News out of CeBIT, the largest consumer electronics show in the world, indicates that Samsung will no longer be selling its Windows RT tablet in Germany and other unspecified European regions. A company spokesperson explained the reason to Heise Online, saying forecasted sales are low. This follows Samsung’s prior decision to not even launch its Ativ Tab with Windows RT in the U.S. But if you’ve followed the Windows tablet product cycle for the past few months, this really shouldn’t be surprising.
I pointed out the problem with Windows RT back in January. It’s not a bad operating system or product. In fact, I like the touch-friendly experience provided by Windows RT and the modern user interface. If it had more apps that I use on a daily basis, I’d like it even more. And the battery life of such slates is typically in the eight to 10 hour range thanks to the power efficient ARM chips inside. There’s a problem, however: consumers can get full Windows 8 tablets running on Intel’s Atom chip for comparable prices.
Here’s a generic breakdown of the product market from my January post that illustrates why there’s a very limited market for Windows RT currently:
“Consumers have three choices when it comes to Windows tablets. They can buy
- ARM-based: A Windows RT tablet for around $500 that has acceptable performance, a Desktop limited to Microsoft Office use, no support for legacy software and a device that runs for about 10 hours on a charge.
- Intel Atom-based: A Windows 8 tablet for around $500 that has slightly better performance, no desktop or software installation limitations and runs for 8 to 10 hours on a charge.
- Intel Core-based: A windows 8 tablet for around $900 that offers the best performance, has no desktop or software installation limitations and runs for 4 to 5 hours on a charge.”
Let’s look at Samsung’s own tablets in this scope.
Using Amazon’s site for Germany, you can find the Samsung Ativ Tab with 32 GB of storage running Windows RT for 600.39 euros. But the Samsung Ativ Smart PC with 64 GB of storage running Windows 8 is 629 euros. For an extra five percent out of pocket, you get similar battery life, more local storage capacity, the same modern user interface and — this is key — the ability to run hundreds of thousands of legacy apps.
If you don’t need support for Windows applications, you might opt for the Windows RT version, I suppose, but why not pay the small premium as a “just in case” scenario and the greater storage capacity? I would, particularly because I’d also gain my choice of browser.
Again, the issue with Windows RT products isn’t necessarily the product itself. The issue is that it’s generally priced too comparably to Windows 8 systems that offer more. Samsung knows this. I’d argue that Samsung actually already knew this and that’s why it never launched the product in the U.S. to begin with. Selling its Windows RT tablet in Europe was probably more wishful thinking rather than a long-term strategy.