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

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?

TOPICS: Windows, Samsung, ARM

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, Samsung, ARM

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  • Fingers crossed.

    Who else will join the windows rt crowd?
    • There is only 1 group of people who are scared by this

      See if you can pick them out from the posts in this blog. Hint: they all work for Apple.
  • Surprise surprise.....

    ...lots of interest here I see.
  • Every OEM will join the RT crowd...

    Every OEM will join the RT crowd eventually, currently the 'seats' are limited and only selected OEMs are allowed to build.
  • Can someone explain this statement...

    "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." This is in reference to HP.

    I realize the majority of the minority share and minority of the minority share are saying you are looking at the bigger chunk and smaller chunk of the smaller market. However, what is this minority we are speaking about?

    Currently, Windows 8 and Windows RT are unreleased operating systems in which case one wouldn't count them in the market share equation. It also remains to be seen which will do better.

    If the minority share is in respect to HP, I thought a previous sentence was saying that it (HP) is the largest PC maker, which would make it the majority, not the minority.

    Also, I would think metro apps could be perfectly legit for some companies to use. It would certainly be niche. A company that has all Windows Phone 8 devices could have metro apps on their phones, tablets, and computers... of course, this would all be pending some kind of agreement with Microsoft to allow the app on the market for only those people. WP8 is supposed to be waaaaay more corporate-user friendly after all...
    • re: majority of the minority share

      I suspect that HP is talking about tablet positions here. For HP tablets are a minority product where they have much more experience and success with x86 (majority) products than they do with ARM (minority) products.

      Just my two cents...
  • Samsung plans Windows RT tablet: A 'cover all bases' land grab?

    More like a jump ahead of the competition. With Samsung getting into Microsoft Windows RT tablets they will have the upper hand compared to those who don't want to build them such as HP. Either adapt or be left behind and that's what Samsung is doing.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Says the guy...

      That continually stated that tablets are a fad and wouldn't last.
  • They're a business out to make a profit

    Why wouldn't they make a Windows RT Tablet?
    Michael Alan Goff
    • Windows RT tablet

      An Windows RT tablet has only one difference with an Android tablet: a locked boot loader to do "secure boot" of Windows 8. The hardware is the same.

      Why would not Samsung agree to reflash some amount of their tablet production with Windows 8 boot code? If Windows RT tablets do not sell, Samsung will just continue flashing Android to those tablets.
  • But but but, ZDNet talkbackers promised this would never happen

    We've been hearing for weeks now that all OEMs have felt like they were "stabbed in the back" and "poisoned" by the Surface and that all OEMs would abandon Microsoft.

    Isn't it weird that all those who PROMISED that this would never happen are now conspicuously absent. Where did you all go?
    • Try Google

      That is, search :) You might find out.

      But an Windows RT tablet is nothing different from an Android tablet. It just get's loaded with Windows RT at the factory, instead of with Android. Big deal!
      Samsung will keep producing the same tablets --- you get loaded what you request.

      The important question is whether these will sell. That is, what percentage of the tablets that Samsung produces will be loaded with Windows RT and what percentage, with Android.
      Or something else :)
      • Actually

        The base hardware will be the same or close. However there are other required hardware requirements and key's/buttons. So no they are not the same but close.
  • Throw. Sticks. Repeat.

    None of the vendors who came out with Android tablets -- except maybe Amazon -- can be happy about their sales results. They would all like to have something that actually sells. Windows is the obvious next thing to try.

    It looks like this is more of a toe-in-the-water effort than a full-blown commitment. Samsung is apparently taking Qualcomm's reference design and putting it into production, as opposed to spending any hardware R&D of their own to use their own ARM processor, or even just to port RT to the Galaxy Tab line. If this one sells, the next model can use actual Samsung components. If it doesn't sell, they can walk away without a lot invested.
    Robert Hahn
    • Actually, Samsung is doing better

      in the Android tablet market than Amazon (according to this article).
    • As expected.

      Samsung and other Android OEMs basically recycled some of their Android hardware for WP7.

      Samsung is the biggest "let's throw this on the wall to see what sticks" company so no surprise here.
      • If the hardware is the same for WP8 & Android.....

        If what you say is true, then I hope Samsung reflashes some Notes into WP 8. Add that to a Samsung RT tablet, and life is beautiful. Samsung's hardware quality is great...I have a Focus on WP7.5 since the day WP was released and never had any problems with the phone or the OS.

        If I want a malware magnet knock-off version of iOS.....well I don't. I love Metro but if the reality of W8 doesn't match the hype, I'll choose the lesser of two evils and go iPhone 5 and iPad.
  • "vastly don't exist"

    Dude, you need an editor.
  • Sorry, it's a rectangle and might be confused for an iPad...

    ...Samsung can't sell it.

    "Your comment contains words or phrases associated with spam and will not appear on the site until it has been checked by a moderator."

    Really ZDNet? What's spam in this message?
  • Proofread Fail

    I'm sorry, but this isn't a sentence:

    "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."

    Where are the proofreaders on this site? It's a Frankenstein's monster of a run-on and a fragment, which I didn't even know was possible. In addition, including using the word 'as' five times in one sentence can't be good writing. I couldn't even get to the real point of the article after reading this gibberish.