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Samsung won't launch Windows RT tablets in the US, blames confusion and weak demand

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Samsung Windows 8
Samsung Windows 8

Samsung's line of Windows Ativ tablets was announced just this past fall, but it doesn't look like the company will be bringing the RT version to the US any time soon. Speaking to CNET, Samsung executive Mike Abary said that the Qualcomm-powered RT tablet will not be sold in the US, citing the high cost of educating the consumer on Windows RT and studies from retail partners that said demand for Windows RT tablets was not enough to warrant the heavy investment in consumer education.

"...there was a lot of heavy lifting we still needed to do to educate the customer on what Windows RT was."

"When we did some tests and studies on how we could go to market with a Windows RT device, we determined there was a lot of heavy lifting we still needed to do to educate the customer on what Windows RT was," noted Abary. Consumer education is something that Microsoft has had to struggle with for both Windows 8 and Windows RT, and it looks like this is a direct consequence of that. He added that Samsung was also not willing to bring the Windows RT tablets to market with the compromises it would need to make to hit the lower price point expected from RT tablets. "We didn't necessarily attain the price point that we hoped to attain," Abary said.

Samsung isn't completely abandoning the US market with its Ativ products — it's been selling the Ativ Smart PC with Windows 8 at AT&T retail stores since November, and it just announced availability of the Ativ Odyssey smartphone for Verizon Wireless. But the Samsung's decision to not sell the Windows RT Ativ tablets in the US doesn't bode well for other manufacturers that may plan to launch their own tablets with the platform. Fortunately for Microsoft, Samsung hasn't completely ruled out the US market for Windows RT if it is able to address the issues of customer training and cost. But we aren't getting our hopes up to see one any time soon. "It's still a viable option for us in the future, but now might not be the right time," concluded Abary.

Update: Since the Samsung Ativ Tab uses a Qualcomm processor instead of the more common Nvidia Tegra 3 chip used in other Windows RT tablets, we reached out to Qualcomm for comment on the matter and received the following statement: "We can’t comment on partner product decisions, but Qualcomm is very committed to Windows RT and our partners and we expect momentum to build in 2013 for Windows on Snapdragon devices."