Lenovo appears to be the latest hardware manufacturer working on an ARM-based Windows RT tablet. The Wall Street Journal reports that Lenovo has teamed up with Nvidia to create its Windows RT device and the publication hints that it will be a convertible one “with a keyboard that flips around to turn the product into a tablet.” Previous reports revealed that Microsoft has been working with a variety of chipmakers and OEMs to limit variations based on chipset and device manufacturer partnerships. Nvidia has reportedly partnered with Lenovo in this regard, providing its ARM-based chip to the Chinese PC giant.
More Windows RT tablets expected in January
Although the idea of Windows RT tablets from major OEMs isn’t surprising, most have been somewhat reluctant to announce their ARM-based Windows hardware. Samsung and Dell are rumored to be preparing their own Windows RT-based tablets, but Microsoft and Asus are the only two who have officially announced products. Microsoft is reportedly lifting Windows RT licensing restrictions in January, which will likely open up the new operating system to other hardware manufacturers — paving the way for more Windows RT tablets at CES 2013. HP has opted out of creating a Windows RT-based device initially, deciding to focus on a business Intel-powered Windows 8 tablet. With Lenovo also unveiling its business-focused ThinkPad 2 Tablet recently, it’s clear that some manufacturers see Intel-based tablets as a way to tap into the enterprise market for new tablet form factors.
Microsoft has yet to detail its own Surface pricing. The software giant is planning to introduce its Surface for Windows RT tablet at the same time as Windows 8 general availability on October 26th. Unveiled at a “major” press event in June, Microsoft’s Surface tablet will include a somewhat limited version of Office 2013, and pricing is expected to be competitive with a comparable ARM tablet. Surface may have some manufacturers upset, but others continue unfazed at Microsoft’s hardware attempt. Ultimately, pricing will play a big role in the success of Windows RT, and providing licensing costs for Microsoft’s ARM-based version are lower than the rumored $85 per device then we should see competitive pricing from Asus, Lenovo, Samsung, Dell, and even Microsoft.