You know how pessimists like to point out that if something is too good to be true, then it probably is? As much as we hate to admit it, that idiom most likely applies to a recent rumor suggesting Microsoft finalized plans to price its Windows RT-based Surface tablet at a mere $199. It's fun to speculate on what kind of impact that would have on the tablet market, but at the end of the day, all that rhetoric would be for naught because it's just not going to happen, according to several analysts.
Microsoft has revealed the names of its Windows RT OEM partners and there are a few big names missing from the list. While we already know the reasons behind HP and Acer’s absence, the absence of Japanese company Toshiba, which was recently rumored to be among Microsoft’s Windows RT launch partners, is bit of a mystery.
We already know that the Windows RT version of Microsoft’s Surface tablet will make its retail debut on October 26, the same day as Windows 8’s global release, but surprisingly not a lot is known about third-party devices running the ARM-friendly flavor of Windows at this stage, with the Asus Tablet 600 being about the only confirmed third-party Windows RT device as of now. Now, Microsoft is requesting just a bit more patience from those currently holding their breath, as other vendors are expected to unveil their Windows RT offerings very soon.
There is no dearth of those who would like to see nothing more than a mea culpa from Microsoft apologizing for wrongly trying to shove the Metro design language down their throats with Windows 8. But we’re sure these critics wouldn’t mind an unceremonious dumping of Metro one bit either. And guess what? Microsoft has just granted their wish by quietly doing away with Metro. But unfortunately, the company is merely getting rid of the name and not the typography-based design language itself.
Will Microsoft’s Surface tablet really start at over $1,000? That is the question that has been on everyone’s mind ever since a listing for the upcoming Microsoft-branded tablet surfaced on Swedish site Webhallen. But we need not speculate any further as the Swedish e-tailer’s Surface pricing itself is pretty speculative.
In recent times, we’ve become quite used to a steady stream of Windows 8 news, but the same can not be said to be true of Windows RT. Details of this ARM-friendly version of Windows have been few and far between. But then that’s what the rumor mill is for, isn’t it? According to an unconfirmed report by the Taiwan-based China Times, Microsoft is tightly controlling the development of Windows RT devices, so much so that at the moment it’s only allowing a handful of OEMs near this stripped-down, ARM-compatible version of Windows.
At a special event in San Francisco earlier today, Microsoft raised the curtain on the 15th version of its Office productivity suite, which has historically been a huge cash cow for the company. Speaking at the said press event, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer the new Office “will fully light-up when paired with Windows 8.” Well, turns out there really aren’t an awful lot of things out there beyond Windows 8 that can fire up the new Office, for Office 2013’s pyrotechnics are reserved for Windows 8 and Windows 7 only and users with older operating systems will need to upgrade in order to get in on the action.
Microsoft is gearing up to enter the ARM-based media tablet market. All its hopes rest on how well Windows RT (Windows on ARM) is received by users. At this moment, though, it’s far too early to even speculate about the kind of response that awaits Windows RT-based tablets. But if a new report is to be believed, we’re likely to have a good enough idea come Monday.
It doesn't sound like Microsoft is interested in getting into a low-price slugfest with Amazon and Android for the bottom end of the tablet market. ARM processors are known for delivering solid, energy efficient performance at low cost to OEMs, which would seem to make them a natural fit for decent, cheap Windows tablets when the next generation of Windows launches later this year. However, VR-Zone quizzed OEMs at Computex and found that Microsoft is charging $80 to $95 per device for Windows RT licenses, with $85 being the most common price point. Poof! Goodbye, dreams of low cost Windows tablets.
Qualcomm on Tuesday unveiled an expanded portfolio for its Snapdragon S4 CPU family, breaking the processors down into four categories of concentration, including S4 Prime (HDTVs and set-top boxes), S4 Pro (Windows RT devices), S4 Plus (smartphones and tablets), and S4 Play (entry level mobile devices). Focusing on the S4 Pro series for a moment, reportedly there are Snapdragon S4-powered laptops running Windows RT already in production.