Skip to main content

Acer delays Windows RT tablets amid mixed Surface reviews

Taiwanese computer manufacturer Acer is delaying the launch of its Windows RT Surface tablets amidst luke-warm reviews for the new device.

Acer had initially planned to launch the tablets which run on Windows RT, a scaled down version of Windows 8, by early next year but have instead decided to push back the launch until April 2013.

Windows RT appears similar to the full Windows 8 system but is actually scaled down and designed to run on ARM-based processors. Tech insiders have criticised the software for lacking some of the functionality of Windows 8, resulting in a limited range of compatible software.

Unlike Windows 8, Microsoft only allows Windows RT to install third-party software from its own online store, and the apps can only run via the system's touch interface and not in the traditional desktop mode.

Early reviews of the Surface tablet praised the hardware but noted there were far fewer apps available for it compared to Windows 8 PCs and rival tablets like Apple's iPad and the Google Nexus 7. Others feel that at £399, Microsoft's entry-level tablets is too expensive in light of costing for the more app heavy rival devices like Apple's new iPad mini (£269) and Nexus 10 (£319).

"Originally we had a very aggressive plan to come out very early next year, but because of Surface, our R&D development doesn't stop, but we are much more cautious," Acer's president Jim Wong told Reuters.

In the past, Wong has criticised Microsoft for moving into the computer hardware business and competing with its partners' devices saying that the release of Surface would have "a huge negative impact for the [Windows] ecosystem and other brands".

"I don't know what's next, what Microsoft will do. We are watching how Surface is doing. How is RT accepted by customers, how Microsoft is aggressive on RT and on Surface, we don't know yet. We want to see," added Wong.