PC giant Hewlett-Packard revealed this week that it would sell Intel-compatible Windows 8 PCs and devices in the fall but would not be bringing any ARM-based Windows RT devices to market. Contrary to some reports, however, HP’s decision has nothing to do with Microsoft’s entry into the Windows 8/RT hardware market with Surface.
“The decision to go with [Intel-type PCs] was influenced by input from our customers,” an HP spokesperson said. “The robust and established ecosystem of [Intel-based Windows] applications provides the best customer experience at this time and in the immediate future.”
The HP spokesperson also confirmed that the decision to stick with Intel-compatible PCs had nothing to do with Surface. It had made this decision previously, and reports suggesting otherwise are incorrect, HP says.
HP sells Windows-based computers with both Intel and AMD processors and chipsets, and both types of systems utilize the same Intel-compatible x86/x64 PC architecture. Windows 8 will ship in versions that support this architecture in addition to new versions, called Windows RT, that target specific ARM-based devices. ARM is a rival computing architecture currently used by highly mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets.
For all the drama, HP is really leaving open the possibility that it will bring ARM-based Windows RT devices to market in the future. Its statement is qualified enough that a change in direction is possible, should customers ask for a wider variety of platforms.