Despite of disappointing sales of devices based on Microsoft Corp.’s Windows RT operating system, Dell does not lose hope and remains committed to the Windows-on-ARM platform. One of the world’s largest makers of PCs believe that over time Windows RT improves, devices are going to become more competitive and the amount of applications for the OS will grow.
"Demand is not where I would like it to be at this point in time. The amount of market information about it is not good enough, and the market sentiment is still pretty negative," said Neil Hand, head of Dell's tablet and high-end PC business, in a conversation with Cnet News.
Even Microsoft itself sold only 1.1 million Surface RT in about four months of availability, despite its starting price of $499. Other companies, who were selling higher-priced WinRT-based devices, namely Asustek Computer, Dell and Lenovo Group, were disappointed with actual sales. Earlier this month all three slashed prices of their Windows RT-based devices. Samsung Electronics, a major consumer electronics company, not only did not start sales of Windows RT-based Ativ Tab in the U.S., but ceased shipments of the product to Europe as well last month.
The Windows RT looks and feels exactly like Windows 8, it has the same user interface and it can run Microsoft Office applications. Perhaps, Metro user interface is not the best one possible, but it is the same as on desktops, notebooks, smartphones and now tablet PCs. Not everything is rosy with the platform, it actually has two main disadvantages that may destroy all of its benefits: it is incompatible with applications developed for Windows x86 and x86-64 and it does not have a pool of programs enough to satisfy any consumer’s demand. At the same time, they cost more than consumer products based on Apple iOS and Google Android platforms, which have better software support.
Nonetheless, Dell remains committed to the platform. First of all, the improvements are being made to the OS itself and with Windows 8.1/Windows Blue everything should work better. Secondly, the amount of applications compatible with WoA is growing. Finally, the prices of devices will get more affordable with the future generations of system-on-chips.
“Over the long haul it should not matter if it is Windows on ARM, Windows on Intel, Windows on anything else. We will over time make sure we are strong and aggressive in the consumer price/consumption driven piece of the market,” said Mr. Hand in a conversation with IDG News Service.