Acer delays Windows RT tablet launch, blames press response to Microsoft’s Surface


Acer has decided it will hold off releasing its new tablets running Windows RT, delaying them from early 2013 to between April and June 2013 instead. The reason, it told Reuters, is due to the mixed reaction to Microsoft’s Surface from the media.

While it will continue to launch Windows 8 hardware, devices based on Windows RT would be sent back to the R&D department, with Acer’s corporate president Jim Wong saying “originally we had a very aggressive plan to come out [with Windows RT tablets] very early next year,” but now that the Surface has been released, the company is “much more cautious” and has “many questions to address with regards to manufacturing and pricing.”

This isn’t the first time Acer has been critical of Microsoft and its Surface tablet, as in August, CEO JT Wang advised the company to “think twice” before releasing the own-brand devices, telling it “it’s not something you are good at,” and that it would have a “huge negative impact” on the ecosystem.

It has also spoken out about Windows Phone 8, saying it will favor Android over Microsoft’s mobile platform throughout 2013.

Acer hasn’t made any product announcements regarding Windows RT, so there’s nothing to miss at this stage, and it joins Toshiba and Hewlett Packard in abandoning work on Windows RT tablets. Microsoft has reportedly turned down a request from HTC to build a Windows RT tablet, on the basis that it lacks experience in the market. However, it may change its mind as the pool of supporting manufacturers dwindles.

Windows RT was controversial before Microsoft’s partners got into a flap over the Surface, as while it may be called Windows, it’s not exactly the same as Windows 8 found on other tablets and laptops. It’s designed to run on tablets using ARM architecture rather than being Intel-based, allowing Microsoft to muscle in on the cheap tablet market currently dominated by Android.

So far, besides the Surface, Dell has announced the XPS 10 Windows RT tablet, Asus has its Vivo Tab RT and Lenovo its IdeaPad Yoga. While some reviews said some harsh words about Microsoft’s Surface, we gave it a healthy 7.5/10 in our review. This, plus the other comments it has made, suggests Acer may just have an axe to grind over Microsoft’s foray into what it considers to be its own territory.

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