What is Nokia up to? That's the question being asked, following reports that the mobile
device maker is about to launch a Windows RT tablet -- even as other manufacturers are abandoning that platform.
The rumors indicate that Nokia is readying a launch of its first Windows RT-based tablet next month, at a New York City event. The tablet will reportedly be based on Qualcomm's quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor and will support LTE.
The latest reports are based on photos of such a tablet that have appeared on a Chinese tech-oriented Web site. The red, 10.1-inch tablet shows logos for Nokia, Windows RT, and Verizon, although the reports indicate that the device will first be released in the U.S. through AT&T.
Cover with Battery
Nokia had reportedly been developing a RT tablet that was originally expected to launch in January of this year. One of the features was a special cover that wrapped around the tablet like a book jacket, and contained a battery, keyboard, and kickstand. The battery in the cover was apparently intended to provide backup power, complementing the one inside the tablet.
Reports had indicated that, after a small run of RT tablets, Nokia would then release a similar tablet for Windows 8.
Later reports indicated that the RT tablet was canceled in favor of the Windows 8 version, a decision which appeared to be a result of the poor sales for tablets using the RT platform.
In the second quarter, Microsoft shipped only about 200,000 Windows Surface RT tablets, according to industry research firm IDC. Analysts are scratching their collective heads as to why Nokia, still struggling in its efforts to sell Windows Phone 8-based smartphones, would now launch a tablet based on a platform that seems on its way out.
'Not Been Successful'
Late last week, Taiwan computer maker Asus announced it was abandoning the ARM-based RT because of weak sales. Asus Chief Executive Jerry Shen told The Wall Street Journal that "it's not only our opinion, the industry sentiment is also that Windows RT has not been successful."
The platform has been plagued by customer confusion because a product with Windows in its name was incompatible with the vast inventory of Windows software. There have even been reports of computer store personnel being confused about that issue. Additionally, there are relatively few RT-specific applications.
Microsoft lowered prices on RT tablets by as much as 30 percent in July because of slow sales, and the company took a write-down of $900 million in its last fiscal quarter because of the tablet.
Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba and Samsung have also decided not to move forward with RT tablets. Lenovo has pulled back on selling its RT-based Yoga 11 convertible model, Dell has not made commitments about the platform, and Acer dropped plans last spring for an RT tablet. Acer President Jim Wong told news media that, "to be honest, there's no value doing the current version of RT," and the company has said it will wait for the next version of RT before deciding whether to proceed with the platform.
Posted: 2013-09-11 @ 10:51pm PT
Anyone who owns a Surface RT will tell you it's a great tablet. Those who don't own one will believe that it's the worst tablet ever made. There are so many companies that wanted to see the Surface RT fail that it was no wonder everyone thinks it sold poorly because it was not a good tablet. Before it was launched the Surface RT was rumored to be sold for NT$299. Microsoft hardware partners who were making their own RT tablets were incensed at this and insisted that MS raise the price to allow them to compete with their own more costly RT tablets. Even then, when MS set the price to be NT$499 to appease the hardware partners and sell poorly, they figured that they could not get the margin that they wanted so they bailed and canceled their RT tablets. It was unit profit not platform or device quality that determined the outcome. Of course these unhappy partners are going to conclude that Windows RT is a failure.
We who own Surface RT tablets know otherwise.