Microsoft seems to be within a whisker of calling it quits on its failed experiment with the Surface tablet, the device powered by the ARM architecture and Windows RT, an offshoot of Windows 8.
ARM Holdings Plc
Bluesound, a new audio company under the Lenbrook America umbrella, has launched a series of wireless, multi-room speaker systems through U.S. CE specialty dealers.
Evidence abounds that Windows RT, Microsoft's version of Windows 8 for ARM-based devices like tablets, is in trouble. It's time for Microsoft to take a hard look at what it's trying to accomplish and figure out how to salvage the troubled operating system before it has a real failure on its hands.
Consider the following:
- The most recent report from IDC estimates that Windows RT tablets make up only 1.9-percent of the tablet market. The firm forecasts that Windows RT will only grow to 2.7-percent market share by 2017.
ARM Holdings Plc, which has sprinted ahead of Intel Corp. in the market for mobile chips, poses a threat to its rival in another burgeoning business: semiconductors for machines ranging from cars to cutlery.
So-called embedded processing is ARM's fastest-growing market, surging 25 percent in 2012. ARM got more than half of its sales from products other than mobile phones for the first time in the third quarter, and last month ARM Chief Executive Officer Warren East said the percentage will continue to rise.
Companies are snapping up chips that make dashboard stereos
How do you solve a problem like Windows 8?
A major advertising and marketing campaign for a major software release—from the major computer software company in the world, no less—receives little more than a lackluster response from consumers and businesses. So while retailers should approach Windows 8 and its associated hardware with caution, they may still eke out some gains by offering systems that have been specifically designed for the new operating system.
Unlike some previously disastrous introductions, such as Windows Vista and Windows Millennium Edition, there are no glaring flaws in the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system. Users haven’t been plagued by hardware compatibility issues as they have in the past, or faced with major software upgrades to make programs work with the new OS. And cost hasn’t been an obstacle. Microsoft offers an upgrade version of the software for just $40.
Acer will have a ton of Windows 8 machines on store shelves this week, but it will have no computers running Windows RT - the version of the operating system that can run on ARM-based chips from Nvidia and Qualcomm.
The company has hardware designs ready, but won't ship them until next year.
"We thought about it," Acer computer unit president Campbell Kan said in an interview. "We do have products ready."
For now, though, Acer is going with a lineup of touch-centric laptops, tablets and all-in-ones, all powered by Intel chips.
To-date the only official products that we've seen running Windows RT are the Microsoft Surface and the Asus Tablet 600, but Microsoft has confirmed today that multiple other manufacturers will be creating PCs that use the ARM-friendly operating system.
Specifically, Lenovo, Dell, and Samsung have all been confirmed as Windows RT hardware partners - alongside Asus, of course. If there's one big name missing from that list, it's number-one PC manufacturer HP, which has previously said that it's initially avoiding ARM tablets to focus on a business-oriented Intel tablet.
Hewlett-Packard, Acer, and Lenovo, among others, are expected to bring out Windows 8 tablets using Intel's latest system-on-a-chip.
HP and Acer are working on designs, a source familiar with the vendors' plans told CNET. In addition, details leaked today about a Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2, which will also use Intel's Clover Trail system-on-a-chip (SoC).
These Intel-based Windows 8 designs are distinctly different from Windows RT tablets that will use ARM chips. Windows RT devices use a version of Windows 8 that does not offer backward-compatibility with the millions of existing Windows software programs.
Intel chief executive Paul Otellini said today that 20 Windows 8 tablets are being designed by computer makers for launch later this year when Microsoft unveils its new operating system.
To date, strong sales of Apple's iPad have actually hurt Intel's sales of PC-related chips, since the Apple tablets and most others use low-power ARM-based chips. But Intel has designed a line of low-power Atom chips using its x86 microprocessor architecture. The system-on-chip Atom solution is an attempt to deliver high performance worth of a computer with the low-power
Since Microsoft unveiled its first Microsoft-branded PCs, the Surfaces, in late June, I've been wondering how ambitious the company's scale-up plans were.
Today at the Worldwide Partner Conference opening keynote, I got an answer. CEO Steve Ballmer told attendees Microsoft's goal is to sell "a few million Surface PCs" in the coming year. (I actually thought I heard Ballmer say "a few millions," with an "s.") Ballmer also said that according to estimates, there will be 375 million Windows PCs sold in the next 12 months. His implication was there would still