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Nvidia Sees Great Future with Windows RT

Rene Haas, vice president of computing products at Nvidia, told Computerworld in an interview that the company is committed to Windows RT for the long term. That's good news given that supporters for the ARM-based version of Windows 8 seem to be dwindling by the week. Most device makers have either completely ignored Windows RT and focused all of their attention to the x86-based Windows 8, or placed their Windows RT plans on hold. Nvidia, it seems, has Microsoft's back.

"Surface RT is the very beginning of a long process and it's the first shot in a changing landscape," Haas said. "Microsoft is moving the entire Windows platform to something really mobile."

And Haas has a point. Windows RT is a new breed of Windows, living outside the x86 realm. It hasn't even been an entire year since the platform was launched, meaning there's lots of room for improvement, and to grow its own ecosystem. Unfortunately, its plagued with the inability to run x86-based software that consumers are accustomed to using on their desktop, thus likely leading to poor sales of Surface RT and Windows RT-based tablets.

To get around this roadblock, Microsoft will need to accelerate its goal in creating a unified platform on Windows Store. Reducing the price of Surface RT will also help, and recently Microsoft and a number of retailers began doing just that: selling Surface RT at a discounted price. This was seen as a move to clear inventory for the next-generation Surface RT sporting Windows RT 8.1 later this fall. Whether this new price point will inspire new sales remains to be seen, but Haas remains hopeful that it will. Nvidia's own Tegra 3 quad-core SoC resides in Surface RT, and now it's selling for $349 (32 GB) and $449 (64 GB).

Haas said in the interview that Nvidia employees are already using Surface RT tablets sporting the 8.1 update which sports Microsoft Outlook and VPN improvements. "Outlook in 8.1 is a big, big deal for us, and it's not a baby version of Outlook or somehow stripped down. We can use it to book meetings and other ways and it's completely productive and a big item for us," he said, adding that other organizations will find Windows RT 8.1 valuable.

He also briefly touched the subject of Microsoft's reorganization, calling it encouraging, as Surface development is now under the helm of long-time Microsoft exec Julie Larson-Green. "Think about Microsoft essentially owning hardware as well as Amazon and Google," he said. "Over time, that's exciting."

Nvidia previously stated that its new Tegra 4 SoC will be used in multiple Windows RT tablets. Haas wouldn't elaborate on when, or what types of future RT products will appear. However Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, said he doesn't believe any tablet maker will produce a Windows RT tablet in the future. Even more, Nvidia is reportedly "blowing smoke" about the future of Windows RT and Surface RT because marketing people don't want to spook the market with negativity.

"RT is dying overnight. RT is going to die a slow death," he told Computerworld.