Toshiba Cancels Windows RT Tablets
Microsoft’s Surface dis-ARMs another partner
Japanese electronics manufacturer Toshiba has cancelled its Windows RT device line-up, blaming delays in the supply chain. The company has announced it will focus on delivering Windows 8 devices instead.
Last month, HP also dropped the development of ARM-based products, following the announcement that Microsoft was going to make its own ARM-based tablet, the Surface, a development which had angered its OEM partners.
Microsoft will launch the Windows RT version the Surface alongside Windows 8 on 26 October. The departure of HP and Toshiba leaves Dell, Asus, Lenove and Samsung on board.
Microsoft disARMs its partners
Windows RT is an operating system developed by Microsoft especially for laptops and tablets which use the ARM processor architecture. The company will only be selling the OS to device manufacturers directly, and not as a stand-alone product to consumers.
ARM-based tablets are a gamble, as they will have to establish a new category – the silicon uses much less power than the competing chips, but it is also less powerful, and there may be differences in the applications available for the platform.
“Toshiba has decided not to introduce Windows RT models due to delayed components that would make a timely launch impossible,” Eric Paulsen, a US-based spokesman, said in a statement to Bloomberg.
“For the time being, Toshiba will focus on bringing Windows 8 products to market. We will continue to look into the possibility of Windows RT products in the future while monitoring market conditions,” he added.
The Japanese company said it may reconsider the decision in the future. Toshiba was planning to buy its ARM chips from Texas Instruments, and the US chipmaker has already started looking for alternative partners.
“Toshiba’s decision by no means signals the end of the road for TI’s work on Windows RT, or the focus on the mobile computing market,” Melissa Haddad, a spokeswoman for Texas Instruments told Bloomberg. “We have a long view on successes in Windows RT, and continue to be excited about our work there.”
Samsung is set to launch a tablet based on Windows RT as soon as the OS is released. Dell, Lenovo and Asus have also confirmed they will be producing devices with ARM chips inside.
Last week, JT Wang, chairman and chief executive of computer maker Acer, has publicly raised concerns over Microsoft’s move into hardware with the Surface tablet, warning it will have a “huge negative impact” for the Windows 8 ecosystem.
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