Acer Wisely Shelves Windows RT Tablet Launch Until Q2 2013

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Hope you weren’t waiting for an Acer Windows RT tablet. The company is not releasing its offering until later next year. Originally, Acer was going to launch Windows RT tablets in the first quarter of 2013, but the company is wisely going to sit on the sidelines a bit and watch the market’s reaction to other WinRT tabs — most notably the Microsoft Surface.

Acer President Jim Wong told Reuters today that his company is going to be more cautious because of the Surface. Acer was one of the first companies to speak out against Microsoft’s sudden move in the hardware business. Per Jim Wong, Acer, as the No. 4 PC maker worldwide, was going to follow “a very aggressive plan” with Windows RT tablets.

Samsung, Dell, and Lenovo have Windows RT tablets in the pipeline, but they will not ship until later this year. Digitimes reports that shipments of Windows RT tablets are expected to be fewer than 50,000 units each. HP, Sony, and Toshiba scrapped plans for Windows RT tablets — HP and Toshiba did so specifically in response to the MS Surface.

Microsoft beat most hardware makers to market with the Surface RT. The Asus Vivo Tab is the only other major WinRT tab on the market right now. The Vivo Tab is a virtual clone of the Surface with similar specs (not to mention the optional keyboard accessory) but with a slightly smaller screen. Combined with Windows RT’s limited capabilities and slim hardware selection, the future of Windows RT is questionable.

Windows RT is not Windows 8. They operate similarly, but Windows RT requires special applications that can only be installed through Microsoft’s application store. This greatly limits the capability of the tablet and will likely be confusing to the general consumer. I found the Surface RT to be incomplete and rather disappointing because of its limited capability.

“I don’t know what’s next, what Microsoft will do,” Wong told Reuters. “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… We want to see.”

Smart.