It’s been six months since Windows RT was launched, and consumers are still not buying the devices that run the light-weight operating system designed to work in ARM-powered mobile devices, as the latest tablet sales report from IDC confirms.
Consumers are either still confused about the differences between RT and the full-featured Windows 8 OS, or have read the bad reviews about RT devices due to the limited software, and are staying away from the platform and any device that uses it. “Consumers aren’t buying Windows RT’s value proposition,” said IDC’s director of tablet research, Tom Mainelli, and RT’s poor sales number show. As of March, only 1.9 percent of the tablets sold worldwide are RT-running tablets compared to 48.8 percent that use some flavor of Android. Tablets running any variant of Windows 8 are struggling. Windows 8 tablets make up just 2.8 percent of 2013’s market share, while tablets running iOS make up 46 percent.
With those numbers, it’s no wonder tablet manufacturers have taken matters into their own hands and started slashing prices on RT devices. After all, they need to give consumers an incentive to buy their RT-running slates so that they can clear unsold stock from stores. That said, the recent discounts on RT devices aren’t exactly at firesale levels just yet. Most manufacturers are starting with a $50 price drop on RT devices. For example, Dell has lowered the price on its XPS 10 Tablet with 64GB of storage to $450 on its online store, which is just $50 off its launch price.
Asus seems to be the most willing to discount its own RT tablet, the VivoTab RT, so it could be a good bet if you’re looking for an RT device on the cheap. As PC World spotted, some sellers on Amazon are offering the 32GB version of the Asus slate for around $380, which is approximately $220 lower than its original price tag of $600. Unfortunately, big box retailers like Best Buy, Staples, and Office Depot are just sticking with a more modest $50 off on the VivoTab RT, keeping its price at $550 for now. Still have faith that the Asus slate could go for even cheaper? There might not be enough stock available for you to wait for further discounts. For example, Newegg has already discontinued or sold out of all its VivoTab RTs, and is unlikely to restock the item given the overall lackluster sale of RT devices.
The only RT device that seems immune to price cuts is Microsoft’s Surface RT. As PC World reported, the 32GB Surface RT is holding steady at $500, or you could pay $600 to get a Touch Cover along with the RT slate, which only saves you $20 if you were to buy both items separately. With increasing competition from other manufacturers to offer better prices on RT tablets to consumers, Microsoft will probably have to drop its Surface RT prices soon too to help move its Surface RT.