Lenovo, the world’s second-biggest maker of personal computers, says new devices based on Microsoft Corp.’s Windows RT software will cost $200 to $300 less than competing products using Windows 8 software.
Microsoft plans to release two versions of its new operating system this October to bring a new touch-screen interface to computers and tablets that will better help it compete against Apple Inc.’s iPad. Windows 8 works on chips made by Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. while Windows RT works on ARM Holdings Plc technology-based chips, a standard that dominates in mobile phones.
“RT will play in consumer and retail at very aggressive price points,” David Schmoock, head of Lenovo’s North America operations who is based at Lenovo’s campus in Morrisville, told Bloomberg news
“It will do well but it’s going to be more of a consumer price point play to begin with,” he said, in an interview Thursday.
Earlier this week, Microsoft confirmed that Lenovo, Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL), Samsung Electronics Co., and Asustek Computer Inc. will make personal computers that boast Windows RT, a version of Microsoft Corp.’s (Nasdaq: MSFT) flagship operating system for devices using ARM Holdings Plc technology.
Microsoft, which is relying on ARM-designed chips to help it vie with Apple Inc. in the market for mobile computers, discussed the manufacturing partners in a blog posting, its first disclosure of which PC makers will carry Windows RT.
Windows 8 has more compatibility with other Windows software, making it more attractive to corporations, while Windows RT will “be a very good consumer box,” Schmoock said. Windows 8 tablets will cost $600 to $700, he said.
Separately, the Intel Corp.-led push to make notebooks more attractive to consumers with thinner and lighter devices it’s branding Ultrabooks, may struggle to meet the chipmaker’s goals this year, according to Schmoock. Intel has said the devices are on course to account for 40 percent of consumer-notebook PCs by the end of this year. Schmoock estimates that they are more likely to grab a 20 percent to 25 percent market share.
Success of the initiative will depend on how quickly computer makers can bring down the price of the products, he said.
“It’s going to require a very strong first couple of weeks of launch of Win 8,” said Schmoock. “They’ll be a lot bigger than they are now. I don’t know if it will get all the way up to 40 percent.”
Intel “always sets aggressive” targets, Kari Aakre, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clara, California-based company, said. “We’re not backing off our goals,” she said in a telephone interview.
“We think Ultrabook is the best solution for what consumers want.”
Lenovo reported a 30 percent increase in profit in the three months ended June 30, as sales increased faster than the overall personal-computer market and came closer to taking Hewlett-Packard Co.’s No. 1 spot.
Windows RT devices will join Microsoft’s own Surface tablet, its first-ever PC hardware, in a renewed effort to curb the dominance of Apple’s iPad. Machines running the next version of Windows will go on sale on Oct. 26, though the blog post didn’t discuss whether the manufacturers listed would have products on that date. Mark Martin, a spokesman for Microsoft, declined to comment.
Asustek showed its new Windows device at the Computex show in Taipei in June. People with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News in July that Samsung planned to release a Windows RT tablet when the software debuts.
Windows RT Details
The Windows RT operating system will be included in completed devices and won’t be sold separately, Microsoft said. The RT devices will join Microsoft’s own Surface tablet, its first-ever PC hardware, as the market for handheld products outpaces that for traditional desktop and laptop PCs.
Asustek, based in Taipei, showed Windows RT devices using Nvidia Corp.’s Tegra 3 processor at the Computex trade show in June while also announcing plans to release a Windows 8 notebook and tablet with Intel chips. People with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News in July that Samsung planned to release a Windows RT tablet when the software debuts.
Machines running the next version of Windows will go on sale on Oct. 26, though the blog post didn’t specify when the manufacturers listed would release their products. Mark Martin, a spokesman for Microsoft, declined to comment.
Products using Windows RT will be thin and light with long battery life, Microsoft said. The devices will use chips from Qualcomm Inc., Nvidia and Texas Instruments, it said in the blog post.
Lenovo, the world’s No. 2 PC manufacturer is working with chip manufacturer Nvidia on a tablet/notebook that would run Windows RT, The Wall Street Journal reportsed last week. Lenovo also disclosed plans for an Intel-powered Windows 8 tablet. Windows 8 is due out in October.
The Windows RT tablet also reportedly will be a convertible notebook with a keyboard that “flips around” and turns it into a tablet. (The Yoga from Lenovo touts the “flip” capability. See photo with this post.)
At a Lenovo event last week in New York where the company celebrated 20 years of ThinkPad technology, some information emerged about the new product.
“Dilip Bhatia, general manager of Lenovo’s ThinkPad business, said in an interview at the event that along with the Intel-based tablet, Lenovo also plans to introduce a Windows RT device when Windows hits the market,” the Journal reported. “He declined to provide details about the product.”
Intel and AMD chips power most PCs.
Nvidia is targeting the mobile market for its chips that are based on technology licensed from ARM Holdings.
Lenovo operates its global executive headquarters in Morrisville.
(Bloomberg news contributed to this report.)
[LENOVO ARCHIVE: Check out six years of Lenovo stories as reported in WRAL Tech Wire.]