Windows RT tablets, hybrids coming soon

Microsoft, Asus, Lenovo, Samsung and Dell are launching tablets running Windows RT

Windows RT tablets, hybrids coming soon
Microsoft recently opened the floodgates for Windows RT tablets. Its own Surface tablet is now available, with more devices from Asus, Dell, Samsung, Lenovo and Acer coming soon. The tablets are designed for long battery life and will compete with iPad and Android devices on price and features.

Windows RT comes with Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT Preview, which includes the company's Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote applications.

Here are the Windows RT devices that have been announced so far.

Microsoft Surface

The RT tablet getting the most attention is the Microsoft Surface. The tablet represents the first time Microsoft has made its own client hardware, and expectations are high.

The Surface costs £399 with 32GB of storage, and for an additional £99 you can buy a Touch Cover - a magnetic cover that includes a keyboard. A 64GB model costs £559 and is supplied with the Touch Cover.

The 680g, 9.3mm-thick Surface has a 10.6in screen and a quad-core nVidia Tegra 3 processor. Other features include front and rear cameras. Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, a microSDXC card slot, USB 2.0 ports and 2GB of memory. Microsoft hopes to differentiate the Surface from rival RT tablets with a kickstand, too.

The tablet is initially available in the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, China, France, Germany and Hong Kong.

Asus Vivo Tab RT

Asus was the first to show off a Windows RT device with the Tablet 600, now known as the Vivo Tab RT. Asus has not yet officially revealed the tablet's price, but US retailer Staples has tagged it at $599 (translating to anything from £450 to £600 in the UK).

At 520g. the Vivo Tab RT is lighter than Microsoft’s Surface, and also thinner at 8.35mm. The tablet has a lO.lin display, an nVidia Tegra 3 processor, 32GB of storage, 2GB of memory, a 2Mp rear camera and an 8Mp front camera. Its display supports a 1280x800 resolution, and there's support for micro-HDMI, microSD, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Samsung Ativ Tab

Samsung is listing a 12-hour battery life for its Ativ Tab when playing movies and, if true, that's longer than anything available today. However, it's unclear whether that battery life will be achieved by using a dock that has a spare battery. The tablet has a 10.1in screen, weighs 570g and is 8.9mm thick.

Pricing for the tablet has yet to be announced, but UK-based online retailer Clove said it will become available in the US in late October for around $880.

The tablet will run Qualcomm's dual core Snapdragon S4 CPU, which is configured to deliver connectivity and all-day operation. The Snapdragon chip has integrated 3G/4G capabilities, but currently the tablet does not have mobile broadband features.

Windows RT is being pitched as a consumer OS. but Samsung has highlighted some enterprise features in the Ativ Tab, including Microsoft Exchange and Cisco virtual private network (VPN) support.

The Ativ Tab has both a USB 2.0- and a micro HDMI port. It also has a software and hardware feature called AllShare, which allows the tablet to share multimedia files with other Samsung devices, such as Android-based Galaxy tablets and smartphones. Other features include near field communications (NFC) and Wi-Fi Direct, which allows devices to talk wirelessly without the need for an access point.

Lenovo Idea Pad Yoga 11

Lenovo's IdeaPad Yoga 11 is a hybrid laptop/tablet that runs Windows RT on an ARM processor. The device has an 11.6in screen that flips to turn the device from a laptop into a tablet. But with a starting price of £699, it won't be an easy sell as a tablet - especially as it's slightly heavier and more expensive than similar devices.

The device will run nVidia's Tegra 3 processor, and Lenovo did not say if it would have 3G/4G features. It weighs 1.27kg and offers 13 hours of battery life. Other features include 64GB of storage. 2GB of memory, a HDMI output, a 720p webcam, a USB 2.0 port and a media card reader. The Yoga 11 will go on sale in December.

Dell XPS10 tablet

Dell is re-entering the consumer tablet market with the XPS 10, which has a 10-lin screen and runs Windows RT. The company is targeting the tablet at the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomena. System administrators can disable the tablet if it's lost or stolen, and deliver software images and updates from afar. The tablet has a Snapdragon S4 processor, but other hardware details are not available. The price and specs will be available at a later date.

Other RT tablets

Acer plans to announce a Windows RT tablet at a later date, while Toshiba has temporarily scrapped plans to launch a device based on the Windows RT OS.

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