Microsoft sole Windows RT tablet vendor as Dell's XPS 10 is 'unavailable'

Dell no longer selling XPS 10 tablet models with Windows RT, after Lenovo, Asus and Samsung bailed on the device

Dell's XPS 10 is not available, a screenshot of the company's website

Dell's XPS 10 is not available, a screenshot of the company's website

Dell's XPS 10 tablet models with Windows RT have been removed from the company's website, which analysts said could leave Microsoft as the only vendor selling ARM-based tablets running versions of Windows RT.

The XPS 10 Web page lists models of the tablet as being "unavailable," and points users to the Latitude 10 tablet, which runs Windows 8 and has an Intel Atom processor. Microsoft, which sells Surface RT, is now the only device maker selling a tablet with Windows RT.

Dell is holding an event in New York on October 2 where the company will announce new tablets. The company did not comment on whether a new Windows RT 8.1 would be launched, but has showed a new 8-inch Venue tablet with Android OS and the Intel Atom processor code-named Bay Trail.

"We're going to be announcing our full tablet portfolio at the event in New York next week," said a Dell spokeswoman in an email

Dell was the only device maker other than Microsoft selling a Windows RT tablet after Lenovo, Asus and Samsung bailed out on the device. Dell is holding its tablet event ahead of Microsoft's release of Windows 8.1 RT as a free download for existing Windows RT devices after October 18. Microsoft has announced Surface 2, which is the first tablet based on Windows 8.1 RT.

Analysts said Dell could launch an XPS 10 successor with Windows RT 8.1, but chances are remote.

Right now, no device maker is interested in Windows RT other than Microsoft with its Surface 2, said Patrick Moorhead, founder and president of Moor Insights and Strategy.

"I think all we can assume is that Dell sold out their current inventory of RT tablets," Moorhead said.

Lenovo, Asus and Samsung have announced new Windows 8.1 hybrids with Intel chips, but have not indicated they would relaunch an RT product based on an ARM processor.

Companies typically don't stop selling products that are doing well, and the discontinuation of XPS 10 is just the latest RT failure, said Jack Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates.

"I just don't see why you would stop selling your existing product until the new product comes out," Gold said.

A Dell tablet with Windows RT 8.1 product could be announced next month, but that wouldn't be a smart business decision, Gold said.

"If they do, they will be bucking the trend of other vendors getting out of RT," Gold said.

But there are always exceptions, and there is a remote possibility that Dell may give Windows 8.1 RT a try with a new tablet. But in the long run, Dell is moving to Android and Windows 8 for its tablets, said Bob O'Donnell, vice president for clients and displays research at IDC.

Existing XPS 10 users will likely get an upgrade to Windows 8.1 RT, O'Donnell said. The XPS 10 runs on a Snapdragon chipset with Qualcomm, which has collaborated with Microsoft on the new OS.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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