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Report: Samsung cool on Windows RT


Samsung Ativ Tab
Steve Costello

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Samsung has opted not to release tablet devices powered by Microsoft’s Windows RT platform in the US, citing poor positioning in the market, according to CNET.

According to the publication, Mike Abary, head of the South Korean vendor’s computer business in the US, said: “When we did some tests and studies on how we could go to market with a Windows RT device, we determined there was a lot of heavy lifting we still needed to do to educate the customer on what Windows RT was. And that heavy lifting was going to require pretty heavy investment.”

The executive also said that the company had received “modest feedback” about how much success its retail partners believed it could achieve, leading to the decision that “maybe we ought to wait”.

One of the issues noted was the positioning of the devices: the pricing should be below that of fully-fledged Windows 8-powered tablets, and this in turn places restrictions on the acceptable bill of materials for tablets.

In addition, competition for Windows RT tablets is tough: in addition to Microsoft’s own Surface devices, the premium pricing of the devices puts them in competition with Apple’s market-leading iPad.

AllThingsD this week cited analyst figures for Surface sales which range from 700,000 to 1 million for the December quarter, and 2.5 million to 2.6 million for all of Microsoft’s fiscal 2013 – numbers that are unlikely to cause sleepless nights in Cupertino.

As a new-to-market device using an operating system that is incompatible with desktop Windows apps, Windows RT also lacks the sort of apps and content ecosystem which has helped make the iPad so popular.

While Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, said earlier this year that growth in Windows RT apps has been strong, the company has not published an absolute figure – although it is nowhere near the 300,000 apps available targeting the iPad.

Samsung announced the Windows RT-powered Ativ Tab in August 2012. Powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, it also has a 10.1-inch screen and comes in 32GB and 64GB versions.

Other vendors having announced Windows RT support are Asus, Dell and Lenovo. It has also been reported that HTC is eyeing the platform.

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