HP is going to make tablets with Windows 8, but has decided not to offer devices that run Windows RT on ARM-based processors. This announcement has set off speculation that Microsoft’s Surface tablet is scaring away competitors.
There are going to be two versions of Microsoft’s next operating system. One of these will run on the x86 processors that have traditionally been at the heart of desktops and laptops. The other is being created specifically for tablets and runs on ARM-based CPUs that are used on mobile devices, including the Apple iPad.
According to Marlene Somsack, an HP spokesperson, “Our first Windows 8 tablet will be on the x86 platform focused on the business market.” She went on to say, “The decision to go with x86 was influenced by input from our customers. The robust and established ecosystem of x86 applications provides the best customer experience at this time and in the immediate future.”
Tablets running x86 chips are going to be more powerful as they can run the full library of Windows software, but these devices are also expected to be more expensive and have a shorter battery life. ARM-based tablets will be more consumer-oriented.
Still, Somsack did not close the door on the idea of an HP tablet running Windows RT. “At HP, we continue to look at using ARM processors in business and consumer products.”
HP’s First Tablet
This news should not come as a complete surpise. Several months ago, the details of HP’s first Windows 8 tablet supposedly leaked out of this company, including an image of the product:
The Slate 8 will reportedly run Windows 8 Pro and have a 10.1-inch capacitive touchscreen plus 8 – 10 hours of battery life. All other details have not yet been revealed.
Is Surface to Blame?
Microsoft recently unveiled an ARM-based tablet that it will release later this year. There has been considerable speculation that this device, the Microsoft Surface, is the reason HP won’t make its own tablet running Windows RT.
On the other hand, it’s also possible that Microsoft decided to offer the Surface because it knew that companies like HP were going to focus their efforts on x86-based tablets and skip Windows RT.