DigiTimes says Surface RT orders cut in half

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.

Comments closed
    • izmanq
    • 7 years ago

    they probably better stop the production 😀

    • Jeff Grant
    • 7 years ago

    Our Dell reps brought us an XPS 12 with the flip screen today to play with at work. It had 4gb of ram, 128gb ssd and an i5 running full Win8. I played around with it for about 10 to 15min or so. It certainly looked really cool and the flip screen is neat (magnets locked it in place when used as a laptop), but I would be worried about long term reliability. Maybe the outer ring is made of some high strength stuff (magnesium?), but I always felt the same way about flip phones. A hinge will take abuse and break, especially if it’s dropped even a short distance.

    I had one of the old core duo based HP tablets that pivoted at the middle and flipped at my last job and I think the only reason it didn’t break is that I never used it as a tablet. Other peoples were collapsing all the time.

    Other than that, I did notice that it was heavy for a tablet- of course it was packed with fast hardware. I asked about battery life and there were some mixed answers – go figure. So again it seems it wants to be the best of both worlds, but there are sacrifices. Any one else mess with some of these ‘convertables’ yet?

    • obarthelemy
    • 7 years ago

    I’ve been trying to find reasons to buy an RT:

    – Hardware: nice mechanics (it seems especially important that the stand “clicks”), sucky entrails, screens…
    – OS: Livetiles are less useful than Android’s widgets; Desktop Mode is useless since there is a single app for it (Office); split screen is nice.
    – Apps: Office, and nothing. No dlna, no multiformat video player…

    So, the market for the Surface is: People who need Office, enough to forgo better hardware, OS, and all other apps, but don’t need x86 and all the other apps it does bring. Oh, and liking clicky sounds is a plus.

    Guess what ? not many of those.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      +1 for calling the hardware ‘entrails’. Keep it classy, San Diego!

    • windwalker
    • 7 years ago

    [quote=”Geoff Gasior”<]it's really too early to weigh in on whether the OS has been a success[/quote<] All of this caution reminds me of the tradition of keeping vigil over the dead and its origins. No need to wait anymore. Microsoft may be drunk, but Windows RT isn't. If it's not breathing and doesn't have a pulse it's dead.

    • DancinJack
    • 7 years ago

    It keeps getting better!

    [url<]https://twitter.com/surface/status/274226595051483136[/url<]

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      5-6 hours is standard for ultrabooks. it’s what i expected.

      i see we might be expecting 4…. that’s low….

    • link626
    • 7 years ago

    i think most of us knew this was going to happen from a mile away.

    • LaChupacabra
    • 7 years ago

    I have one of the Core i5 Lenovo Yoga 13’s sitting on my desk right now (setting up for a client) and I have to say it’s impressive. The screen is fantastic, the interface (start button aside, and that can be fixed) works really really well, and it is substantially faster than any arm tablet I have tried. The form factor is a little iffy, but the Asus or Microsoft devices should be amazing to use.

      • Vulk
      • 7 years ago

      That’s not even the same class of hardware. Why are you brining this up? Ultrabook != Surface with Windows RT even remotely.

        • LaChupacabra
        • 7 years ago

        Right, but the part at the end where Geoff said “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” I was expressing my opinion of agreement with that.

        But you clear mastery of staying on topic is obvious given that frankly brilliant reply.

    • jdaven
    • 7 years ago

    The one big reason I would buy an x86 MS tablet is to try Blizzard games (Diable, Warcraft, Starcraft but not WoW) on a touch screen. I think that would be cool.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      I too am interested in an x86 Win 8 tablet for some old school turn-based gaming. Games from 5-10+ years ago that aren’t graphically intensive (2D isometric, turn-based) ought to run fine on an Atom.

      • Vulk
      • 7 years ago

      I’m not sure they would translate very well. Although you don’t have to wait you can go to best buy and buy a touchscreen device now and try it out then return it… Diablo 3 was somewhat tollerable when I tried it. Not a SC fan. WoW was a non-starter since you couldn’t easily move and fight.

      I say this having done this on a RDP using a iPad… Not fun.

    • Disco
    • 7 years ago

    I have no interest in the RT due to the incompatibility issues. Just because it comes with some stripped down version of Office isn’t remotely enticing. I already have a Samsung Galaxy tab (free from a Telus promotion) which comes bundled with Polaris Office, which already does likely as much as the RT office version. It doesn’t seem to have any advantage over the Android tablets, and is definitely less attractive than the ipad due to the lower screen res and weak ‘ecosystem’.

    On the other hand, I am very interested in the full Surface Pro tablet. It’s one big advantage over the ipad is its compatibility with existing x86 programs. And that is a BIG advantage. But the price cannot be significantly greater than the equivalent high end ipad+keyboard accessories or Asus transformer equivalent. I realize that it is similar in specs to an ultrabook, but if they want to capture any marketshare then they should lower the specs to meet the price target. No one should expect to do advanced photoshop work on a surface pro tablet. There is no need for that power. What people should expect is to be able to surf the web, do basic office editing, use it for powerpoint presentations, and be able to play older pc games (halflife 2 and older) plus any of the current touchscreen/mobile apps. Lower specs would also improve the battery life.

    I’m interested in a Pro with 64 GB, up to about $800 including a keyboard. Otherwise, I’m more likely to go for something like a Lenovo Yoga convertible notebook.

      • BIF
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]...on the other hand, I am very interested in the full Surface Pro tablet. Its one big advantage over the ipad is its compatibility with existing x86 programs...[/quote<] I would be interested if I could run 64-bit Cakewalk Sonar or Cubase. But it's unlikely that the needed infrastructure would be available (support for VST plugins, audio/MIDI inputs, USB MIDI inputs, license dongle support). Why yes, now that I think about it, I suppose that's right: What I'm really asking for is an actual computer.

        • misuspita
        • 7 years ago

        They will.. If not this generation, maybe the next… Being a full windows, the hardware needs to be powerfull enough to run vst’s , and I think software will be there.

        • Disco
        • 7 years ago

        That’s true. I guess that is essentially what I am interested in… a Windows computer in tablet form. And that’s the one big potential advantage that the surface pro would have over the ipads. There is no concern over limited app availability if you have an entire windows back catalog. But the price would have to be within the range I mentioned, otherwise a convertible laptop would be more practical across a range of applications (worth the premium).

    • kvndoom
    • 7 years ago

    Photoshop request:

    I really, really, REALLY want a photoshop of Ballmer’s face on Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf’s infamous “denial” pose.

      • Ringofett
      • 7 years ago

      Funny you brought that up, I was talking to what turned out to be some younger guys the other day and they had NO recollection of my favorite Iraqi minister. Guess I can’t blame them, they might not have even been in high school at the time, but hell, I remember the first time a Bush rolled Iraq. Thanks for making me feel old, internet trolls 😛

    • tootercomputer
    • 7 years ago

    The x86 Surface is what I am wdaiting for, with th i5 processor. But now I wonder if MS will bkow it by over-prricing. They have done just a terrible job rolling out and pricing the Surface RT. Just lousy.

      • jdaven
      • 7 years ago

      Pricing has already been released on an MS blog post. See DancinJack’s comment in this page.

        • tootercomputer
        • 7 years ago

        I am waiting for the fat lady to sing. If the RT numbers are as bas as they appear, come Jauary, 2013, MS may be compelled to lower prices. They would be nuts not to do so, although we are talking about MS:)

    • Tristan
    • 7 years ago

    Let they cut price in half, maybe MS fanboys will be interested.

    • Esoth
    • 7 years ago

    I suppose there’s some master plan with these sorts of dual-releases, but its hard to seen the sense in it. I am holding out for the Surface Windows Pro (yeah, I know about the price), so even though I am a certain and enthusiastic buyer of the Surface, right now I’m not registering anywhere. I’m willing to pay $ for the model I want, but not willing to pay $ for the RT version in the meantime. What I was particularly interested in was the reactions to the physical keyboard, so in that sense the RT is a kind of shakedown cruise for the WinPro version. I think the dynamic works better if you release the topline model first, and then later release a less costly, scaled down version. If the WinPro Surface is really nifty, sells reasonably well and creates some buzz, then you release the RT to reach a different demographic and sub-market. But doing it backwards instead, you release the cheaper model first, which disappoints even in comparison to the pending WinPro Surface specs, and you’ve effectively put a ceiling on your own initial launch. When, in early 2013, I go to get my WinPro Surface, there will already have been too many months of low or negative buzz about the device to make for a good, hearty launch.

    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    Honestly, who wanted an ARM version of Windows?

    Trying to pass RT off as a real, production version of “Windows” is one of the bigger marketing blunders Microsoft have made in a while.

    It pales into insignificance though, compared to the blunder of [b<][i<]releasing the SurfaceRT ahead of the 'proper' Surface.[/i<][/b<] People have been waiting a decade for a tablet-friendly version of the full-fat Windows OS. When the RT hit the press first, the world heard lovely snippets such as "incompatible" and "cut-down versions" Microsoft would have done much better to Launch Windows 8 on the Surface, and then trickle out the desktop OS and the RT in it's wake. All the criticism about Windows 8 so far stems from one of two main problems: [list<][*<]The RT version of Windows is incompatible and only runs cut-down applets[/*<][*<]The desktop OS suffers from having touch features forcefully shoved onto non-touch devices.[/*<][/list<] Any idiot can see that the best possible Windows8 experience is an x86 tablet offering both compatibility and the touch-friendly interface we've been waiting so long for....

      • tviceman
      • 7 years ago

      I would have bought Surface RT within the first week or so of launch had it been $450 with the keyboard cover.

        • Chrispy_
        • 7 years ago

        So if it had been priced like other high-quality x86-incompatible devices such as the iPad, Transformer and Galaxy Tab, you’d have bought one?

        That makes sense, since you’re not in the market for an x86-compatible tablet I guess. Perhaps I’m wrong in associating the word “Windows” with “compatible” since that is what it means [i<]to me[/i<]. Software compatibility is one of the major reasons that I don't do much on my Android, and why I haven't moved to Linux yet.

          • tviceman
          • 7 years ago

          nevermind

          • ludi
          • 7 years ago

          What most people need from a tablet that they can’t get on any x86-incompatible device is basic support for Office documents, and preferably support without the H&S crippleware license. I don’t care if some of the advanced features are disabled, just make it work for all the basics.

      • Vulk
      • 7 years ago

      All they needed to do was enable CLR compiled applications to be able to run in the desktop mode and they would have had a somewhat useful product on their hand. My company makes touch software for windows for use in Hosptials and that device would have been awesome. Unfortunately due to marketing decisions in the way they want to sell Metro apps, we cannot recompile the code to RT and maintain the 3rd party library support we need in order to stay in legal compliance with medical record regulations. So yeah, a lighter device with longer battery life would have been f’ing awesome, and especially one that was cheaper than the shlock that usually gets sold through medical corporate sales would have really sealed the deal.

      MS made a huge huge mistake in the way they implemented the device that they really did not need to. All to mimic Apple. Forunatly a combination of HTML 5 and native app bundling is letting us move around that. But we’re presenting to all 3 platforms now, not just Windows only. They lost their barrier to exit with this move.

      • windwalker
      • 7 years ago

      I wanted and still want a proper ARM version of Windows.
      Actually, I couldn’t disagree more to what you said.

      I have absolutely zero interest in any tablet running any version of Windows, but I would jump for joy if I would be able to buy something like the equivalent of the Exynos 5 Chromebook running an ARM version of Windows 7 with full .NET application support for ARM.

      It’s so blindingly obvious to me that a $200–400, light, fanless laptop with 10 hours of battery life would put hotcakes to shame in the market that it makes me suspect the top brass at Microsoft is too stupid to think of any strategy but to copy Apple even if it leads them to their doom.

    • gmskking
    • 7 years ago

    “Compatiblity with x86 applications is kind of a big deal for those who need to do real work”

    I am thinking that the x86 version will fair better.

    • glacius555
    • 7 years ago

    I think what happened with Windows phones will happen:

    – Late launch, normally-priced, competitive market.
    – Wait.. Poor sales, embarrassing market share.
    – Silently slash prices 30-50%, people start to buy, raise eyebrows – product is not so bad after all.
    – Finally become somewhat relevant..

    Kinda sad, if you ask me, coz potential and bright ideas are there..

      • indeego
      • 7 years ago

      You can’t slash prices that much and bring in revenue on target with margins you want to keep down the road. Well, Apple can (with first iphone.)

        • Ringofett
        • 7 years ago

        Amazon does it all day long on the Kindle range. Sell the hardware right around cost or even below, profit on content revenue.

        Might be harder to do for the Pro ones, where you can install whatever you want, but the RT is locked down, so all apps go through their app store.

          • Vulk
          • 7 years ago

          Amazon lost 260 million last quarter. I don’t know how well that will work as a long term strategy though.

      • Vulk
      • 7 years ago

      You missed the 5th step where they come out with the next version which is completely incompaitble with the previous one on the grounds of integrating it into their future device portfolio.

    • ludi
    • 7 years ago

    1. Hype something.
    2. Overprice it.
    3. ???
    4. Profit!

    Show me a Surface RT at about $400 — preferably with some sort of keyboard cover — and I’m sold, just so I can have the proper Office support that I can’t get from WebOS or Android.

    Otherwise, I lose interest somewhere around Step 2.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      Still waiting for announcements from OEM partners. Seriously, are there even any Win RT tablets besides the Surface? (No, I didn’t search, there probably are, but I’ll be darned if I can name one and I read enough major tech sites that I’d know for sure if there was one being promoted in any meaningful way.)

        • willmore
        • 7 years ago

        ASUS has one. I keep running into it when I search for the Infinity. TF600, IIRC.

          • Rand
          • 7 years ago

          Lenovo, Acer, Dell and Asus all have WinRT tablets. Not sure whom else, but there’s a pretty good selection available.

      • sschaem
      • 7 years ago

      Microsoft will release office mobile for iOS and Android. Might be good enough ?

    • DancinJack
    • 7 years ago

    More good news for MS!!

    [url<]http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_blog/archive/2012/11/29/next-up-for-the-surface-family-surface-with-windows-8-pro-pricing.aspx[/url<] You've got to be kidding me Microsoft. $899 - 64GB $999 - 128GB That's without any type of physical keyboard included by the way.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      Those are high-end specs for x86 Windows 8 tablets – Core i5 and active digitizer. I guess MS doesn’t care about their actual hardware sales, it needs partners to come out with good products too which is what isn’t happening.

        • Game_boy
        • 7 years ago

        They screwed over partners by charging them for WinRT or Win8 while MS does not have to pay. What partner would want to compete against that?

          • MadManOriginal
          • 7 years ago

          It depends on how you want to look at it, and how MS accounting works it. Does MS lower their own prices because of the ‘free license’, or take the ‘free license’ amount as additional profit, or does accounting charge the hardware division and count the payment toward the software division?

        • Beelzebubba9
        • 7 years ago

        It’s basically an ultrabook with out a keyboard and priced accordingly.

        I mean hey, it is cheaper than an 11″ MacBook Air. That has to account for something, right? 🙂

      • davidbowser
      • 7 years ago

      Didn’t MS learn anything from Palm/HP and the WebOS TouchPad launch? You have to PROVE that it is premium before you can price it that way.

      I can’t recall who said it, but I have to agree that MS would have been better off creating an XBox (or even Halo) themed tablet that ran Windows RT. Building off the XBox brand seems much more likely to be successful than to build off the Windows brand.

        • Walkintarget
        • 7 years ago

        Agreed. Touchpad v2 firesale in 60 days or less.

      • tviceman
      • 7 years ago

      What a bunch of morons. Surface RT is $100-150 too much, and Surface Pro is going to be $150-200 too much. Nothing quite like beating yourself into submission before giving Apple and Google a chance to do it for you.

    • PixelArmy
    • 7 years ago

    I’d have paid maybe $350 max for RT with a cover…

    Was eager about Surface Pro, but it’s pricey…

    [url<]http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_blog/archive/2012/11/29/next-up-for-the-surface-family-surface-with-windows-8-pro-pricing.aspx[/url<] Given that it was supposed to cost "ultrabook" prices, I wasn't expecting cheap, but based on the RT pricing, I was expecting those prices [b<]with[/b<] the keyboard cover. Maybe I'll hold out for a Haswell Surface (if they make one).

    • MadManOriginal
    • 7 years ago

    Ruh roh. What Windows 8 tablets need is decent hardware starting at a maximum of $499, and RT tablets need to be less, not the same or more, no matter how well built and designed. Maybe people aren’t as stupid as some have thought and do realize that RT is not ‘real Windows’.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      I think most people are saying one of two things:

      “a tablet is a tablet”
      “I want an iPad”

      Neither of those are going to sell high-priced Windows tablets.

      • cynan
      • 7 years ago

      And here I was thinking that RT stood for the “Real Thing”.

      Microsoft hardware will always be a difficult juggle as long as MS has OEM partners. The only reason why it sort of works for Google is because they don’t charge for the OS. This allows Google to compete on an even playing field with other companies making Android phones. Microsoft is stuck having to artificially inflate the price of their hardware to absorb the cost of the Windows licence they charge. And adding the cost of a watered-down arm version of windows to a sub $500 piece of hardware when Android is free was always a bit of a tough sell.

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