Lots of Windows ARM tablets on the way, says Microsoft

Microsoft will continue to make and promote ARM tablets because the "incredible share" of ARM devices on the market. That means phablets too.

Microsoft's panel at its analyst meeting on Thursday.  Terry Myerson, executive vice president of operating systems, is the third from left.
Microsoft's panel at its analyst meeting on Thursday. Terry Myerson, executive vice president of operating systems, is the third from left. Microsoft

Microsoft is hardly giving up on ARM-based tablets. An executive also hinted at future phablets at the company's financial analyst meeting on Thursday.

But the company is keenly aware that investors have a lot of questions about Windows RT -- which has not fared well in the marketplace nor financially. Microsoft took a charge to the tune of $900 million for the Surface RT tablet in July.

"I know it's on the minds of the people in the room. Can you talk about the role that Windows RT plays going forward?" -- was the question Tami Reller, executive vice president of Microsoft's Marketing group, posed to Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Operating Systems group at the meeting.

"There are two very important chipset families in all of our devices and that's [Intel] x86 and ARM," Myerson responded.

"The ARM devices, particularly in phones, have incredible share due to the battery life and connectivity options," he said. The latter refers to expected 3G/4G options in future Windows ARM tablets.

He continued. "As phones extend into tablets, I expect us to see many more Windows ARM tablets in the future."

If you parse Myerson's words, he seems to avoid saying "Windows RT" tablets but rather specifies ARM tablets. He also appears to be referring to phablet-like devices, rather than standard 10-inch class tablets, like Surface RT.

That's likely where Nokia could play a big role. Microsoft is in the process of acquiring Nokia's devices and services unit .

And it's not incomprehensible that Microsoft could ultimately choose one OS for both tablets (Windows RT) and phones (Windows Phone), as both run on ARM processors.

$349 Surface RT tablet.
$349 Surface RT tablet. Microsoft
About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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