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What will be the key to Microsoft’s Windows 8 tablet success? Really cheap Windows RT tablets.
So says Lenovo North American head David Schmoock, who told Bloomberg that Windows 8 tablets running on ARM processors are going to be priced starting at $300. “RT will play in consumer and retail at very aggressive price points,” he said.
Windows RT is the name given to the version of Windows 8 running on ARM processors, which are highly common in mobile phones. Windows 8 tablets, on the other hand, will run on either Intel on AMD chips. (Think of Windows RT as “Windows 8 Lite”, essentially.)
But Schmoock says that Windows 8 tablets are going to cost up to $700, putting them out of the reach of price-conscious consumers. That’s why Windows RT tablets are going to have to be priced much lower. At $300, a Windows RT tablet would undercut the $500 iPad, a strategy that’s become increasingly common for tablet makers.
But where does that leave Lenovo? Right now the company appears to be focused on the business end of the market, as its upcoming ThinkPad Tablet 2 shows. Unlike the cheaper Windows RT devices Schmoock is talking about, the ThinkPad tablet will run Windows 8, which puts it in line with the enterprise-heavy ThinkPad brand.
This is a difference that Lenovo is eager to underscore. “The ThinkPad tablet is focused [on going] after the business individual; the Surface is more geared towards the consumer offering,” Thinkpad VP Dilip Bhatia said earlier this month.
Not that Lenovo isn’t eyeing the consumer market as well: The company has already been confirmed as a Windows RT partner, and there are rumors that its previously announced Yogapad tablet will go Windows RT as well.