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Windows 8 Update: Surface RT isn't dead but it's struggling

Tim Greene | Aug. 13, 2013
Windows 8 apps remain scarce, Best Buy hires soccer players to lure Microsoft customers.

Microsoft's Surface RT tablets have been in trouble almost since they became available last year, but it looks like the company is going to hang with them at least through the next version.

Chip provider Nvidia's CEO Jen-Hsun Huang says his company is working with Microsoft on the next-gen Surface RT, according to CNET.

The device itself isn't going to be the big draw for Surface RT II, though, Huang says; it will be the standard inclusion of Outlook.  "It is the killer app for Windows," Huang says to CNN. "Now we're going to bring it with the second-generation Surface. We're working really hard on it, and we hope that it's going to be a big success."

That's the firmest official indication that Surface RT won't be scrapped amid plenty of signs that it and the more generic Windows RT might be canceled. These include a $900 million write-off Microsoft took against Surface RT, sales figures that show the company sold fewer than 1.7 million of them since last fall and the abandonment of Windows RT by OEM partner Asustek.

Another OEM partner, Acer, says it will renew focus on Android devices and Chromebooks in an attempt to recoup losses on tablets. "We are trying to grow our non-Windows business as soon as possible," Acer president Jim Wong says in an article in The Wall Street Journal.

Microsoft taunts iPad — again
The latest Windows RT video ad again compares the iPad — unfavorably — to Surface RT, again indicating Microsoft plans to have the device around for a while.

The video gives Surface RT the edge on screen size, split-screen app display, USB port and price. It also credits Surface RT with having an integrated keyboard, which is a little sketchy since you can buy the device without the keyboard. Perhaps it depends on how you define integrated.

Intel trolls seeks Windows 8 apps
Intel is running App Innovation Contest 2013 that awards prizes for Windows 8 desktop applications. Unlike Windows RT, full Windows 8 that runs on x86 processors like Intel makes, so the company has a vested interest in creating attractive apps for the platform.

Authors of the top 125 proposed apps win Lenovo ThinkPad or Horizon All-In-One computers on which to code their applications. The best apps will be awarded a total purse of $100,000 in a competition that will include contestants from China, India and Russia.

Prizes of $10,000 will be given out for best apps in the categories of entertainment, games, healthcare, education, finance and retail. A $10,000 prize will be given out for best laptop app and a $10,000 prize for best all-in-one app. The overall grand prize for best app is $20,000. There is a $5,000 pool for spot prizes throughout the competition.


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