Samsung may be planning to compete with Microsoft’s Surface tablet this fall. Bloomberg reports that Samsung is developing a Windows RT tablet with a planned release date of October. This makes it one of only a few manufacturers willing to give the new version of Windows a try in the exclusive tablet format.
As it stands, it looks like traditional PC makers like Dell and HP are holding off on Windows RT tablets this year. Samsung may not have a ton of competition, though Toshiba, Acer, Asus, and Lenovo may jump into the game. We should find out in the coming months.
But wait, what is Windows RT?
Basically, it comes down to processors. Almost all PCs (computers, laptops, Macs, and servers) run on processors based on Intel’s designs, but almost all phones, smartphones, tablets, and other portable gadgets run on processors based on ARM designs. ARM took a foothold in the handheld electronics business due to its chip designs requiring less power and producing less heat. Manufacturers also like ARM because they can modify its chip designs and make their own flavors — something Intel does not allow.
Windows RT is essentially a version of Windows 8 that runs on ARM processors. This puts Microsoft in direct competition with Android and iOS, but it also means that all desktop applications (software for all older versions of Windows) won’t run on Windows RT machines. This has led Microsoft to split off Windows RT from its Windows 8 line and was likely one of the main reasons why Microsoft itself is creating a tablet.
Microsoft is hedging its bets, so is Samsung
In almost every way, Microsoft is hedging its bets on the future of the PC and mobile industries. It knows that touch-based operating systems like Android and iOS are gaining significant ground, but it also knows that many people may cling to their full-featured laptops and PCs, which currently are a lot better for gaming and more complicated tasks than tablets and other ARM-based devices. Samsung is also hedging its bets. The manufacturer has been quick to jump on almost every platform, including Windows Phones, Android phones, Android tablets, and even Tizen, an OS that it’s building with Intel.