Microsoft is controlling Windows 8 RT tablets very tightly, which is likely to result in only a handful of Windows 8 RT tablets coming out during the official launch.
Microsoft Strictly Controlling Windows 8 RT Tablet Productions And Partnerships
Microsoft has chosen only 3 companies for supporting Windows 8 RT with ARM chips. These are NVIDIA (of the Tegra fame); Texas Instruments (of the OMAP fame) and Qualcomm (of the Snapdragon fame). These companies however are not free to distribute their Windows 8 RT chips to whoever they like. Microsoft has only allowed two companies to form partnerships with each of these chipmakers to make Windows 8 RT tablets.
Qualcomm was supposedly working with Samsung and HP but then HP backed out. So Dell is apparently be considered for the position now. NVIDIA is going to supply its Tegra chips to ASUS and Lenovo. Texas Instruments has chosen to work with Toshiba.
Five OEMs working on tablets it by no means a small number. We will surely not be running out of options when Windows 8 RT tablets finally hit the market. Each OEM is sure to produce at least two models of tablets, which brings the minimum number up to ten models to try out. This is the first time ever that we have a comprehensive list of these OEMs and the respective partnerships.
Microsoft’s own Surface RT is surely going to grab some more attention than the other tablets and that is mainly because it is so very well designed. The OEMs will surely add their own flavors to their tablets to make them unique. The Windows RT tablets are going to be coming in after the main Windows 8 launch it seems. The latest information from the vine suggests an early 2013 announcement for these tablets at the yearly CES event.
The pricing is not clear at the moment but the Surface RT is expected to come for around $500, setting the precedent for others to follow, overshoot or undercut.