Windows RT still alive at Acer: spokesperson

Statement follows Acer concerns about Microsoft building its own Surface RT tablet

Acer plans to produce Windows RT devices at some point, according to a company spokesperson.

That statement comes after Acer's CEO blasted Microsoft for building the Surface RT tablet. On Monday, Microsoft excluded Acer from its list of Windows RT device makers.

"Acer plans to incorporate Windows RT into our product roadmap, but we have not yet confirmed the timing of our product launches," an Acer spokeswoman told Computerworld today.

In June, Acer President Jim Wong said the Taiwan-based manufacturer would release ARM-based devices running Windows RT in the first quarter of 2013. He didn't specify it would be a tablet, calling it a "portable device."

The latest statement from Acer comes after a Monday blog from Microsoft indicated that Asus, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung will produce ARM-based PC designs.

Neither Acer nor Toshiba was listed by Microsoft as producers of Windows RT devices, even though both had indicated intentions earlier to build Windows RT tablets.

Analysts posited that Microsoft's blog might only refer to makers that will have Windows RT devices ready in time for an Oct. 26 release, along with Microsoft's own Surface RT 10.6-in. tablet and the Windows 8 OS,.

After the blog appeared, Toshiba confirmed it won't be delivering a Windows RT tablet -- for now -- because of delays in obtaining components.

Earlier this month, Acer CEO JT Wang ignited a controversy when he said Microsoft's Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets will drive a wedge between Microsoft and its hardware partners. In an interview, he urged Microsoft to "please think twice" about building Surface.

Analysts have noted that hardware partners will have to pay Microsoft for a Windows RT license atop their costs to build such tablets, and won't have the ability to recoup losses through apps sales and content as Microsoft would.

Microsoft is also rumored to be selling its Surface RT tablet for $199 to compete against the Galaxy Nexus 7 by Google and others. If true, that price will cause hardware partners further concerns, analysts said. Microsoft's cost to build each Surface RT is probably as much as $600, several analysts said.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

See more by Matt Hamblen on Computerworld.com.

Read more about tablets in Computerworld's Tablets Topic Center.

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Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
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