Even with dismal sales of the Surface RT, Microsoft is doubling down and working on a Surface RT 2, according to Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang. Huang told cnet.com that they’re “working really hard” on the second generation of the tablet, and that he thinks the updated version will be much more successful than the first.
The current model of the Surface RT has not been met with great sales at all, as Microsoft did not do a great job of providing users with a unique feature that would draw them away from their iPads or Android tablets. According to cnet.com:
“Nvidia provided the processor for the first Surface RT, but sales of the device have been dismal. Microsoft had to write down $900 million for Surface RT last month, and the software giant later revealed it had generated only $853 million in revenue from Surface RT and Surface Pro since their debut last fall.
“A big problem for Surface RT, the version of the tablet that runs on ARM-based chips instead of Intel, is that it didn’t have Outlook.”
The lack of a good app ecosystem is a major flaw for the Window mobile platform, and it currently plagues the Surface RT. Although Microsoft has certain Windows-specific apps like Office on the platform, the number of overall apps pales in comparison to Apple’s app or Android’s Play— with a mere 100,000 apps. But Huang says they’re working on a “killer app” for the Surface RT 2. He told CNET that new Surface will include Outlook, something that wasn’t in the original model.
“It is the killer app for Windows,” Huang told CNET. “Now we’re going to bring it with the second-generation Surface. We’re working really hard on it, and we hope that it’s going to be a big success.”
However, even with Outlook and full versions of Office, the Surface RT 2 won’t be unique enough to draw people away from the iOS and Android platforms. If Microsoft is really smart, they will go back to doing what they do best—being a software company. The right plan for them going forward is not in releasing more hardware, but in making a mobile version of their Office software available on other platforms.