Editorial

Boom or Bust: A closer look at the state of Windows RT

Microsoft introduced Windows on Arm (WOA) at CES 2011 and caught many off-guard when they revealed that they had been secretly developing Windows for the ARM architecture. The platform brought with it the hopes and ambitions that ARM was ramping up in performance faster than Intel could scale down and that it would offer new opportunities and options for consumers.

But, since the announcement of the WOA platform, the marketplace has changed, Intel has adapted and WOA's future is not as clear as Microsoft would have likely hoped.

When Windows RT was introduced, it represented a new future for Windows-based devices and new opportunities for companies such as NVIDIA to enter the market and compete against the likes of Intel and AMD. This helped to solidify healthy competition in the chip fabrication business against the larger, entrenched incumbents in the sector - and when you have strong competition in the marketplace, you generally see lower-priced products.

In the beginning, this worked out well as we saw NVidia, Texas Instruments and Qualcomm jump at the idea of WOA. It seemed like a fantastic idea as ARM-based chips have been become synonymous with efficient performance at traditionally lower price points.

There was a lot of excitement around the idea too of Microsoft building its own ARM-based device, the Surface RT. After a press conference that caught many by surprise, Surface RT became the face of the new Microsoft, as it was the first device in the Surface family and the first Windows RT product to hit store shelves.

Microsoft’s move to support ARM was supposed to help create low-cost Windows-based tablets ARM was a great step for the company to help secure its future in the tablet marketplace.  After all, Intel’s Atom chips took a long time to materialize to something of value and because of their relatively weak performance, they contributed significantly to the collapse of the netbook market.

In fact, Intel’s inability to help stabilize the netbook market may have lead to Microsoft’s decision to support ARM to ensure that, in the future, Microsoft would have the ability to support products on the low end of the spectrum.

But with the hopes and dreams of ARM-powered Microsoft devices comes the cold hard truth of reality.

Microsoft did a poor job at defining the differences between Windows RT and Windows 8 when both products launched last October. It’s not that Windows RT was or is an inherently bad platform; it’s that Microsoft never successfully explained, in the most simple terms, the differences between the two. Because of this, consumers were cautious of buying something labeled ‘Windows RT’ when products labeled ‘Windows 8’ were next to each other on the store shelves.

Think about it, for the consumer who does not care about what powers their device, only that it works, they will stick with what is familiar sounding, which happens to be Windows 8. If you have Windows 7 at home (or even Windows 8) and you go to the store and see a Windows 8 or RT device, side-by-side, you would likely choose the Windows 8 device based on your existing knowledge of Microsoft platforms. To the uninformed buyer, 8 comes after 7; it's a logical step up. But Windows RT doesn't reconcile with that simple perception.

Even though Microsoft did a poor job at branding and defining the differences of Windows RT, there was still one major advantage to be tapped for the platform: cost. Windows RT devices were supposed to undercut similar Intel/AMD systems, but the problem remains that the price gap never materialized in a way that made consumers choose RT over 8.  The low-cost factor was not helped either when TI decided to back out of the market, leaving only two companies left to build chips for RT devices.

Take a look at some of the lower priced Windows 8 devices with Intel processors inside; they are in the exact same price bracket as those with Windows RT. Why choose a device with limited capability over that with Windows 8 when price is no longer an issue? You could argue that battery life is one reason to choose ARM but Intel is quickly gaining on that front too. 

It's only really become worse for Windows RT, particularly in recent weeks, after Microsoft was unable to sell its own device with RT and booked a 900 million dollar write-down to be able to lower the price of the device. OEMs are pulling back from the platform now too (along with Texas Instruments), as the sales of these devices are not justifying the expenses that have been generated.

Reading the above, you would think that Microsoft would be considering dumping the platform and returning its focus on to traditional Windows 8/8.1Microsoft should not abandon Windows RT. But, for Microsoft, this would not be a wise move.

The company needs to continue to support WOA as the future marketplace continues to shift. Microsoft needs to keep all of its options available, and limiting itself to only Intel / AMD devices, would not be a wise move. For Microsoft, current costs will be off-set by the future dividends of the platform as ARM continues to grow. The future for ARM is strong and Microsoft needs to be able to play in that market so that it does not miss out on another opportunity.

Even though vendor support is plummeting for the Windows RT platform, it’s not time to abandon all hope, yet. WOA provides Microsoft an outlet to keep pressure on Intel/AMD to keep pushing the boundaries on chip design and performance. With ARM up its sleeve, Microsoft now has a viable alternative to its traditional Windows line of products and this makes them a bigger threat, even if it has yet to materialize.

The question is not if Windows RT is worth Microsoft’s investment, but when will it pay off. While it may be easy to say now that they should dump the platform, at this time, that would be a foolish move.

Even though it is off to a rough start, Windows RT, which could in all honesty use a re-branding, something like Windows Touch, keeps the doors open for the Windows platform. It's not that Windows RT is a bad product, it's that Microsoft did such a poor job at marketing the product and allowed it to be placed into a market that, all too often, came too close to Windows 8.

Microsoft needs to confine Windows RT, lock it to a price point and a class of devices, so that that overlap no longer exists, and so that there is a compelling and logical value proposition for the platform. Windows RT needs a niche that Microsoft has yet to define.

But to dump the platform in the face of the competition would be a foolish move and not something we expect Microsoft to do. Windows RT has its place in the market at the bottom end, below Windows 8/8.1 but it’s up to Microsoft to hammer home its full agenda for the platform.

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98 Comments

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RT will not sell. It is too little too late type of product. Windows Pro with real start menu on the other hand will be top seller.

It's not that RT can't sell - it's that consumers are basically trying to force RT into the ring against Android - not iOS. From a hardware standpoint, RT hardware (not alone SurfaceRT, either - but all the RT hardware, even that of Acer and ASUS) stomps Android hardware flat. In terms of capabilities, RT - hardware and software - stomps a bloody hole in iOS and iPad - even most iPad fans grudgingly admit that. Why is none of that valuable? SurfaceRT costs less than iPad - and SurfaceRT is at the higher end of the RT price scale. Most RT OEMs are pricing under SurfaceRT, which puts them even further under iPad. Instead, there is an insistence on only two pricing models - that of Google, and that of Apple, and Apple alone can use the Apple pricing model (which is NOT trademarked, copyright-protected, or even copyright-protectable). Microsoft is using Apple's pricing model against Apple (against the iPad specifically), and whacking it hard in terms of both features AND price (their current run of ads) - and, for some reason, that's not enough. DaveBG - are you an Android-only developer? Do you write apps for any non-Google platform? If you are not tried inextricably to Google, what is YOUR reason for trying to throw RT under the bus?

1 - RT uses ugly interface.
2 - RT is closed and limited even more than iOS.
3 - RT hardware contrary to what you thing is crap.

Also i have not seen the price to be that low as you are spreading FUD here. It is way higher than most Android tablets.

I said compared to iPad - not Android. Yet you insist on comparing RT to Android - why? If RT hardware is crap, what does it say about Android hardware? (RT hardware is Android hardware scaled up - the same CPUs run Android and RT; the GPUs are also either identical or nearly so, with RT requiring higher-spec hardware.) Android has lower requirements than RT - that much isn't in dispute. Basically, you and I are in agreement - the decision in favor of Android is entirely based on price/cost (OEMs) and/or app count (users) - nothing else.

heres my take on this. Microsoft is an expert in long game strategies they plan decades ahead.

I think come windows 9, windows rt and windows phone will have merged because they are essentially the same, rt has some legacy stuff like networking and printers, that they should keep, and all unneeded desktop features and 'legacy ui' will be dropped, I know rt looks like windows 8 but under the covers its basically windows phone on steroids.

Also the windows phone and windows rt metro ui will merge and will look similar to xbox one and windows 9, along with 3rd party app development which will be consistent between xbox one, windows 9, and windows phone. Silverlight and xna will be phased out in favour of the current windows 8 development parameters plus directX. Allowing for a combined metro app market across three platforms, windows 9, xbox one, and the combined windows rt/phone. these new apps will be write once run anywhere and and have three ui modes. developers can target specific platforms out of the three. I think the store should be very strict in what kind of apps it allows to use more than one type of platform and be particularly stringent on xbox one.

The new combined widows rt/phone devices will be anything below 8 inches, all will cost less than $400 for the base model, and compete directly with ios and adroid be it on phones or tablets. all will have sim card capabilities and be able to make mobile phone calls( yes even on 8 inch devices), they will ONLY run the new upcoming metro version of office ( kinda silly to run full office in desktop mode on a device smaller than 8 inches) they can be connected via hdmi(or similar) for full screen apps ( metro) and be capable or running one app on less than 5 inches, two apps between 5-8 inches and upto 4 on greater screens through hdmi ( max of 6 apps open at once using two displays 2 on mobile display and 4 on tv or monitor).

this would make windows far more seemless. windows for desktop, windows for xbox, windows for mobile. work - play - connect.

Microsoft made the right choice by slimming the windows core down to a mobile os this is the core of BOTH rt and phone and they should be merged into one which would compete directly with ios and adroid. is seems retarded that Microsoft has two operating systems which although look different behave the same competing with ios n adroid with different approaches

seeing as Microsoft has merged the windows phone and windows 8/rt divisions and put the head of windows phone incharge of windows 8 I hope to God this is what they're planning. the long game. I think Microsoft used windows rt as a pawn just as it did zune and windows phone 7, they're just testing the water they can afford to take there time windows is still king. even though windows 8 was 'poorly received' windows 8 is still selling by the millions. they had the same strategy with the shift to nt, I think things will get very interesting in the next two years.

ps: windows 9 will have a min screen size of 8 inch, and obviously only run on intel or amd processors wheras windows rt/phone will only run on arm. this will prevent confusion and prevent windows 9 and windows rt/phone from competing with each other like winodows 8 and windows rt currently do.

sorry for crap spelling and punctuation.

Edited by Attiq, Aug 13 2013, 6:44pm :

So I bought an RT less than a week ago... I really love it so far.

Jailbroken I can run a few handy desktop apps like Filezilla and 7zip, I'm working on porting the open source dev environment I use a lot too... battery life's awesome... Metro is incredible with a touchscreen... I only wanted it as a pure entertainment tablet but with the type cover on it really has become something I can do basic work on

Why doesn't MS just use the RT for their 9in or less tablets? I mean the licensing fee is less than W8, which could make the smaller form tablets cheaper and more competitive. Plus for a student to have free MS Office and if they add that stylus feature available on the pro its a no brainer.

If you ask me, the problem was always having the desktop on RT. This was obviously because Metro Office wasn't anywhere near ready to be released, so it was a necessary evil. Had this been ready, had RT devices been sold with NO desktop whatsoever, nobody would have misunderstood: this PC has no desktop, only modern software, gives you crazy battery life and is super light. This other PC has desktop, you can install anything you like, but is heavier, hotter and has less battery life.

That way, the choice becomes: install old stuff or just the new stuff? Easy peasy. I'm convinced the moment Office is ready for metro, the desktop will disappear in a second on RT.

Xabier Granja said,
If you ask me, the problem was always having the desktop on RT. This was obviously because Metro Office wasn't anywhere near ready to be released, so it was a necessary evil. Had this been ready, had RT devices been sold with NO desktop whatsoever, nobody would have misunderstood: this PC has no desktop, only modern software, gives you crazy battery life and is super light. This other PC has desktop, you can install anything you like, but is heavier, hotter and has less battery life.

That way, the choice becomes: install old stuff or just the new stuff? Easy peasy. I'm convinced the moment Office is ready for metro, the desktop will disappear in a second on RT.

And if/when that happens, I sure hope they have a Windows 8 Pro for ARM ready for those of us that want the desktop (and an unrestricted one at that) on our ARM devices.

Based on IDC numbers, Windows RT numbers are horrible in terms of marketshare. Why would I spend more than a cost of a Nexus 7 or a Samsung Chromebook or a iPad Mini when I still can't install programs on a Windows RT device?

You "can't" install just as many programs on a Surface RT as you "can't" install on a Nexus 7/Chromebook/ or iPad.

Otherwise, the Chromebook is a different form factor, and the Nexus 7 is very limited compared to the Surface. The iPad certainly competes, but it probably depends on whether you've bought in to the OSX or Windows ecosystem already.

Nothing to do with Ecosystem. Price is a major factor. There is a reason why people are not buying RT devices. Manufacturers don't want to do them anymore and are moving to focus on Chromebooks. So much for Ecosystem theory.

As I said, the Chromebook is a different form factor. For $250, some people want a full laptop without a touch screen instead of a tablet. They're also great if you're already using Gmail and Google docs.

Most people already are in the Google Ecosystem and don't know it.

Gmail, Search, Image Search, Calendar, Contacts, Maps, YouTube and maybe Chrome. Just because you use Windows or Mac doesn't mean squat.

Personally I bought a Chromebook and a Nexus 7. $450 total value. And I could have spent more on a Surface RT. That's not too smart now.

It's stupid to limit the OS in capabilities when people have already proven that it's perfectly capable of running desktop apps. Once Microsoft opens it up officially, people will start compiling for ARM and they will start to offer multiple binaries: x86, x64 and ARM.
Just a matter of time now...

Bamsebjorn said,
It's stupid to limit the OS in capabilities when people have already proven that it's perfectly capable of running desktop apps. Once Microsoft opens it up officially, people will start compiling for ARM and they will start to offer multiple binaries: x86, x64 and ARM.
Just a matter of time now...

I agree 100%. I wouldn't have bought my Surface RT if it weren't for the fine folks at XDA developers forum that wrote the "jailbreak" script to allow unsigned desktop apps to run.

One of the main reasons for Microsoft making an ARM version of Windows is so they will have an OS for the 64bit ARMv8 based servers that will be arriving at data centers in the next year or two. I can't believe this article didn't even touch on that. As phone hardware continues to advance Windows RT and Windows Phone will merge and the same kernel will be used by the ARM variant of Windows Server. ARM won't replace x86-64 but ARM isn't going anywhere either and it's smart for Microsoft to support both platforms. RT is just a necessary interim step (poorly branded and marketed.) I personally look forward to where it evolves but in it's current state I'm not willing to buy in myself.

It is a terrible product. They should use Windows Phone OS for 8 inch and lower and use Windows 8 on all tablets bigger. There is no place for Windows RT.

Can you dare be more specific in what way it is terrible ?

Essentially all three OSes you are mentioning all run the same NT core. It's just the outer shell (UI layer) that is different. So it's not all difficult to combine Windows Phone and Windows RT into one OS.

UI is different (similar, but not the same). APIs are different. There are a lot of nuisances that are different (often better) in Windows Phone 8 than Windows 8/RT. If anything, for consistency they should have simply scaled the Windows Phone UI up to larger devices, then made the changes needed to adapt to larger screens.

Agreed with that. UI needs work. Windows 8.1 hopefully addresses some of the problems. But Windows Phone 8 is 3 years old if you count in Windows Phone 7. So it took 3 years of refinements. On the other hand Windows 8 UI and APIs are less than 1 year old, so it needs a lot of refinements.

Windows RT is not a responsive system. You wait, wait and wait more. Everything about Windows Phone and Windows 8 are about being responsive and fast. Windows RT not only offers a horrible experience but it also taints the perception of Microsoft and Windows as a whole.

Windows 8.1 should help when it comes to performance. They have made a lot of improvement to NGen which should make app startup much faster. Besides when you say it is slow what hardware did you test it on ?

incendy said,
Windows RT is not a responsive system. You wait, wait and wait more. Everything about Windows Phone and Windows 8 are about being responsive and fast. Windows RT not only offers a horrible experience but it also taints the perception of Microsoft and Windows as a whole.

What tablet are you using? My Surface RT never lags.

C#Rocks said,
Windows 8.1 should help when it comes to performance. They have made a lot of improvement to NGen which should make app startup much faster. Besides when you say it is slow what hardware did you test it on ?

My findings are based on using my Surface RT. I also have a Surface Pro, iPad 3 and Nexus 7 which are the devices I am comparing it to. The update yesterday did actually help Surface RT a lot though. Still doesn't open apps as fast as the other 3 but it is getting better.

Why haven't Microsoft released an Intel x86/x64 emulation/translation layer yet? I thought this was in the pipeline. If one can run any Windows app on RT, I'm sure it would give the platform a huge sales boost.

Edited by 68k, Aug 13 2013, 2:54pm :

Unless the next generation of ARM chips significantly lowers the price of RT devices I don't see much hope for the platform. Intel may have taken its time but the atom chips are delivering better battery life and in many cases performance (sans video) and giving consumers a whole OS not limiting them to the metro environment. Unless baytrail comes with a huge cost increase I can see no reason for an ARM tablet over an intel one, given the current prices v functionality.

Im not suggesting RT be abandoned, I think it makes a fine consumption tablet but unless they can lower the price tag, its raison d'être is eclipsed by the ability and cost of the atom tablets - which in MS defence after so many years and the failed netbook era, no one really had much hope that the current generation was going to be so promising.

Touch-centric tablets are eventually going to morph into becoming a slightly larger smartphone. If one really needs a keyboard--then, get serious about a keyboard and use a laptop (or desktop).

TsarNikky said,
Touch-centric tablets are eventually going to morph into becoming a slightly larger smartphone. If one really needs a keyboard--then, get serious about a keyboard and use a laptop (or desktop).

Um. Wut?

RT is simply not a tablet OS. It is windows 8 ported to arm, plain and simple.

They slapped on a touch interface over the windows platform and had profile syncing between devices. That is not a tablet OS.

There are small hints of brilliance, but overall it is doomed to fail.

I really wish they had taken the excellent metro/modern interface with the microsoft apps (which I absolutely love), a full touch office, skydrive and better skype integration and put that on a mobile platform.

RT has way too much legacy rubbish for a tablet. There should not be multiple ways to do something on a tablet like on a desktop OS. It needs to be fast, simplistic, elegant. There are signs, but I feel a proper tablet OS from microsoft either wont happen, or it will be a good few years away.

If Microsoft want to entice consumers to their ecosystem, want millions of people to sign up for Xbox Music, MS Store etc etc which will bring in good revenew they won't do this with RT in its current guise

When anyone asks me at work what I think of my win8 tablet, I say 'it's not a tablet, its a laptop in a tablet case'

Edited by glen8, Aug 13 2013, 12:25pm :

glen8 said,
RT is simply not a tablet OS. It is windows 8 ported to arm, plain and simple.

They slapped on a touch interface over the windows platform and had profile syncing between devices. That is not a tablet OS.

There are small hints of brilliance, but overall it is doomed to fail.

I really wish they had taken the excellent metro/modern interface with the microsoft apps (which I absolutely love), a full touch office, skydrive and better skype integration and put that on a mobile platform.

RT has way too much legacy rubbish for a tablet. There should not be multiple ways to do something on a tablet like on a desktop OS. It needs to be fast, simplistic, elegant. There are signs, but I feel a proper tablet OS from microsoft either wont happen, or it will be a good few years away.

If Microsoft want to entice consumers to their ecosystem, want millions of people to sign up for Xbox Music, MS Store etc etc which will bring in good revenew they won't do this with RT in its current guise

When anyone asks me at work what I think of my win8 tablet, I say 'it's not a tablet, its a laptop in a tablet case'

Uhh, have you even used RT? The only time I ever see the desktop now is by opening Office. Not to mention Microsoft is bringing Office to Metro next year.

the main advantage of ARM is the long battery life, thin profile and fanless design. Granted, performance is not going to be the same like the mainstream intel processors; but the advantages are there.

I think it is stupid from MS if they pull the plug now. It's too early. They should maybe change the marketing model of RT and make it free for OEMs and make money off the Windows Store.

Whilst Android boasts to have a massive selection of apps, most of them are not tailored for tablets. So it's just playing with numbers.

Another thing.. I don't think it makes sense to run legacy desktop apps on a tablet (without the keyboard and track pad). So Windows 8 on a tablet does not make real sense.

If you compare performance between Intel Atom and ARM, the later is not far behind if not running at the same speed with better GPU. Longer battery life is a bonus.

I hope we see Surface 2 soon.

Its odd. This (Windows RT on a Surface) does serve some purpose, as users above have stated their device works well, long battery life, etc. But I do NOT think this is the future of mobile computing at all. Now something like the Surface Pro, THAT is where I think the future of mobile computers will make it's mark. A powerful tablet (when you need it) - fully functioning laptop (when you need it) - not even mentioning all the things it can do while still being 100% portable. The only thing It needs to improve upon is the battery life. Maybe a beefier battery, but hopefully that technology will improve with time.

zrlan7710 said,
How can you be absolutely sure it isn't the future of mobile computing if you're reflecting on the present?

It just seems too underpowered. Almost like its some kind of toy or novelty item and not a business tool. Wouldn't you rather have a i5 processor, with more power? That runs Windows 8 Pro and all desktop applications flawlessly? It's a no brainer to me.

Very simply - I think - a rebranding would work if it was as clear as it can get:
Windows ARM . Period. Or, maybe, Windows 8 ARM.
Windows "Touch" would still be confusing, as Windows 8 is just as "touch", and you would they read thousands of "experts" on line stating that Windows 8 is "not touch", whatever that means in their minds.
The fact is that the only real essential difference between Windows 8 and Windows RT is that the first is X84/x64, the second is ARM.
Why not being just clear with naming? I never understood the Windows "RT" naming logic.

Also, Windows RT and Surface RT are excellent products, suffering by somewhat limited App availability, which will change, and serious misperception by customers.

Taym said,
Very simply - I think - a rebranding would work if it was as clear as it can get:
Windows ARM . Period. Or, maybe, Windows 8 ARM.
Windows "Touch" would still be confusing, as Windows 8 is just as "touch", and you would they read thousands of "experts" on line stating that Windows 8 is "not touch", whatever that means in their minds.
The fact is that the only real essential difference between Windows 8 and Windows RT is that the first is X84/x64, the second is ARM.
Why not being just clear with naming? I never understood the Windows "RT" naming logic.

Also, Windows RT and Surface RT are excellent products, suffering by somewhat limited App availability, which will change, and serious misperception by customers.

Wow. "Windows ARM" actually sounds nice.

Taym said,
Also, Windows RT and Surface RT are excellent products, suffering by somewhat limited App availability, which will change, and serious misperception by customers.

I'd like to comment on that part. For RT, I can agree on the apps. For Example, NextGen Reader is a great RSS/Feedly app but when I tried the Feedly app on the Nexus 7, I was blown away by how clean, bright and beautiful it was to look at and use. We need more of these "little" things in Windows RT/8 "Modern" apps.

It wasn't off for a good start, no doubt about that, but I'd like to see how it does with Windows 8.1 before passing judgment here. I think it might be a bad idea though. Someone put it a bit like how I see it: "It's like a Windows 8 in trial mode".

If desktop computing still plays a part in the future there still is no point to RT as it still won't run the programs people want. Are ARM devices going to get the ability to run complex programs like Photoshop and Visual Studio in the future? If they are still going to be limited to apps like snapchat and the like then there will still be no point to RT.

efjay said,
If desktop computing still plays a part in the future there still is no point to RT as it still won't run the programs people want. Are ARM devices going to get the ability to run complex programs like Photoshop and Visual Studio in the future? If they are still going to be limited to apps like snapchat and the like then there will still be no point to RT.

Saying there's no point to RT is like saying there's no point to iOS. It doesn't run Mac apps, but that's the whole point. Same with RT. Besides, there's only a select market for Photoshop, and an even slimmer market for Visual Studio. Consumers aren't overly interested in that stuff.

If you need x64, buy an Intel/AMD device, if you need mobility, Windows RT will fit your bill.

Dot Matrix said,

Saying there's no point to RT is like saying there's no point to iOS. It doesn't run Mac apps, but that's the whole point. Same with RT. Besides, there's only a select market for Photoshop, and an even slimmer market for Visual Studio. Consumers aren't overly interested in that stuff.

If you need x64, buy an Intel/AMD device, if you need mobility, Windows RT will fit your bill.

iOS is Apple's mobile OS. Windows Phone is Microsoft's mobile OS.

Windows RT is a desktop OS with a touch ui, just like Windows 8. It just has some extra restrictions on win32 (signing requirements) and some legacy api didn't make the recompile.

domboy said,

iOS is Apple's mobile OS. Windows Phone is Microsoft's mobile OS.

Windows RT is a desktop OS with a touch ui, just like Windows 8. It just has some extra restrictions on win32 (signing requirements) and some legacy api didn't make the recompile.

WinRT is very much a mobile OS, built for tablet use. Microsoft did it right by scaling down Windows, rather than mimicking Apple, and scaling up Windows Phone.

You wouldn't upscale a JPEG, so what sense does it make to upscale an OS?

Dot Matrix said,

WinRT is very much a mobile OS, built for tablet use. Microsoft did it right by scaling down Windows, rather than mimicking Apple, and scaling up Windows Phone.

You wouldn't upscale a JPEG, so what sense does it make to upscale an OS?

I so of agree with out, but we are debating technicalities. Windows RT is pretty much an ARM compiled version of Windows 8 Home. It lacks some older APIs (pre .NET 4, DirectX older than 9), which you could argue is the "scaled down" part, and requires win32 apps to be signed by Microsoft to run. Otherwise they are pretty much the same.

But that is pretty much the whole point of Windows 8 anyway... make it into both a mobile OS and a desktop OS.

why is that ? Windows RT was made for tablets from the ground up. Technically it's even better than what iOS and Android offer. It just has to mature. Honeycomb did not make an impact on day 1. Actually it sucked. Look where Android is now. It wasn't that long time ago.

glen8 said,
I do not believe the platform is right for tablet computing.

I can't believe you're still here. The platform is for mobile computing.

C#Rocks said,
why is that ? Windows RT was made for tablets from the ground up. Technically it's even better than what iOS and Android offer. It just has to mature. Honeycomb did not make an impact on day 1. Actually it sucked. Look where Android is now. It wasn't that long time ago.

designed from the ground up, to me it looks like they've taken the windows 8 code base and ported it to arm. There's nothing about RT that tells me it was written for tablets from the ground up. It's too much like a desktop OS (which is good and bad)

The interface part is all new (Metro) from the ground up. The rest was ported (which believe me is a massive achievement if it looks that similar for you). Most people complain because they cannot legacy apps on Windows RT (not the other way round) and the name confuses them.

C#Rocks said,
why is that ? Windows RT was made for tablets from the ground up. Technically it's even better than what iOS and Android offer. It just has to mature. Honeycomb did not make an impact on day 1. Actually it sucked. Look where Android is now. It wasn't that long time ago.

Maybe for you; personally I found Honeycomb better than the iPhone grid... As well as the lock screen of WM, showing multiple calendar entries, was better than the WP actual one.

C#Rocks said,
please don't mention WM. It brings me shivers.

Again: it is a matter of personal opinions: I still feel that WM 6.XX was more powerful, productive and versatile than any of the current smartphone OSes.
My Lumia 920 has a 4.5" screen and shows just one of my calendar appointments..... iOS icons grid: as I said Honeycomb was one hundred time better.
But again: beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

Once publishing apps in the store is the defacto method of distribution and most of what people need to use is there, RT will make perfect sense. Its just a little ahead of its time.

Publishing an app and having it be available on Windows Phone, RT, Xbox 1 and Windows 8 is when it will all make sense.

Conversely, there's the Apple route, where there's no overlap between iOS and OSX, which is a plan that I don't think will work out in the long run.

I have an xps 10 which is a windows rt device. it lasts 2 days for me no charging heavy usage. Can go for a week or more In standby. IT is a marketing problem plain and simple.

Not really "marketing" - more like "expectations". The average user's expectations of Windows have a disconnect that is only getting worse - more and more is wanted/expected out of Windows devices (any Windows devices - RT, Phone, Windows 7 or later for x32/x64, etc.), yet for some reason, every user wants the price to drop, despite the increased capabilities demanded. I doubt that the increased capabilities and lower prices can be reconciled at all. WOA/RT was an attempt to do that without damaging the "brand" - and especially of Windows x32/x64 - too much (ModernUI was designed to connect the two as a common UX). However, ModernUI as a UX is disparaged mostly for moving away from the *tradition* of the desktop Windows Brand, while RT commits the *sin* of being *overpriced* (those increased expectations in terms of capabilities, etc, DO exact a cost in terms of hardware price - that few are willing to pay). From what I see, Android is *good enough* to meet user budgets - which is enough for them. (If either Microsoft or Apple had made such a half-baked effort - I'm referring simply to the specs of most Android tablets here - they would have been slammed for it.) For all those folks whacking RT, name an Android tablet that you would favor - and why. If it's specs, what does it offer that RT tablets lack. If it's all about price, then explain why on the one hand, you want even RT tablets to have greater capabilities and features than Android tablets, yet you want them priced identically to those same tablets. It's not fair, not logical, and makes no sense whatever.

gregalto said,
Agreed, it's dumb for MS to drop Windows RT now, ARM is a good alternative but they did screw up RT marketing.

Microsoft isn't dropping ARM, despite what pundits say.

Yes, change the name. And while I realize that "Windows Mobile" was already used for their previous phone OS, the reality is that "Windows Mobile" is the best name for Windows RT, especially if Windows RT will eventually be used on phones too.

Suddenly, we'd have a clear differentiator. "Windows Mobile" is the Metro-thing and runs mobile apps. Windows 8 runs mobile apps AND desktop apps. Simple. "RT" just doesn't mean anything to anyone.

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
If Microsoft allowed apps to install and operate in the desktop, maybe it would help RT.

That's not the purpose of RT.

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
If Microsoft allowed apps to install and operate in the desktop, maybe it would help RT.

It's not a matter of permission, it's a matter of design. ARM does not support desktop apps (technically x86 apps).

A lot of people's complaints about Windows RT was the inability to use third party desktop apps. If allowing third party desktop apps could help RT, then Microsoft should go for it. I am not talking the desktop apps we all think of, it would be the same apps on Modern, but that run in the desktop.

I don't agree with the Windows Mobile name. Why not Windows Tablet OS ?

Granted RT does not mean anything to anyone.... It was put forward by programmers (RT - Windows Runtime). But programmer's are the worst people to market a product. No wonder it failed miserably.

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
A lot of people's complaints about Windows RT was the inability to use third party desktop apps. If allowing third party desktop apps could help RT, then Microsoft should go for it. I am not talking the desktop apps we all think of, it would be the same apps on Modern, but that run in the desktop.

Again, that's not the purpose of Windows RT. If you want desktop apps, buy another device.

(HINT: Even if Microsoft allowed desktop apps on RT, developers would still need to recompile them for the ARM architecture. Not very many would take the time to do that.)

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
I am not talking the desktop apps we all think of, it would be the same apps on Modern, but that run in the desktop.

Well, legacy apps need to find their exit someday as modern apps make their way.

C#Rocks said,
I don't agree with the Windows Mobile name. Why not Windows Tablet OS ?

It's too long and Windows 8 is a tablet OS too.

Anyhow, MS is idealistic about their "no compromise crap." Go back to reality, MS.

I don't agree at all, legacy apps should never leave. I and many others much prefer to be working on the desktop using a robust program or game. There are significantly more legacy apps out there than modern apps. Businesses, schools, home users use desktop legacy apps everyday. Modern apps don't offer the amount of functionality as desktop apps do also. A Photoshop app in Modern will be drastically cut down in features than the full version. I really cant believe some are saying desktop apps should be given the boot.

Windows Tablet - existed. It's the XP version for tablets - a x86 version, similar with Windows Media Center 2005. Windows Mobile is better.

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
I don't agree at all, legacy apps should never leave. I and many others much prefer to be working on the desktop using a robust program or game. There are significantly more legacy apps out there than modern apps. Businesses, schools, home users use desktop legacy apps everyday. Modern apps don't offer the amount of functionality as desktop apps do also. A Photoshop app in Modern will be drastically cut down in features than the full version. I really cant believe some are saying desktop apps should be given the boot.

It's called legacy because it's old and widely used, and people like old things because it's comfortable. However, sooner or later as computing begin to evolve, people of year 2020 or so will realize how crippled legacy apps were looking back to this year.

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
I am not saying Microsoft shouldn't move forward, but they should "tread lightly" in terms of not alienating the traditional Windows community (made up of millions of users).

And they're not. Windows 8 does nothing to prevent users from installing desktop apps (Assuming they're compatible with Windows 8).

Windows mobile/tablet doesn't describe what RT is, but then again neither does the name RT. Maybe there should be an option to disable desktop.

ians18 said,
Windows mobile/tablet doesn't describe what RT is, but then again neither does the name RT. Maybe there should be an option to disable desktop.

Then you would disable Office.

Even "Windows 8 RT" would have been better, like "Windows 8 Core" and "Windows 8 Pro". I'm actually surprised it didn't end up being called "Windows 8 for Devices," in traditional Microsoft fashion.

And most desktop applications (even back to Windows XP) run on Windows 8/8.1 just fine. That's not the issue with 8, or even RT - the issue is that the price gap is too narrow between the two. Too narrow? Yes - too narrow. As even the critics of both admit, 8 does more than RT today; RT's only advantage - battery life - is not as compelling, and especially not compared to Android tablets. (Contrarian opinion - has anyone realized that the battery life advantage Android has is due to it NOT being as overloaded with features that eat battery life as RT? In fact, can anyone even name an identically-configured Android tablet and an RT tablet?)

Dot Matrix said,

Then you would disable Office.


Let me reword what I said: For the complainers there should be an option to disable the desktop instead of getting rid of it.

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
If Microsoft allowed apps to install and operate in the desktop, maybe it would help RT.

Dot Matrix said,

Again, that's not the purpose of Windows RT. If you want desktop apps, buy another device.

(HINT: Even if Microsoft allowed desktop apps on RT, developers would still need to recompile them for the ARM architecture. Not very many would take the time to do that.)

The statement "Not the purpose of Windows RT" is totally and completely your opinion. If you don't use the desktop anymore that is fine. And since you are not the sole user of windows you also don't speak for anyone other than yourself, and it is not your role to decide the purpose of Windows. Because as a customer and user of Windows RT I respectfully and completely disagree with you.

I want and use the desktop on RT. I want to be able to run .NET 4 programs that don't need a recompile. I want to be able to use open source windows apps that can and have been recompiled. AND, I'd like Cisco to have the option of recompiling their VPN client for Windows on ARM. My biggest problem with Windows RT is that it gives no option to remove the restrictions in place for "power users" that want to use their Windows ARM devices much like a x86 Windows 8 device, instead of a locked down "Apple-esque" device.

My apologies to Dot Matrix if what I wrote above is offensive, but it frankly sounds just like Microsoft's answers of "Surface RT is not designed for Business use" or "Buy a Surface Pro". Sorry, but just because you or Microsoft didn't think of a use case doesn't mean customers aren't going to want to use it for purpose other than originally envisioned. By that logic iPads weren't design for business use either, but that's not stopping users either. You can either provide the functionality users want, or they will go elsewhere.

I don't want the current Pro that's for sure, and don't want the added expense. So far nobody else has released an x86 convertible I like better than the Surface RT physically speaking. It's just unfortunate Windows RT isn't more open like Windows 8.

gregalto said,
Agreed, it's dumb for MS to drop Windows RT now, ARM is a good alternative but they did screw up RT marketing.

Merge WP8 and RT
Call the new OS "Windows Go"
Advertise 300,000 apps
Put Windows Go on all devices under 9 inches.

domboy said,

The statement "Not the purpose of Windows RT" is totally and completely your opinion. If you don't use the desktop anymore that is fine. And since you are not the sole user of windows you also don't speak for anyone other than yourself, and it is not your role to decide the purpose of Windows. Because as a customer and user of Windows RT I respectfully and completely disagree with you.

I want and use the desktop on RT. I want to be able to run .NET 4 programs that don't need a recompile. I want to be able to use open source windows apps that can and have been recompiled. AND, I'd like Cisco to have the option of recompiling their VPN client for Windows on ARM. My biggest problem with Windows RT is that it gives no option to remove the restrictions in place for "power users" that want to use their Windows ARM devices much like a x86 Windows 8 device, instead of a locked down "Apple-esque" device.

It's not opinion. It's fact. Buying a Surface RT and expecting full x64 compat is like buying a Sedan and expecting a pickup. Microsoft offers you a choice, if you want the Pickup functionality, buy the Surface Pro. WinRT isn't meant for desktop apps, and it was never intended to.

Avatar Roku said,

Merge WP8 and RT
Call the new OS "Windows Go"
Advertise 300,000 apps
Put Windows Go on all devices under 9 inches.

Would confuse people with Windows To Go. :T

Dot Matrix said,

Again, that's not the purpose of Windows RT. If you want desktop apps, buy another device.

(HINT: Even if Microsoft allowed desktop apps on RT, developers would still need to recompile them for the ARM architecture. Not very many would take the time to do that.)

I think what is being asked here is for a new wave of desktop apps for the arm variant of windows, not for compatibility for old x86 applications.

domboy - I hate to break it to you, but (in this case) Dot Matrix is right; what you want doesn't square for the reason for RT. You basically are insisting on a lower-priced non-RT tablet (the lack of a recompile is an outright giveaway). While you can write (literally) the same app for ModernUI (8 and 8.1) and RT, a recompile/code change is needed - there is no amount of dancing around that can change that. If most users think the same way you do, that is, indeed, part of RT's dilemma. The price aspect is, naturally, another part of the dilemma - what's the PRICE spread between RT tablets and 8 portables? From what I can see, it's rather narrow; therefore, if I have any sort of common sense at all, why purchase RT-based hardware, when I can go Windows 8 and have most of the hardware features AND a greater software library to choose from, for little more? Or, I can instead go far lower end with Android (which a lot of folks are indeed doing; among the critics of RT, the VAST majority are saying that "Android is good enough and cheap!" - never mind that the specs of those same Android tablets would be FAR from acceptable in RT tablets). They are basically voting for cheap.

Dot Matrix said,

It's not opinion. It's fact. Buying a Surface RT and expecting full x64 compat is like buying a Sedan and expecting a pickup. Microsoft offers you a choice, if you want the Pickup functionality, buy the Surface Pro. WinRT isn't meant for desktop apps, and it was never intended to.

Wow, I guess I have explained my view very badly. Of course I don't expect x86/x64 compatibility on an ARM-based machine. I never said that anything of the sort.

I do however want to ability to run .NET 4 apps that are compiled for "any cpu" to run without needing to "jailbreak" it. KeePass2 is a perfect example of such an app that runs on Windows RT once the signing requirement is gone.

I would also like to be allowed to run a win32 app that has been recompiled for the ARM cpu. Putty is an example of a win32 app that runs just fine on Windows RT once recompiled to run on the ARM cpu.

I'm not asking for the default signing requirement to be changed, just a way to change it for those that would like to use the desktop more.

domboy said,

Wow, I guess I have explained my view very badly. Of course I don't expect x86/x64 compatibility on an ARM-based machine. I never said that anything of the sort.

I do however want to ability to run .NET 4 apps that are compiled for "any cpu" to run without needing to "jailbreak" it. KeePass2 is a perfect example of such an app that runs on Windows RT once the signing requirement is gone.

I would also like to be allowed to run a win32 app that has been recompiled for the ARM cpu. Putty is an example of a win32 app that runs just fine on Windows RT once recompiled to run on the ARM cpu.

I'm not asking for the default signing requirement to be changed, just a way to change it for those that would like to use the desktop more.

I think Microsoft should open up Windows RT like allowing approved recompiled apps, which is why they should keep the desktop, but allow to disable it if the customer wants to. Also give an option to disable the start button if the customer wants to and have an option to customize hotcorners. They should allow RT to be customized like Amazon did to android (and approved by Microsoft) and put on specific purpose hardware like the kindle fire.

ians18 said,

I think Microsoft should open up Windows RT like allowing approved recompiled apps, which is why they should keep the desktop, but allow to disable it if the customer wants to. Also give an option to disable the start button if the customer wants to and have an option to customize hotcorners. They should allow RT to be customized like Amazon did to android (and approved by Microsoft) and put on specific purpose hardware like the kindle fire.

That would be the worst possible thing to do. Customized? Really? Is this Android now? Would you really want OEMs dragging down your image with crappy customizations?

Not uncontrolled like Android, still only runs Windows apps not the play store, they could allow apps to be downloaded from approved other sites. As for customizations, a e-reader tablet running RT, yes with no store restrictions like the kindle fire. But if Amazon wanted they could block other ereader apps.