Nokia's long-rumored Windows RT tablet is now rumored to be coming in early 2013
We began the year wondering if a Nokia tablet could finally be in the offing and in March heard rumors that the struggling Finnish company was prepping a 10-inch Windows tablet for launch in the final quarter of 2012. The year is almost out and, while the rumors have continued unabated right throughout, there is still no sign of such a tablet. Now, according to a new report, the mythical device could finally see the light of day at next year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
Dell had reservations about Microsoft using Windows branding for its ARM-friendly tablet OS
At last week’s Dell World conference, the Texas-based PC manufacturer announced its decision to abandon the development of Android smartphones and tablets. As a result, Windows 8 tablets are going to be the sole focus of its mobile strategy from now on. This is despite the fact that Dell has always had reservations about a key part of Microsoft’s new horses-for-courses OS strategy: the OS naming scheme.
The Internet is a tough place to try and keep a secret, so why bother? Evidently we're not the only ones that feel that way. After rumors, uh, surfaced that Surface RT would show up in third-party retail stores, Best Buy reached out to Maximum PC to confirm that it plans on selling the Windows RT-based tablet online starting December 12, 2012, and in select retail and Mobile specialty stores nationwide beginning Sunday, December 16.
Microsoft is said to be expanding the sale of its Surface tablet beyond its own outlets.
While analysts seldom see eye to eye, the diversity of opinions that the Surface RT has managed to inspire among them is fairly remarkable. If you ask IHS iSuppli, it will tell you that the Windows RT-based tablet is looking set to crack the 1 million unit sales mark in the fourth quarter. Boston’s Detwiler Fenton, on the other hand, expects Surface RT sales to be around the 500,000 mark.
One thing is clear though: the ARM-powered slate hasn’t really set the world on fire. That is something Microsoft is now trying to address, according to noted Microsoft blogger Paul Thurrott, by expanding the sale of the Surface beyond its own outlets.
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Exact sales figures on devices can be somewhat hard to come by. Apple will occasionally share how many “iOS device’s they sold in a quarter”, they might even be generous enough to separate phones and tablets, but they rarely break it down by model. The Surface RT has been on sale now for about two weeks, and while we don’t exactly have specific numbers to go on, we do know what Steve Ballmer thinks of its sales performance in general.
For our friends at iFixIt, tearing into Microsoft's Surface with Windows RT (Surface RT from here on out) represents just another day at the office. But for the rest of us, it provides an interesting peek at what lies beneath the Surface, as well as how easy or difficult it is to open up and service at home. Apple products are notoriously burdensome to crack open and repair; is the Surface any different?
With Surface RT, you give up a certain amount of flexibility in terms of what types of applications and software you can install, but what about compatibility with third-party devices? Armed with a full-size USB port, microSD card slot, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, Microsoft insists its Surface RT line is compatible with a large number of devices, and now you can see for yourself by visiting the company's Windows Compatibility Center.
Over the the past few years, Microsoft has tried to master the delicate art of vertical integration on several occasions, but none of those previous attempts quite measure up to the Surface in audacity. If the Surface succeeds, Microsoft stands to reap the financial fruits of vertical integration, but at the risk of estranging the many PC vendors with whom it has longstanding ties. So the big question at this point in time is: just how far is Microsoft willing to go?
If you are itching to get your hands on a Microsoft Surface RT tablet, chances are that your itch will remain unscratched for quite some time, as the device is now backordered for three weeks. So your best bet now, should you want it earlier, is to walk into a Microsoft retail outlet on or after October 26 and pick one up yourself (if you can). For those who don’t want to leave anything to chance, Microsoft is giving out special "Surface reservation passes."