There are a couple of Windows RT devices out there right now, and more are on the way. Acer won’t be throwing its hat into the ring until later than expected, though. Mixed reviews of Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet have reportedly made Acer delay plans to release its own device based on the operating system. Reuters has the scoop straight from Acer President Jim Wong, who says the company initially intended to release a WinRT system very early next year but will now wait until at least the second quarter.
In the meantime, Acer plans to continue developing its Windows RT tablet. It has “many questions to address with regards to manufacturing and pricing,” Reuters says, and I’m not surprised. A couple of weeks ago, Asus’ VivoTab RT was set to sell for $599, plus $199 for the optional keyboard dock. Asus is now throwing in the keyboard for free, although that appears to be a limited-time offer. That last-minute deal is likely a response to the Surface RT, which sells for $499 and has keyboard accessories in the $120-130 range.
Acer has been critical of Microsoft’s decision to compete with hardware makers by selling its own tablets, and the Surface RT’s low price appears to be a particular sore point. I guess Acer had planned to sell its own Windows RT tablet for more than $499. Wong also seems to express some doubt about whether Windows RT will catch on, noting that Acer will be watching how aggressively Microsoft promotes the operating system and how consumers respond to it. WinRT’s lack of x86 application support is a significant limitation that may relegate the OS to niche status.
Acer does have a number of new tablets designed to run Windows 8, and one of them is poised to compete with Windows RT devices; Newegg already has a pre-order listing for the W510-1666, a 10.1″ tablet that boasts a Clover Trail Atom CPU, a 1366×768 display resolution, and 64GB of flash storage. The $599 asking price doesn’t appear to include the optional keyboard dock, which isn’t listed at Newegg just yet.