Wed, Dec 28, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Asustek invited to work on Microsoft’s new WOA system

By Jason Tan  /  Staff Reporter

Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦) is one of five international PC brands that will work with Microsoft Corp on the “Windows on ARM” (WOA) architecture, as the software giant is preparing to release its first operating system (OS) that supports chips from Intel Corp’s rival, ARM Holdings PLC.

According to Chinese-language media reports, only five PC brands have been invited by Microsoft to join WOA, a development project that shows its aggressiveness in tapping the burgeoning tablet PC market.

Asustek joins South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Inc, Japan’s Toshiba Corp, the US’ Hewlett-Packard Co and China’s Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想) in working with Microsoft to develop notebooks and tablets that run on WOA architecture, the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported yesterday, citing unnamed industry sources.

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp (宏達電), which has two tablet PCs on offer, and the world’s No. 4 PC brand, Acer Inc (宏碁), failed to make it onto the list, the newspaper said.

Currently, tablets running on Wintel (Windows and Intel) architecture are bulkier compared with those that run on Apple Inc’s iOS or Google Inc’s Android platform because Wintel is tailored for desktops and notebooks, not tablets.

“The lack of applications to support Wintel tablets is another reason why they are not selling well,” Horizon Securities (宏遠證券) analyst Cheng Kai-ming (鄭開明) said by telephone yesterday. “But that may change after WOA is launched next year.”

With Windows 8 due out next fall, Microsoft aims to seize a share of the tablet PC market as the new OS supports touch capability and would be the first time ARM-based chips that are widely used in today’s tablets and smartphones have Windows support.

“HTC and Acer are not particularly impressive in their tablet offerings,” Cheng said, adding that that could be why they were sidelined by Microsoft for the project.

Asustek’s tablets, dubbed the Transformer series, have been well received and the company expects to ship 3 million to 6 million tablets next year, up from 1.8 million this year.

Acer on Friday denied market rumors that it was exiting the tablet sector, which is dominated by Apple and has forced out competitors such as Hewlett-Packard and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd.

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