HP has confirmed that it won’t be developing Windows 8 tablets, specifically ARM tablets that bring a more limited feature set.
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HP decided to not build Windows 8 ARM devices because of bad feedback from customers
HP said instead it will focus on the x86 chips. It’s a difficult position for Microsoft, as the strength of Windows 8 has always been on the hardware, so we’ll have to see if other OEMs think building mobile focused devices for Windows 8 is the best road.
It’s important partners do because Windows 8 is Microsoft’s first real push for the mobile operating system, with Metro bring that user friendly UI Apple has pioneered. A lot of the uncertainty is probably because we don’t know how consumers will react to Metro and if developers will adopt the platform. Apple made a phone successful first, and then introduce a tablet OS that was identical. So developers work on the same UI elements, just across a bigger screen.
It’s also highlights how Microsoft has to get its Surface tablets widely available. Yes there are going to be over 70 Microsoft Stores in the U.S., but a large online presence is going to shift the most units. When Apple announces a product, it’s online almost immediately. Therefore they’ve got to be great products, and they do look promising and different to what Apple is creating. And in ways such as USB and the ultra thin keyboard accessories, there’s better functionality.
Business Focus: Legacy Apps
HP also said its first tablet will focus on business. That’s probably because Windows ARM can only run apps designed for Windows 8 and Windows RT, and not legacy apps. If Microsoft gets the pricing right, around $699 for the 32GB Windows Pro Surface, then it will be compelling for businesses. This is one case where the dual OS approach works in Microsoft’s favor.
No release date or pricing for the Surface tablets has been announced; we’re expecting them to launch around October with Windows 8, because Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky said they would launch with the general availability of Windows 8. Pricing was rumored to be $599 for the RT Surface and $799 for the Pro version. Whether there will be two tiers for the 32GB and 64GB versions remains to be seen, though that’s likely.