Dell drastically cut the online price of its Windows RT tablet and is now selling the device for $299.99. The price is a $200 drop from the original $499 price offered at the launch of the Dell XPS 10 last October.
The cost cut was "due to a combination of factors," Dell spokeswoman Ellen Murphy said in an emailed statement, without directly commenting on the slow early sales of Windows RT tablets in the overall market. She said Dell considered its inventory of the XPS 10 and "competitive positioning and other market factors" in making the cost reduction.
According to IDC, Windows RT tablets suffered in shipments last quarter, grabbing only 0.4% of the tablet market.
The paltry shipments led many analysts to question the future of Windows RT, although Qualcomm and Nvidia, -- both suppliers of ARM-based processors for Windows RT -- have defended the operating system and say it has a good future as a power-efficient platform.
In defense of Windows RT, Dell's Murphy said in her email to Computerworld: "We expect the Windows RT proposition to grow stronger over time...We consider Windows RT to be a mobility-optimized tablet OS that provides a compelling and productive experience for consumers who desire a device that's always on and always connected with great battery life. We expect the Windows ecosystem to grow and mature in the near future, and it's imperative that the industry work together to better educate customers on product benefit and features....We collaborate closely with Microsoft and together have strived to make technology more accessible and intuitive for our customers. Windows 8 and Windows RT are important milestones in this journey."
Microsoft this week said it will issue a free update called Windows 8.1 (code-named Windows Blue) to both Windows 8 and Windows RT. A preview is coming in June.
The 10.1-in. XPS 10 has a separate keyboard dock, allowing it to work as a laptop or as a separate tablet. It runs the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, and Qualcomm's senior vice president of product management Luis Pineda said he personally uses the XPS 10 for international travel, noting it can run for 20 hours a day on LTE networks, is thinner with no fan, and boots almost instantly.
According to most analysts, the biggest failing for Windows RT machines has been its native email that doesn't support Microsoft's Outlook, although Pineda said that wasn't a problem for him.
The $299.99 price is for the 32 GB version of the XPS 10. The 64 GB version costs $50 more, or $349, instead of the original $599. Adding the keyboard dock increases the price of the 32 GB version to $349.99, which is a dramatic reduction from what used to add another $180. Adding LTE service still costs an additional $100.
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