HTC Pulls Plug On Windows RT Tablet After Signs Of Weak Demand
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Computer and smartphone maker HTC is pulling back on its plans to produce a full-sized tablet computer with Microsoft that would run the Windows RT operating system. On Friday Bloomberg reported that this comes amidst concerns from the Taiwanee tech titan that the demand for such a device simply isn´t there.
This shouldn´t entirely come as a surprise as even the Microsoft Surface tablet, which remains the flagship Windows RT device, had little presence earlier this year at the annual CES trade show in Las Vegas.
It was also only back in December, just weeks before CES, that HTC announced that it would introduce Windows RT tablets in the New Year. The irony in all this is that last June Microsoft had reportedly not wanted to provide HTC with a license for Windows RT tablets. The two companies apparently reached an agreement, but HTC is now the one having second thoughts.
Windows RT sales have remained sluggish since the product made its debut last October, and according to research firm IDC only some 200,000 tablets running the ARM-based OS were sold in the first quarter of 2013. Microsoft and its partners have released a total of five Windows RT devices since its debut.
Pulling back from the tablet market could be a bold move too for HTC, as IDC´s forecast predicts that tablet devices will surge 59 percent to 229.3 million units by the end of this year, with sales overtaking personal-computer shipments next year. However, IDC´s updated 2013 forecast dropped the projection for shipments of Windows RT devices from four million down to three million.
This comes even as the research firm noted an upsurge in sales and shipments of sub-8-inch devices, which typically equate to lower prices. It seems that Microsoft may have one too many offerings in the market as it also has released Windows 8 devices that utilize Intel´s x86 chipsets.
“We´re seeing RT less and less,” IDC analyst Ryan Reith told ComputerWorld.
As for its tablet´s plans, HTC is not entirely out of the RT market.
The company will still reportedly release an ARM-based 7-inch Windows RT device later this year, but has scrapped the plans for the larger 12-inch display, which likely requires more expensive components and could have led to a higher price.
With the Windows RT project now scaled back it was reported that HTC will instead focus on its One smartphone, which runs Google´s Android mobile software. This comes as the company has seen its global market share fall from 4.5 percent during the first quarter of 2012 to 2.4 percent in the first quarter of this year.
Neither HTC nor Microsoft have commended on the report.
HTC is also not the only Microsoft partner that has had RT troubles. Earlier this month, Dell dropped the price of its Dell XPS 10 tablet by $200, down to $300. Dell had unveiled its Windows RT devices last August at the Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (IFA) conference.
Windows RT is a variant of Windows 8, and was developed as a way to compete with Apple´s iPads, which also utilize ARM-based chips to provide longer battery life and thinner devices.