Microsoft has unveiled the names of three hardware partners who will be offering Windows RT computers come October. As published on Microsoft's blog, Samsung, Dell, and Lenovo, will be retailing ARM-based devices powered by the Microsoft's operating system. Previously, only Asus and Microsoft were known to be involved in the hardware making aspects. Windows RT will also be the Microsoft's first operating system designed for consumer devices not powered by traditional x86 chip architectures, deployed largely by the likes of Intel and AMD. Here's a snippet from Microsoft's blog post.
"If you are following Windows RT, perhaps you have taken note of the Asus Tablet 600 (Windows RT) announcement or Microsoft’s own Surface RT news. Along with Asus, we are excited to share that there will be ARM-based PC designs from Dell, Lenovo, and Samsung running Windows RT. You will need to stay tuned for more details; PC manufacturers will be unveiling their products as we approach the Windows 8 and Windows RT launch. What I can say is the spectrum of form factors and peripherals being developed to meet each unique customer’s computing needs is unique in the industry."
Windows RT devices will be made available on October 26th, including Microsoft's very own Surface RT tablet priced at US$199. However, the software won't be available as a standalone package, but rather, it can only be acquired by purchasing a computer with Windows RT installed. Of course, Microsoft's decision to manufacture its own Windows RT-based PCs will undoubtedly strain working relationships with its OEM (original equipment manufacturer) partners; namely Asus, Samsung, Dell, and Lenovo. This sentiment was echoed by Microsoft themselves, when the firm acknowledged the inevitable conflict of interest during a filing with U.S. regulators: "Our Surface devices will compete with products made by our OEM partners, which may affect their commitment to our platform".
Others, however, have decided that it's safer to observe the situation before making their move. Acer, for instance, will only release their Windows RT devices next year, while Toshiba added that it would monitor the market conditions before making a decision. Hewlett Packard, on the other hand, has decided to stay fully entrenched with x86-based systems in the meantime.