Ah, Vegas. It's the place where dreams are realized, and hearts are shattered. As such, probably no more appropriate venue exists to showcase the massive gamble that is Windows RT, Microsoft's first tablet-focused operating system, and the first Windows version createdA expressly for ARM processors.
The bet didn't pay off. Microsoft and ARM rolled snake eyes at CES 2013. Windows RT was not out in full force at the show, and for all intents and purposes, Windows RT died in the desert last week.
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A no-confidence vote
Windows RT actually started CES with a bang: When Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer bounded onstage during Qualcomm's opening night keynote, he showed off twoA Windows RT tablets. One was the Samsung ATIV Tab, and Ballmer lauded Samsung as one of Microsoft's key hardware partners.
But just three days later, Samsung told CNET that it won't be bringing the ATIV Tab stateside, citing poor demand for Windows RT tablets in general. Samsung SVP Mike Abrary also said that consumers don't understand the difference between Windows RT and Windows 8.
"There wasn't really a very clear positioning of what Windows RT meant in the marketplace, what it stood for relative to Windows 8," Abrary told CNET. "When we did some tests and studies on how we could go to market with a Windows RT device, we determined there was a lot of heavy lifting we still needed to do to educate the customer on what Windows RT was."
To be fair, Samsung isn't exactly a dowsing rod for the PC industry. While the company does ship some intriguing Windows hardware, it's far from a major player in the traditional computing ecosystem, as Samsung's prime attention is devoted to Android.
But Samsung isn't the only OEM to retreat from Windows RT. Both HP and Toshiba squashed plans for a Windows RT tablet before the operating system even hit the streets, while Acer announced that its own Windows RT tablet won't appear before the second quarter of this year, if it comes out at all.
At this point the Dell XPS 10, Asus VivoTab, and Lenovo Yoga 11 are the only Windows RT devices available aside from Microsoft's own Surface RT. And all of them have landed with a thud, Surface arguably--very arguably--aside.