Samsung Electronics Co. (005930), the largest phone maker, will release a tablet that features Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)’s Windows RT software when the operating system debuts, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Samsung has made a handheld computer built on Windows RT, the first version of Windows that works on ARM Holdings Plc (ARM) technology, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans haven’t been made public. Windows RT devices will be released in October, one person said.
The decision to support Windows RT follows Samsung’s earlier announcement that it will back another version of Windows. It’s a boon to Microsoft’s effort to use multiple versions of its flagship Windows operating system to challenge Apple Inc. (AAPL) in tablets. Microsoft suffered a setback last week when Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ), the world’s largest computer maker, said it won’t back Windows RT from the get-go.
Hewlett-Packard plans to introduce a tablet with Windows 8, the version of the software that works only on so-called x86 chips, made by Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD)
Windows RT is the first mainstream computer operating system from Microsoft to be built for a touch-screen device and work on the energy-sipping chips typically used in smartphones. Most traditional desktop computers are powered by x86 processors.
Samsung’s Windows RT tablet will feature Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM)’s Snapdragon processor, the people said. Windows RT has created an opportunity for phone-chip makers Qualcomm, Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN) and Nvidia Corp. (NVDA) to compete against Intel and AMD for orders in the computer industry.
Microsoft announced plans last month to release its own tablet device, the Surface, in a strategy shift that has the potential to rankle device makers that widely use its software.
Apple led the tablet market at the end of the first quarter, with 11.8 million units shipped, or a 58 percent share, according researcher IHS ISuppli Inc. Samsung was second, with 11 percent, followed by Amazon.com Inc., which had 5.8 percent.
The iPad is based on ARM technology, as are most tablets on sale today. Intel has struggled to make inroads with consumers purchasing mobile devices with its chips, as ARM-based tablets have had better battery life. ARM machines running the new version of Windows will only be able to use new applications written for Windows 8 and Windows RT, while the x86 machines can run a much wide range of older Windows apps.
Mark Martin, a spokesman for Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, declined to comment, as did Andy Phillips, a spokesman for Cambridge, England-based ARM. Nam Ki Yung, a Seoul-based spokesman for Samsung, and Emily Kilpatrick, a spokeswoman for San Diego-based Qualcomm, also declined to comment.
Samsung dropped 2 percent to 1,161,000 won yesterday at the Seoul close. Microsoft fell 1.7 percent to $30.19 at the New York close.