Lenovo: Windows RT devices much cheaper than Windows 8

If you have been thinking about getting a Windows 8-based tablet, but are wondering if you should get one with Windows 8 or one running on the ARM-based Windows RT, Lenovo might be able to help you out. In a new interview, David Schmoock, the head of Lenovo’s North America division, says that tablets with Windows RT will cost up to $300 less than those that will run on Windows 8.

Bloomberg reports that, according to Schmoock, "RT will play in consumer and retail at very aggressive price points. It will do well but it’s going to be more of a consumer price point play to begin with." Windows 8 tablets should be priced around $600 to $700, if Schmoock is correct, which means that Windows RT tablets could be priced as low as $300.

Schmoock points out that even with the higher price, Windows 8 tablets might be better for businesses as they will have more compatibility for older programs; Windows RT cannot run older Windows software made for x86-based processors.

Lenovo is one of several companies that plan to release both Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets, along with Microsoft, Acer, Samsung and Dell. It has also announced the first details of its Windows 8 tablet, the ThinkPad Tablet 2, which should be released in October.

Source: Bloomberg

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Can someone please explain the difference between WinRT and Win 8 tablets. Sorry I am just a little slow on the uptake at times, and this is one of those times. . .

Pam14160 said,
Can someone please explain the difference between WinRT and Win 8 tablets. Sorry I am just a little slow on the uptake at times, and this is one of those times. . .

Windows RT tablets are more like an iPad or Android tablet. ARM CPU, limited RAM, limited flash storage, limited capabilities. The Windows 8 Pro tablets will be Intel x86 CPUs with a significant amount of RAM and storage, and will run a FULL version of Windows 8 rather than the ARM version. Basically the Pro tablets are computers in tablet form factor. Pair a bluetooth keyboard and mouse and you've got your computer. Windows RT is SUPPOSED to be more useful than the iPad or Android are now, but it remains to be seen how it takes off.

AJerman said,

Windows RT tablets are more like an iPad or Android tablet. ARM CPU, limited RAM, limited flash storage, limited capabilities. The Windows 8 Pro tablets will be Intel x86 CPUs with a significant amount of RAM and storage, and will run a FULL version of Windows 8 rather than the ARM version. Basically the Pro tablets are computers in tablet form factor. Pair a bluetooth keyboard and mouse and you've got your computer. Windows RT is SUPPOSED to be more useful than the iPad or Android are now, but it remains to be seen how it takes off.


Thank You.

Pam14160 said,
Can someone please explain the difference between WinRT and Win 8 tablets. Sorry I am just a little slow on the uptake at times, and this is one of those times. . .

One of the main differences is that Windows RT will not be able to run anything on the desktop - except for Microsoft Office. The desktop is there, but there's nothing much in it. The only applications that you can install will all be from the Windows Store, and they will all be the new full-screen style apps.

On the other hand, Windows 8 is exactly like what you'd expect, you can download .exe files and run them on the desktop in addition to getting the new full-screen style apps.

$300 for the base 32GB WinRT model tablet sounds right to me. I paid that much for my low end Atom HP netbook just to surf and so on, easily able to replace it for the same price with a RT tablet now.

Flash support will really be the deal breaker for me. I don't really care for the media but a lot of sites I visit often use flash and I still really need it. Else, I'm gonna buy a laptop.

Mouettus said,
Flash support will really be the deal breaker for me. I don't really care for the media but a lot of sites I visit often use flash and I still really need it. Else, I'm gonna buy a laptop.

The weird thing is Windows RT now has the most Flash support compared to Android and iPad. I don't see Flash sites lasting very long now that Google, Apple and to some extent Microsoft have dropped support. I also think a lot of websites are going to feel the need to redesign around touch screen. Was looking at Yahoo last night on my tablet and thinking there's no way they can keep the site functioning like that when everyone has a tablet or touch screen PC.

Mr. Dee said,
Windows RT is beginning to sound like a successor to Windows 7 Starter, minus the compatibility.

Windows RT is really the successor to Windows CE, for the tablet device anyways, CE is still used for custom devices.

Well obviously they would be notably cheaper.

Much like the current state of play I think you are going to see some cheaper WindowsRT tables but also those with higher specs much like what you'll see in the pro space, theres going to be sufaces with stand res going for $600-700 and then those with wacom digitisers and hd res screens for $1000+.

Should be good should cater to a wide range of the market.

efjay said,
Can't be, OEM's are being charged $85 upwards by MS, they must be expensive and doomed to fail. /s

The prices OEMs pay is only known by a handful we don't actually know what each one pays!

ingramator said,

The prices OEMs pay is only known by a handful we don't actually know what each one pays!

Because each one is said to pay a different price. The fact is a smaller OEM doesn't get the same volume licensing deal that a big one like HP or Dell will get on Windows.

That $85 could be for god knows who while I bet you HP will be charged a good deal less.

Still impresses me how they managed to port the entire NT kernel to ARM, as well as essential drivers required to access NTFS, and are still charging everything cheaply.
But I suppose that process started with Windows Embedded Compact.

billyea said,
Still impresses me how they managed to port the entire NT kernel to ARM, as well as essential drivers required to access NTFS, and are still charging everything cheaply.
But I suppose that process started with Windows Embedded Compact.

Has anyone had a chance to actually use the RT release yet? I'm curious to see how it runs out the gate. Of course, they didn't have to add in any backwards compatibility, so maybe it wasn't as large a task as it seems.

billyea said,
Still impresses me how they managed to port the entire NT kernel to ARM, as well as essential drivers required to access NTFS, and are still charging everything cheaply.
But I suppose that process started with Windows Embedded Compact.
Frankly, I think very few people in the tech news ecosystem realize just how amazing it is that the NT Kernel is now on ARM as well as X86.

It's going to be huge. As far as speed though, all the hands on I've read have said the modern UI is very speedy on ARM. Gaming will be the big questionmark since they are allowing game engines inside Modern... you have to imagine some of the game engines will tax the hell out of an ARM chip considering they are used to playing on Intel power.

billyea said,
Still impresses me how they managed to port the entire NT kernel to ARM, as well as essential drivers required to access NTFS, and are still charging everything cheaply.
But I suppose that process started with Windows Embedded Compact.

The main work wasn't done on the ARM architecture itself, they "just" had to port the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) for that.
NT was built to be portable - IIRC the computers used to test NT were running a different processor architecture than the computers used to write it, to make sure no developper could insert assembly code anywhere (unlike Win9x).

The main work was to make the NT kernel and Windows itself work on processors with much less power than an average x86 processor...and the good thing is, these benefits are also there on x86. Reduced memory footprint (NT finds duplicate memory pages and combines them), freezed processes (a new state in the NT scheduler - processes consume literally 0% of CPU), and so on.

Aethec said,

The main work wasn't done on the ARM architecture itself, they "just" had to port the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) for that.
NT was built to be portable - IIRC the computers used to test NT were running a different processor architecture than the computers used to write it, to make sure no developper could insert assembly code anywhere (unlike Win9x).

Yup, I'm talking about the HAL. Of course, they "just" have to port that, that massive behemoth of assembly.
I bow down to the people that can read and write assembly, after trying to program a PIC microcontroller as a kid.

Also it should be noted that abstracting the instruction set itself is not done by the HAL. That's done by the kernel.

And if everything's done right, the consumer will never notice "oh, I'm running Windows on ARM".

billyea said,
Still impresses me how they managed to port the entire NT kernel to ARM, as well as essential drivers required to access NTFS, and are still charging everything cheaply.

My understanding is that there's practically no assembly code involved in NTFS. There might be a little bit for certain concurrency scenarios (such as transactional NTFS), but the rest would've been coded in portable C from the start.

One other thing that they had to port was Office RT, which is bundled on all Windows RT tablets. Excel, in particular, contains quite a bit of assembly. For example, the number formatting code is written entirely in assembly. That code started life on 68k, got ported to x86 and PowerPC, was extended to x64 (with the famous bug), and now has been ported to ARM. That code has seen a lot! Little-endian, big-endian, CISC, RISC, CISC, and now RISC again.

They did, however, manage to scope down the work considerably by removing VBA!

billyea said,

Yup, I'm talking about the HAL. Of course, they "just" have to port that, that massive behemoth of assembly.
I bow down to the people that can read and write assembly, after trying to program a PIC microcontroller as a kid.

Also it should be noted that abstracting the instruction set itself is not done by the HAL. That's done by the kernel.

And if everything's done right, the consumer will never notice "oh, I'm running Windows on ARM".


Its not just the HAL as ARM has a totally different instruction set code than x86 or AMD64.
Also something that everyone just ignores is the amazing job that Microsoft does on reducing the hardware requirements of their next OS while adding features for 2 releases now. Really shows who is king in the OS space.