Rumor: Microsoft announcing branded Windows RT tablet with Tegra 3

Subject: Mobile | June 18, 2012 - 03:49 PM |
Tagged: windows rt, windows on arm, tegra, tablet, nvidia

Today at 6:30pm EST, Microsoft is holding an event in Los Angeles for a "major announcement" and there are rumors floating around the web that this could be anything from a new e-reader device in cooperation with Barnes & Noble to a custom-built Windows phone.

After sifting through some rumors and going off of some information I got during Computex this month, I think the answer is pretty obvious as to what we are going to see tonight: a Windows RT tablet device that will be branded and sold by Microsoft.  Rather than depend on partners like ASUS, Dell and Toshiba, Microsoft will pull out all the stops to compete against the Apple iPad directly by making the "reference" device to spark the Windows tablet market.

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Who will actually BUILD this Microsoft branded Windows RT tablet?

While this is unusual for Microsoft, this isn't the first time we have seen this.  The Microsoft Zune was a great device for the music player market that just happened to come along too late as the convergence of phones and music took hold.  However, the Zune software and music infrastructure live on with the Windows Phone devices and I think you'll find it a part of today's announcement for the Microsoft Windows RT tablet. 

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Ah, the first Zune HD.  Yes I still use mine!

One of the most interesting parts of this announcement is going to be the hardware itself.  Will Microsoft go the "safe" route and base the tablet on a timid design like we saw from the Amazon Kindle Fire or will they go more aggressively after the iPad with a higher resolution screen and mobile carrier plans? 

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Amazon's Kindle Fire

When talking with the major ARM SoC vendors about Windows RT in May and June, one thing became very clear to me - only one hardware vendor claimed to be ready for the pending release of Windows RT - NVIDIA.  While Qualcomm and TI were struggling to bring performance levels to where they needed to be to run the operating system effectively, NVIDIA was the vendor best prepared for the new ecosystem.  We saw that play out with the first public demonstration of a Windows RT tablet device coming from ASUS and NVIDIA earlier this month.  

I fully expect the NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor to be at the heart of the new Microsoft Windows RT tablet announced tonight - and that would be a HUGE victory for one of the smallest (in terms of volume), yet loudest, SoC vendors competing in this market.  And NVIDIA and Microsoft already have a history of working together with Tegra products - remember that the Zune HD player was the first major product win for NVIDIA's SoC

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I believe this tablet will have the NVIDIA Tegra 3 SoC inside

A Microsoft-built Windows RT tablet will no doubt miff some of the company's partners, the same companies we mentioned above like Dell and ASUS, but MS may finally be realizing, much like Google has with the coming Nexus Tablet, that competing with Apple requires a different kind of mindset than previous hardware battles.  On the other hand, a Windows RT tablet that combines Zune music service, Barnes & Noble e-reader integration and maybe even some Xbox and TV options would be a VERY compelling product.

June 18, 2012 | 04:55 PM - Posted by SE (not verified)

Excellent prediction Ryan! Other sites are assuming a Microsoft "SmartGlass" product without considering the fact that ANY Windows 8 tablet is exactly that!

I'll be posting back with my congratulations and a virtual beer if your prediction is right.

June 18, 2012 | 06:12 PM - Posted by mruk63

Is the event being streamed anywhere?

June 18, 2012 | 07:26 PM - Posted by cyow

I all most buy one it it was the dam Arm Windows RT

June 18, 2012 | 08:51 PM - Posted by edwinjamesmiller36

I pray for a snappy tablet with lots of memory and a great screen that has NOTHING TO DO with iTunes. Come on Microsoft, answer my prayers.

June 18, 2012 | 09:17 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Ryan, think you've made a mistake on the second picture, did you mean to post this one?

June 18, 2012 | 09:41 PM - Posted by Mangix

I read this before the announcement. I read it after. I think you nailed it.

Unfortunately, this is just Microsoft going away from their roots as a low-cost licensing/software company to one trying to beat Apple at their own game.

I predict they will fail, hard. Time to move to Linux.

June 19, 2012 | 12:11 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Why do you think they will fail though?

June 18, 2012 | 09:59 PM - Posted by SE (not verified)

You called it. *hands Ryan a virtual beer*

June 19, 2012 | 12:11 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Thanks! I didn't think they would compete with all their partners on the X86 front though, that is just as exciting in my book.

September 3, 2012 | 01:58 AM - Posted by TinkerToyTech

I have it on good authority that MSFT has a special glass made by Corning that MSFT branded tablets will have that the others will not. They've been sitting on this special materials for the release of Win8 and the touch devices. If you've used a tablet you know that greasy fingers prints are a big deal, a boon for those agencies wanting to find your finger prints on one of these devices, well, this new technology is supposed to make it not so easy for the agencies to lift a print off this glass because it won't be there in the first place. Finger print - proof glass is coming, first, on MSFT branded win r/t (because they'll be out first) tablets. The x86 base rigs will be made with Intel SoC's that we might not even have had acess to rumour of their very existence, to say nothing of something someone else has already put into production. I have more, but that's enough for now...

See ya on the twitters @TinkerToyTech...

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