HP has announced it won’t be building ARM-based Windows 8 tablets, and will be focusing on x86 tablets. Is it because of the competition from Surface in the ARM space?
OEMs have publicly been quiet on Surface, but HP may have fired a shot: it won’t be developed ARM tablets
HP said to Bloomberg it will be developing exclusively x86 tablets, which will offer the Windows 8 experience in parity with most laptops and PCs. ARM-based devices will be more limited, hence the cheaper cost of Surface, because of decreased hardware requirements.
The iPad uses ARM chips, and the devices retails from $499 unless you’re considering the iPad 2 ($399). Rumors have said the ARM version of Surface will got for $599, presumably for the lowest 32GB capacity, which would be exactly the same price as the 32GB Wi-Fi-only new iPad.
Perhaps that’s why HP isn’t developed for ARM devices. If Microsoft is setting the low price with Surface, where’s the room for OEMs? They’re going have to offer the 8GB version, which is going to be cheaper but is then going to be compared to the Amazon Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7. Both devices retail for $199 in the U.S.
HP of course has experience in the tablet market through the TouchPad, which bombed because of a dying operating system until a significant price drop caused huge sales. If a device is cheap enough, consumer will buy it regardless of issues. It only costs $199, right?
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HP says the decision is based on customer feedback, as they see x86 platforms as offering the best experience. I’m not really buying that considering Windows 8 for ARM was built for create a great experience, and there’s still every chance of that happening when Windows 8 release later in 2012.
The company also said the decision wasn’t a reaction to the Surface announcements, and the new product will focused on businesses. Microsoft has been courting businesses with Windows 8, showing a mockup business environment in Metro. The big question over Metro is can it be as productive as the desktop half of the operating system.
Other OEMs such as Dell have reaffirmed commitment to Windows 8, though that’s maybe because of its dwindling fortunes.
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