Samsung Ativ Tab with Windows RT won’t be sold in the US because no one knows what Windows RT is

Out in the real world, nobody understands what Windows RT is, and how it differs from Windows 8. At least that’s what Samsung learned in the US after a few tests and studies.

This confusing state of things, together with the lack of demand for products powered by Windows RT, has lead the Korean giant to decide not to sell its Ativ Tab in the US.

The Samsung Ativ Tab runs Windows RT and was announced in September. It’s already being sold in the UK, for example.


The lack of demand for Windows RT tablets has been evident for quite a while now, and Microsoft is certainly aware of this situation, since its Surface tablet with Windows RT hasn’t been doing well at all in terms of sales. That has forced the company to cut its orders in half, according to one rumor from November.

Sure, people in the tech press know exactly what Windows RT is and the main points in which it differs from Windows 8. But average consumers see something that looks exactly like Windows 8, and they assume it’s Windows 8. Which the RT version is not.

It’s created for the ARM architecture (and not x86, like Windows 8) and it can’t run any of the existing desktop apps written for Windows. That alone instantly evaporates one possible advantage people think of when they consider buying a ‘Windows’ tablet. It sounds cool – to be able to run your existing apps on your new tablet – but for that you’ll have to get a tablet running the actual Windows 8 (the Surface Pro coming out later this month is such an offering). Those are considerably more expensive than their RT-running cousins, and they’re also heavier and thicker.

In fact, it turns out that one of the main advantages of Windows RT over Windows 8 products was supposed to be price, at least it was so in Microsoft’s vision. However, Samsung wasn’t willing to compromise on certain aspects of the Ativ Tab such as including less memory. As a consequence, the Ativ Tab isn’t particularly affordable.

Which surely would have been yet another issue had it launched in the US. Eventually Samsung decided it simply wasn’t worth it to try and educate the public on what Windows RT is at its own expense.

The unsaid thing here is that Microsoft should have done this. After all, it’s the maker of the OS. It should have made it very clear to prospective buyers what RT is and, most importantly, what it isn’t. Yet from day one the software giant seemed to be perfectly fine with confusing people on this matter, or at least letting them stay confused. And this obviously hasn’t helped sales of RT devices.

Samsung hasn’t ruled out launching future RT tablets in the US. In case Windows RT devices somehow start selling in droves, be sure that the Korean maker will reconsider. Otherwise, do expect Windows 8 tablets to be a lot more successful than Windows RT ones, despite the price difference. After all, that is Windows as most people know it (or expect it to be).


Author: Vlad Bobleanta

Share This Post On
  • Honesty007

    Maybe MS should now take away all licensing rights to Windows from Samsung. Just a thought.