Microsoft is launching two new versions of Windows on October 26th. Windows 8 is designed for computers with x86 processors from Intel, AMD, and other chip makers. Windows RT is a stripped-down version of Windows 8 that will run on devices with low-power ARM-based chips, like the ones found in most smartphones and tablets.

While it stands to reason that devices shipping with Windows RT would probably cost less than Windows 8 computers, PC maker Lenovo is confirming it.


Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2
Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 with Windows 8

Speaking to Bloomberg, a Lenovo official said that Windows RT tablets will likely cost about $200 to $300 less than Windows 8 devices.

There are likely a few reasons for this:

  • ARM-based chips tend to be cheaper than most Intel or AMD processors.
  • They use less energy and generate less heat, which leads to devices with smaller batteries and less extensive cooling systems.
  • Microsoft will likely charge device makers a lower fee to license Windows RT than the company charges for Windows 8 licenses.

Still, there are advantages to going with Windows 8. Windows RT won’t be able to run older Windows apps that weren’t compiled for ARM-based chips.

That means your existing versions of Office, Photoshop, and other software won’t work — and while many developers will probably make Windows RT-compatible versions of their software in the future, you can’t count on those apps having all the features found in the full Windows 8 versions.

Lenovo has already announced plans to launch a Windows 8 tablet aimed at business users called the ThinkPad Tablet 2. The company is also expected to introduce a Windows RT tablet this year, possibly a convertible laptop-style model like the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga.


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14 replies on “Lenovo: Windows RT tablets to cost up to $300 less than Windows 8 tablets”

  1. Does that mean Windows 8 tablets will have an additional $300 mark up than they had originally planned?

    1. No, they’re stating the ARM version will be up to that much cheaper than the x86 version but that includes tablets based on the Core i-Series and AMD equivalent.

      So it’s not stating much besides that it’ll be a lot cheaper, $200-$300, than Ultrabook class devices.

      1. It was a joke (a lame one) that Windows 8 and RT tablets will have extra mark ups.

  2. A large number of people would have to buy a new copy of Office anyway, given how many buy Office as a download tied specifically to a new PC. I wonder how much extra revenue MS has derived from that little trick over the years.

    1. It is the consumer’s own fault. A 3 license retail pack costs $7.50 more.

        1. Decimal point error, don’t think anyone would care if they had to buy it if it was really that cheap :-p

    2. For x86 W8/Pro tablets, yes… but Windows RT includes MS Office and Student 2013 RT by default.

      So ARM version gets a little bit of a deal, but that’s also to compensate for the lack of desktop app on RT.

      While Office has been one of MS big money makers and that’s likely to continue for W8/Pro.

      Though they’re changing things up a bit now with a suite of optional cloud services, ability to install on up to 5 systems and switch between them as easily as someone can switch Chromebooks by just logging into the next system and continuing what you were doing.

      Also releasing versions usable on other platforms, while probably limited they are reported to include even iOS and Android.

  3. Never mind that the lower price sugar coats the bitter pill that is OS lock on the ARM variant.

      1. MS mandates that ARM devices that is made to run Windows 8 can only run Windows 8 by way of a signature check in UEFI.

        1. I wonder if there will be people who will try to get other OS’s on them like with locked down Android devices.

          1. It’s possible, any device can ultimately be hacked given time.

            Though they may not need to as Google is likely to get Android certified for Secure Boot and at least Fedora and Red Hat have stated they will support certification to work with Secure Boot as well.

            People just won’t have a wide selection. While some companies like Canonical even went so far as to create their own version of Secure Boot but unlike MS they aren’t offering certification to anyone else and so it’s just for Ubuntu on systems Canonical has direct dealings with to produce Linux systems.

      2. Being locked down isn’t unusual on ARM, and much of the reasoning is because the industry still doesn’t trust ARM.

        So for DRM, security, etc concerns they tend to be on overkill to make sure ARM devices are safe for commerce and services.

        Apps like the HD Netflix app for example won’t stream HD unless the device is detected as locked and secure. So unlocking results in automatically being limited to SD quality.

        Mind MS wants to provide streaming services and such with W8/RT. Not to mention their own services with full integration with XBox Live and the optional online features of the new Office.

        There’s also ensuring device security and both OS and app stability… Though that’s the weaker part of their argument and it’s questionable if they can successfully be as locked down as iOS but it may take a year or two before they change policy.

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