Well, this can’t be a good sign. Samsung has told CNET that the company will not be launching its Windows RT tablet in the United States, citing a lack of demand and consumer confusion. After I spent an afternoon in my country’s largest electronics retailer, it’s hard not to agree with Samsung.
Samsung’s statement to CNET is crystal clear, and leaves little to the imagination.
There wasn’t really a very clear positioning of what Windows RT meant in the marketplace, what it stood for relative to Windows 8, that was being done in an effective manner to the consumer. When we did some tests and studies on how we could go to market with a Windows RT device, we determined there was a lot of heavy lifting we still needed to do to educate the customer on what Windows RT was. And that heavy lifting was going to require pretty heavy investment. When we added those two things up, the investments necessary to educate the consumer on the difference between RT and Windows 8, plus the modest feedback that we got regarding how successful could this be at retail from our retail partners, we decided maybe we ought to wait.
Another issue, according to Samsung, is price. The Korean giant claims that in order to keep the price of Windows RT devices down, it has to make too many compromises. The issue here, of course, is that ARM-based Windows 8 tablets should be cheaper than x86-based ones, since they are simply less functional.
This doesn’t surprise me. I’m going to buy a Surface RT (so I can do a proper review of Windows 8), and as part of my duty as a consumer I wanted to play with a Windows RT tablet to see what performance is like, and whether or not I can justify spending â‚¬400 more for the Surface Pro (unlikely). Expecting to see loads of Windows 8 tablets, I went to the country’s largest chain of electronics retailers.
To my utter surprise, they didn’t have a single Windows 8 tablet on display; no ARM, no x86. In fact, they didn’t sell any Windows 8/Windows RT tablets at all! The aisles were lined with Android tablets of all shapes, sizes, and prices. On top of that, the iPads were stacked roof-high; all iPads were fully stocked, and there was even a bargain bin specifically for brand new iPad 3s.
But not a single tablet with Windows 8 or Windows RT. I also noticed – for the first time – that they had reduced the shelf space available to laptops, and that, also for the first time, Apple laptops were intermingled with Windows laptops.
It’s all anectodal, of course, but if I were Microsoft, I’d be worried.
Right now, it’s probably too soon to be pimping Windows RT tablets, as there just aren’t a lot of interesting apps out there. Perhaps if the whole Windows 8 ecosystem takes off on the desktop …