Samsung plans Windows RT tablet: A 'cover all bases' land grab?

Summary:Samsung is said to be planning a Windows RT tablet, according to reports, but is the move a bid to 'hands in all pots' to take on its arch-rival in the table space?

Samsung is planning to announce an ARM-powered tablet running Windows RT --- known as Windows 8 on ARM --- according to Bloomberg, citing sources familiar with the matter. 

There's little to go on besides rumblings that the device will feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and that the company expects to launch around the same time as parent operating system Windows 8 is released into the wild --- expected in or around October.

Samsung's move to add as many fingers to as many pies as it attempts to serve its entire customer base as it seeks to take on the tablet market as it saw with its smartphone dominance.

The Korean-based technology giant has a quarter of the smartphone market, while its closest competitor LG has 18 percent. Apple has 15 percent of the smartphone market. 

All Samsung can do is take on each and every platform it can and cater to all its audiences, even if it fragments its hardware and "does a Nokia," in which the former phone giant would tweak its phone models with a boosted camera or a removable case and market it as an entirely different device, and so on. 

HP, the world's largest PC maker with more than 17 percent of the global share, said last week it would not back Windows RT from the start , with a launch expected in October. Instead it will take the x86 chip approach and cater to those in the majority of the minority share, rather than the niche minority of the minority share.

Analysts have also warned that Windows 8 will on the whole "disappoint" --- at least from its initial public debut --- and face difficulty in getting off the starting line. That leaves its Windows RT counterpart floundering around for customers that generally don't exist. 

In the year-to-date, Google unveiled its Android-powered Nexus 7 and Microsoft unveiled its own Windows RT-based Surface tablet. Apple could be on 7-inch tablet warpath giving iOS a further run for its money, and Amazon is highly expected to announce a Kindle Fire upgrade, adding further stress to an already burgeoning tablet market.

Apple has more than 50 percent of the tablet hardware market, while Samsung has just over 10 percent. Amazon is in third place with five percent.

As ZDNet's Larry Dignan explained, because Windows 8 tablets with x86 Intel chips run older business applications flawlessly, the only route into the business setting is if employees adopt BYOD and bring in an ARM-powered Windows RT device from home.

Apple's next move, as the tablet market share leader, could be crucial and strike a killer blow to the Windows 8 on ARM family. For those who can't afford a regular iPad, a 7-inch model with a massively reduced price could sweeten the deal. Those in the smaller section of the tablet market that want a tablet but don't want or can't afford an iPad will choose Android. With Windows RT, it's not about bringing a device from home to work, but it's the temptation to bring work back home on the tablet.

ZDNet sought comment from Samsung, but did not receive a reply at the time of writing. Microsoft, Samsung, and ARM declined to comment to Bloomberg.

Image credit: CNET.

Topics: Windows, ARM, Samsung

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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