With only one month passing since Windows 8’s launch, it’s really too early to weigh in on whether the OS has been a success. After all, the x86-based tablets and convertibles that play to Win8’s strengths aren’t even out yet. One can, however, buy a number of different ARM-based devices running Windows RT. Microsoft’s own Surface RT tablet has the highest profile among those devices, and its sales appear to be much lower than expected. According to DigiTimes’ sources in the Taiwanese supply chain, Microsoft’s initial order of four million Surface RT tablets has been cut in half.
The Surface isn’t the only Windows RT device that’s supposedly suffering. DigiTimes’ sources claim that demand is also weak for similar systems from Asus, Dell, and Samsung. The latest NPD data seems to corroborate that assertion, noting that tablets have made up less than one percent of Windows 8 device sales thus far. NPD’s report explicitly excludes Surface sales, but there’s no indication that other Windows RT devices were left out of the calculations.
If sales of Windows RT devices are weak, consumers could be holding out for tablets and convertibles running the full-fat version of Windows 8. Compatiblity with x86 applications is kind of a big deal for those who need to do real work. Other folks may simply be waiting to see what budget Win8 tablets based on Intel’s Clover Trail processor have in store before deciding whether to go that route or pick up something with Windows RT.