many ads or your code is all messy.

    Either way, I cant see why the Surface couldn't be a success, just not now, it needs more improvements... maybe next gen.
  • -Fran-
    I've used the Win RT tablet a few times, since an auntie got one.

    The mix of "desktop windows" and "modern/metro" in it is quite interesting. The features are nice and very windows like, except for the gestures. I had to google some gestures to do some things I couldn't find right away (like closing an app), but the overall experience is very windows like at its core, which is not a bad thing at all.

    Now, Microsoft could be a little less greedy and ship full OfficeRT with every surface sold. For the price alone, it's quite good to have in it's full version.

    Overall, if you don't have any OS preference and feel at home with Windows, the tablet could be a good buy. Albeit, I still think it's overpriced by a lot. Build quality is also very good, by the way, but the display looks to be kind of fragile.

  • warezme
    Translation - it took us this long to get our RT tablet into production and it's to late to stop it now so we will push on at least long enough to sell out our inventory.
  • gm0n3y
    Its kinda weird, but in the past few months I have seen a lot more people with Surface tablets than with iPads. Microsoft seems to be taking the underdog status from Apple making them 'cool' again. Recently, most of the tablets I've seen have been Surface Pro models.
  • I've got two friends with surface rt's and a co-worker with the new hp atom based win8 pro tablet.
    They might not be selling like crazy, but they are out there. I intend to buy a 2nd gen win 8 tablet.
  • lathe26
    Actually Android is been available for the x86 processor for quite some time now. Examples include the Motorola XT890 and BlueStacks for Windows. Android is also available for the MIPS processor.
  • belardo
    The biggest issue thus far seems to be that it's a Windows environment that isn't compatible with x86-based Windows software.
    Duh.... that is because WindowsRT is not a Windows OS. It looks like one... but its not. And what the F does "RT" mean... from a marketing standpoint... it all stupid.

    Everything that MS does lately is plain stupid. From concept to retail... its all ugly greedy mess. The desktopUI is ugly (WIn8 preview 8400 looks cool), the changed the Metro name to something else... thinking that renaming a turd will make it taste better. The changing of Office licenses...

    Just picked up Office 2010 std. for $240, which can be installed on TWO PCs at the same time, can be re-installed when such PCs are retired/replaced/etc.... vs. Office 2013 which is $220... for only the PC you DL and installed it to. ie: If your 4month old PC notebook dies/stolen.... too bad, you MUST spend $220 for another Office 2013 license key.

    Really Microsoft... just die already.
  • What's really stupid...spending $240 on office software with so many free alternatives.