LONDON – Toshiba Corp. has cancelled plans to sell computers that run the Windows RT operating system from Microsoft Corp. and that are based on an ARM-based processor, due to delays in getting adequate supplies of components, according to reports.
Toshiba was planning to use OMAP processors form Texas Instruments Inc. (Dallas, Texas) in the design and in June TI had produced a video showing off Windows RT running on a Toshiba tablet.
Because of poor chip supply Toshiba will now focus on making machines running the alternative Microsoft operating system called Windows 8, which runs only on x86 processors, which come from Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc.
Toshiba did not say which components are in so short supply as to force the cancelling of its Windows RT product, but many leading chip companies are either fabless, or have gone fab-lite, meaning that they are all dependent on foundries for their leading-edge 28-nm silicon. In particular, most are dependent on the leading foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (Hsinchu, Taiwan). There has been much discussion of low yields and shortages of supply of 28-nm silicon during this year.
"Toshiba has decided not to introduce Windows RT models due to delayed components that would make a timely launch impossible," Bloomberg quoted Eric Paulsen, a U.S.-based spokesman, as saying in an emailed statement. "For the time being, Toshiba will focus on bringing Windows 8 products to market. We will continue to look into the possibility of Windows RT products in the future while monitoring market conditions," Bloomberg also quoted Paulsen as saying.
Microsoft reportedly had restricted the number of companies and chip makers who would work on the initial release of Windows RT computers and tablets. Nvidia Corp. has been working with Asustek Computer Inc. and Lenovo Group Ltd. while Qualcomm Inc. is chartered with supplying Dell Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
Executives with both Nvidia and Qualcomm have spoken out about their inability to get enough 28-nm chips from TSMC and that the undersupply was expected to last through until the fourth quarter of 2012. Texas Instruments gave a weak outlook for 3Q12 in discussing the most recent financial results.
Related links and articles:
TI: Customers holding off on new orders
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Qualcomm sees 28-nm capacity crunch through 2012