HP might be turning its back on Windows RT initially, but that doesn’t mean the Microsoft Surface and Surface Pro will be given a free pass by other OEMs. According to sources, Samsung will launch its own Windows RT slate sometime later this year — possibly at the same time as the Surface. The company hasn’t confirmed anything yet, of course, but if anyone plans on going up against the Surface, Samsung seems like a good bet.
For one thing, Samsung isn’t afraid to try. It was one of two OEMs brave enough to launch first-generation Chrome OS notebooks, and it was the first to offer up a Chrome OS desktop (the Chromebox). Samsung hasn’t backed down, either, offering up a refreshed Chromebook earlier this summer.
Samsung also has heaps of experience building tablets. Just look at the variety of Android slates on offer: there’s the 5.3-inch Galaxy Note and Galaxy Tab models at 7, 7.7, 8.9, and 10.1 inches. The company has also built dockable Windows tablets, notebooks, and Ultrabooks.
And thanks to the success of the Galaxy moniker, a Samsung tablet can offer one thing that the Surface can’t: brand cred. A Samsung Galaxy Windows RT tablet would be instantly associated with the rest of their popular mobile device offerings. The Surface remains a wildcard.
Microsoft’s previous hardware effort was the ill-fated Kin, which few consumers remember and some who do would rather forget. Microsoft doesn’t have the kind of hardware pedigree Samsung does, and that might be enough of an advantage for Samsung to score a win with a Windows RT model of its own.
It’s also reasonable to think that Samsung could undercut Microsoft’s pricing. Even though some estimates say that the Windows RT/Office licensing combination will cost OEMs around $85, there’s still room for Samsung to slide in below the $599 starting price for the Surface.