ARM’s Windows debut isn’t exactly off to an auspicious start. Big-name manufacturers such as HP and Toshiba pulled back plans to launch a Windows RT tablet in the months before the operating system’s launch, while the units that did make it to market haven’t exactly taken off. Now, Samsung says it doesn’t plan to release its Ativ Windows RT tablet Stateside, mere days after Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer highlighted the Ativ Tab during his surprise appearance at Qualcomm’s CES 2013 keynote.
There simply isn’t roaring demand for Windows RT tablets in the U.S., Samsung Senior Vice President Mike Abrary told CNET. That lackluster demand may be tied in the second reason Samsung is slamming the brakes on the Ativ: consumer ignorance and confusion swirling around Windows 8 and Windows RT.
Abrary claims that Samsung conducted extensive studies over the past months and found there simply isn’t enough education out there about the differences between the two operating systems. Getting the word out to raise knowledge levels would require significant investment from Samsung, he says—which, when combined with Windows RT’s poor performance at retail, prompted Samsung to sit this one out.
Acer also recently pushed back the launch date for its Windows RT tablet to the second quarter of 2013, citing concerns about consumer demand and competition from Microsoft’s own Surface RT tablet.
Possible consumer confusion was a major concern for Windows RT even before the operating system launched, as Microsoft didn’t expend much marketing effort to explain the difference between Windows RT and Windows 8. ARM-powered Windows RT tablets can’t run classic Windows desktop programs, only new Modern-style Windows 8 apps, though the mobile-centric ARM chips give Windows RT tablets a far lengthier battery duration for tablets, laptops and hybrids powered by an Intel- or AMD-made x86 processor. Those companies are working hard to increase the energy efficiency of their chips, however—and if they’re successful Samsung may not be the only OEM halting its Windows RT plans.