Windows RT Tablet PCs: Retailers Slashing Prices

Dennis Faas's picture

Several manufacturers of Windows RT tablet computers, including, have begun cutting the price of that hardware. But Microsoft is holding firm on the cost of its own tablet, the Surface.

The price cuts are for tablet devices running Windows RT, an edition of Windows 8 specially designed for ARM processors that can usually be found in smartphones and not desktop or laptop computers.

At first glance Windows RT devices look and feel like Windows 8 devices. However, they have a couple of big limitations: you can't switch to the traditional desktop mode used in previous editions of Windows, and you can only install applications through the dedicated Microsoft app store.

Only 1 in 50 Tablets Running Windows RT

Those limitations seem to have put customers off. One estimate last month found that only 1.9 per cent of tablets in the world currently use Windows RT.

That's prompted some experts to suggest that Windows RT devices are becoming virtually unmarketable. Simply put, they're just too feature-starved for most technology consumers.

In response, many retailers have begun dropping prices on Windows RT-based devices. Most of these retailers are being cautious at the moment, cutting by around $50, which still leaves the devices retailing for around the $500 mark.

The most drastic cuts have been made by Amazon, which recently marked down an Asus Windows RT device from $600 to $220. (Source:

Surface RT Tablet Price Unchanged

However, despite ongoing reports of disappointing sales figures, Microsoft isn't dropping prices on its own Windows RT device, the Surface RT.

There are even rumors that things might even be worse than thought because sales numbers may not take account people who've returned Surface RT devices after finding them disappointing. Some retailers have been accused of marketing Surface RT devices as running "Windows 8" without explaining the device's limitations. (Source:

Analysts are now wondering if Microsoft can afford to make the price cuts needed to compete with Android and iOS tablets. One theory is that even in its simplified RT form, Windows still needs more costly hardware to run smoothly, meaning the price can only drop so low.

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