Asus to ditch ARM-based Windows RT tablets

Asus to ditch ARM-based Windows RT tablets

Summary: The Taiwanese PC maker is saying goodbye to Windows RT.


Asus was one of the first manufacturers to release a Windows RT ARM-based device. Now, it's pulling the plug on the platform altogether.

The Taiwanese PC maker released three 10.1-inch Windows VivoTab RT tablets earlier this year, but will put further work on the platform on hold due to its lack of popularity, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Industry sentiment was that "Windows RT has not been successful", Asus' chief exec, Jerry Shen, told the paper, noting it had taken a write down on the ARM-based tablets without providing a figure.

The company will instead focus on Windows 8 devices that run Intel chips, which offers wider backwards compatibility than Windows RT devices.

An Asus UK spokesperson was unable to provide further details about the company's reported move. However, the shift is unsurprising following Asus chairman Johnny Shih's comments a week earlier that Asus was ploughing resources into devices that run on Intel chips rather than ARM.

Earlier this year, Asus' Shen was optimistic about prospects for Windows 8 tablet amid speculation the company was to release smaller, cheaper tablets on the OS, though at the time it wasn't clear whether that would be Windows RT or Windows 8.

News of Asus' planned move away from Windows RT and ARM come as Nvidia blamed an expected 40 percent fall in Tegra revenue on lower than expected sales of Windows RT devices.

Tablets that run on Nvidia's Tegra chips include Asus VivoTab RT and Microsoft's now heavily discounted Surface RT, which contributed to Microsoft’s $900m writedown announced last month.

But unlike Asus, Microsoft has said that it has no plans to abandon work on Windows RT or Surface RT.

Topics: Tablets, Hardware, Microsoft, Windows 8

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • Windows RT = another dead Kin

    The end is near for Windows RT and Surface RT.

    It's a dead platform walking. Place your bets as to when the whole platform will be axed. They have sold as badly as the Kin did.
    • Synergy

      There is a major difference between RT and Kin: Synergy.

      RT kernel development is the same as Windows Phone kernel development. They are the same kernel, running on ARM. As long as the kernel development of Windows Phone is paid for there is no additional cost to develop the RT kernel, since they are the same.

      RT APIs will be merged with Windows Phone APIs, so the API maintenance cost can be shared between the 2 systems. Most of the development of these APIs directly benefits Windows for x86/x64 machines, which run Metro apps as well.

      As long as Microsoft keeps developing Windows Phone, dragging along Windows RT comes at negligible cost.

      On the other hand, even without selling a single RT machine, it's guaranteed that the App Store will grow, just because it's the same store that's used by Windows 8. RT is the only platform which can get more apps without having to be widely distributed.
      • "They are the same kernel, running on ARM."

        How do you know that? Did you see the source code? Did you compile and run it?
        • here you go

          Ram U
          • So Windows 8 finally reaches parity with

            Linux... from 5 years ago.
          • Re: here you go

            So you don't know any of this, first hand?

            Instead, you read into rumor what you desire. Some call this wishful thinking.

            Considering, that Windows uses microkernel, "having the same kernel" means practically nothing. Nothing more than "shares the same DOS loading DLLs".
          • your link

            doesn't point me where I can view the code, download it and compile ( possibly for some ARM SoCs) .
  • Asus to ditch ARM-based Windows RT tablets

    Their loss. Asus must not like making money.
    • yes it was "their loss"

      they were losing money not making it. MS itself took a huge write off, who could want to stick with such a platform that is obviously doomed.
    • Branding

      RT branding is an issue. I guess it comes with high return rates because of bad consumer education. For a consumer it's very hard to tell the Vivo RT and Windows 8 models apart.

      Microsoft screwed up the same thing by using the Surface brand for both RT and Windows 8 machines.

      That's how selling RT can get very expensive. I can't see anyone but Nokia having a good branding opportunity to sell RT. But they would need more capital to do so.
  • Asus

    Never really tried to sell their tablet anyway. You see commercials for their android offerings, but apparently they expected their RT offering to sell itself.
    Michael Alan Goff
    • Asus made the right choices

      Personally I think Asus made the best RT tablet on the market, but at a starting price of $600+ it was never going to compete against Androids and iPads.

      Assuming Intel prices the bay trail chips competitively with ARM chips, there is no reason for an OEM to make a WindowsRT device when they could make a Windows8 device.

      Even so, the current intel atom chips are competitive with ARM chips. So why make a device running WindowsRT and have to explain to users why it will not run all their programs, when an atom chip doesn't have that limitation?
      • Edit: asus made the right choice dropping WindowsRT

        It is now up to Microsoft to make WindowsRT a success or scrap it.

        There just isn't much reason for OEMs to make WindowsRT devices right.
        • Re: There just isn't much reason for OEMs to make WindowsRT devices right.

          Yes, and as things turn out, Microsoft has only one choice: to go the Apple route, building and selling their own kit. Microsoft is however no Apple...

          Both going that route and abandoning WinRT is bad choice. Probably time for Microsoft to bribe OEMs again.
          • What? resort to Google tactics and bribe?

            Or maybe a private invite of Apple's CEO with the President, a day after the govenment dropped it's ban on Apple products!

            You mean something like that?

            I'm sorry, I wasn't supposed to bring that up? I don't mean to discredit you, it just...happens.
            William Farrel
          • have you been sleeping for 20 years, William

            >>resort to Google tactics and bribe?
            No, that's your beloved Microsoft. NDA's with OEMs for x86 machines to, say, not sell any machines without Windows OS.
      • My point was

        That they got poor sales because they put no effort in beyond making the device.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • Re: Assuming Intel prices the bay trail chips competitively with ARM chips

        Not possible.

        Thing is, Intel made the wrong bet. They invested a whole lot of money into highest tech fabs, to produce denser chips, thus somehow managing to offset the better architecture rivals like AMD had... But, those extremely expensive fabs are only sustainable, if you sell expensive chips. Like the Xeons... Or the Haswell.

        At the same time, ARM uses much more streamlined architecture, that provides better performance utilizing much cheaper fabs. This is the rock.
        The hard place is the abysmal performance of Microsoft, who weren't able to drive interest in new PCs and thus new Intel desktop CPUs...

        There might be still winning choices for Intel, but selling chips cheap is not one of these.
        • because Intel has never made a low cost line of chips to compete

          with other chip makers?

          I'm not sure why you think these types of things are not possible.
          • Because he's likely paid to speak negatively about Microsoft

            don't be fooled, it's become obvious to quite a few people here what HIS motives in posting are.
            William Farrel