Hewlett-Packard has tabled plans for a consumer-targeted Windows RT tablet powered by a Qualcomm-designed ARM processor and will instead focus on a business slate using the version of Microsoft's next-generation Windows 8 operating system optimized for x86-based chipsets, PCMag has learned.
What's not entirely clear is if Microsoft's announcement that it's making its own in-house Windows RT tablet, the Surface, had any impact on HP's decision-making process. Microsoft revealed the Surface last week at an event in Los Angeles, immediately sparking speculation that the company's OEM channel might rebel against the notion of their software partner producing a competitive device.
Microsoft hasn't named a release date for the Surface, which will come in a Windows RT version that uses an ARM chip and a Windows 8 flavor sporting an x86 chipset, one of Intel's Medfield generation of Atom SoCs. The latter silicon platform is what HP will be building on with its first Windows 8 tablet, the company told PCMag.
"I can confirm that at HP, we continue to look at using ARM processors in business and consumer products. However, our first Win 8 tablet will be on the x86 platform focused on the business market. The decision to go with x86 was influenced by input from our customers. The robust and established ecosystem of x86 applications provides the best customer experience at this time and in the immediate future."
That doesn't exactly confirm SemiAccurate blogger Charlie Demerjian's report that HP specifically dumped its Windows RT tablet plans over the Surface. But the spokesperson's response to our inquiries does seem designed to damn the potential of Windows RT-based tablets with pretty faint praise.
Interestingly, one PCMag source familiar with HP and Microsoft said HP had gone so far as to build out a Windows RT tablet using a Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset but scrapped those plans more than two weeks ago.