Editorial

Editorial: Windows RT is Microsoft's biggest mess


This is Windows 8. It's also Windows RT.

Out of all the products Microsoft is going forward with, Windows RT is undoubtedly the biggest mess. Xbox continues to see strong sales, Surface packs impressive hardware, Windows Phone 8 is gaining traction, Office is soon to see a new release and Windows 8 is selling millions of licences. But Windows RT? It's all over the place.

It's not surprising that Microsoft wanted to bring Windows to ARM-based devices, after all, the iPad is doing so well and Android already has a wide range of devices on the market. ARM-based devices can be cheaper and more accessible than their x86 counterparts, allowing more consumers to enjoy Microsoft software in the home and office.

The product Microsoft came up with is Windows RT: an OS that looks and feels like Windows 8, but really isn't. Sure it may have a very similar code base, and very similar features including the Start screen and the desktop, but there is a fundamental difference between the two. As Windows RT is for ARM devices, and Windows 8 is for x86 devices, apps for one cannot work on the other without recompiling. This means that the huge x86 Windows desktop app catalog is incompatible with Windows RT.

And so we have the first mess: because Windows RT looks exactly like Windows 8, but lacks the fundamental ability to run existing desktop apps, it creates confusion in the market. There has been several times where, in a store selling Windows RT devices, I have overheard customers ask if they can run standard Windows programs on a Windows RT tablet. A typical exchange goes something like this:

Customer: Can I run my Windows apps on this tablet? Like Photoshop?

Salesperson: No, because it's running Windows RT, which is different to Windows 8 and can't run standard apps

Customer: But it looks exactly like Windows 8! Why won't the apps run?

Salesperson: It isn't Windows 8 though, and it can't run the apps because it runs on different hardware

Customer: Well that's confusing...

Consumers are told that they can't do something on one Windows tablet, but can do it on another. They look the same, so naturally one begins to ask questions, questions that don't need to be asked for Android and iOS because consumers know exactly what they're getting in to.

Supporting ARM tablets has actually put Microsoft in an interesting predicament that you don't get with iOS or Android. Both Google and Apple have two separate OSes: one for desktop and laptop computers (Chrome OS and Mac OS X respectively), and one for tablets and smartphones (Android and iOS); Microsoft has three: one for desktops, laptops and x86 tablets (Windows 8), one for ARM tablets (Windows RT) and one for smartphones (Windows Phone 8).


This is Asus VivoTab RT

Microsoft supports two entirely different hardware types, and so two different operating systems, on the same form factor (tablets). They can't simply choose one of their existing OSes - either Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8 - to run on all tablets, so they've had to cobble together this confusing combination of two similar-but-not-the-same OSes for the biggest growing sector. It's created a mess which starts and ends with Windows RT.

Theoretically, Windows RT differentiates itself from Windows 8 in pricing and features. Windows RT machines are cheaper, more portable and have a longer battery life; while Windows 8 devices are more expensive but more powerful and come with more features. In reality, these differences are not as clearly defined as you might think, which again adds to the mess and causes confusion.

Windows RT devices generally speaking come in the same price range because hardware does not differ greatly, with most devices on the market currently starting at $499 including the Surface, Asus VivoTab RT and Dell XPS 10. Higher-end models will set you back more cash, with examples being the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 starting at $799.

On the other hand, Windows 8 tablets start at a wide range of prices because of the wide range of hardware that you can put in them. Manufacturers can choose to include a full blown Intel Ivy Bridge processor like in the Surface, or a lower power consuming Intel "Clover Trail" Atom CPU (like in the Samsung ATIV Smart PC), or an AMD "Hondo" tablet-specific chipset.

Lower-powered Atom Windows 8 tablets start as low as $500, like with the Acer Iconia W510 and Dell Latitude 10, bringing them right into the arena of Windows RT devices. Even though this is just two devices, it shows that it's actually possible to bring the full-powered x86 Windows tablets into the price realm supposedly dominated by ARM. Of course if you want more power you're perfectly entitled to shell out the money for a Core i5 machine or similar, but with Atom you've got the Windows RT low-price advantage covered.


The Windows 8-powered Acer Iconia W510 is only $499

In the current generation of Windows 8 tablets, portability is of the biggest concern when comparing them to their ARM counterparts. The Samsung ATIV Smart PC currently weighs 744 grams, which is definitely on the heavy side for a 10-inch tablet, while Dell's Latitude 10 is 10.5mm thick - not exactly slim for a tablet. The good news, though, is that with an Atom processor inside, x86 Windows 8 tablets can last as long as ARM tablets; Engadget tested the ATIV Smart PC and it lasted as long as Microsoft's Surface RT.

With new and upcoming low-power CPUs from both Intel and AMD, this is only set to get better while bringing more power. Intel's "Bay Trail" will bring "all-day battery life" to a quad-core Atom SoC inside 8mm thin devices, and AMD's Temash APUs are set to provide similar benefits while also being x86 and Windows 8 compatible. While ARM SoCs will also advance along including the release of Tegra 4 and Snapdragon 800, they are losing many of the clear advantages they once had.

In the near future it will end up with Microsoft competing against themselves: Windows 8 vs. Windows RT; x86 vs. ARM, with very similar advantages to each hardware group. Except, of course, that Windows RT machines can't run the full library of Windows apps, whereas x86 Windows 8 machines can. The mess is only going to get worse when this happens, and Windows RT will become increasingly hard to sell.

Here is the part where I was going to suggest to ditch ARM and Windows RT completely, but even that would create problems because a) ARM Windows RT tablets are already on the market and b) ARM products are still going to be competitive against x86. A better solution is that Microsoft should change how they define Windows 8 and Windows RT, so that it fits better in the market and so there's less confusion. Here's my proposal regarding Windows RT/Windows 8:

  • Windows 8 should remain the full-featured, desktop-touting edition for high-powered x86 machines. This would include desktops, laptops and high-end tablets.
  • Windows RT should remove the desktop entirely, and be installed on all ARM tablets and low-end x86 (Atom, for example) tablets.

The solution can be akin to SKUs of Windows - Windows RT simply becomes the SKU that does not include the desktop for form factors where it's not needed. Even though the back-end for Windows RT on x86 machines and ARM machines would be technically different, because there is no desktop and consumers would only be installing apps from the Store, end-users wouldn't be faced with the confusion. With Modern UI apps being developed for all sorts of tasks, and if Microsoft ports Office into this UI, the desktop would not be missed on these low-power devices.

Meanwhile you could spend more money on a higher-end device that includes the desktop and Windows 8, because the power gain would facilitate the use of apps in the desktop environment, such as PhotoShop, AutoCAD and Premiere, as well as full-blown PC games. There would be a clear difference in price, capabilities and performance, and all would hopefully be well.

The question remains as to whether Microsoft will actually do anything to rectify the mess they've created with Windows RT, because as it stands it facilitates nothing more than confusion and a half-assed attempt to enter the market with new products.

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Sorry, I'll have to disagree with most people on here. I work for a large school system in IT and have had different iPads for 4 years. Don't get me wrong, I love my iPad but always wished and tried to get it to do a little bit more. Since I've had the Surface RT, I've left the iPad at home and totally switched to using the RT.

The ability to print to virtually any ip or usb printers in the district, including large copiers, is a revelation in and of itself. The ability to use RDP to connect to and make changes to servers using the desktop rdp client is another. Looking at network shares and modifying settings on the fly, using real Office with a mouse and keyboard, doing an nslookup, all using a familiar desktop is fantastic. Also, being able to download a device driver, or piece of software can easily be done with the RT and copied on to a usb drive, then moved to a broken desktop computer to fix. And all in a 1 1/2 lb device with 9 hour battery life means I don't have to carry that 4 lb laptop with me.

I don't need the legacy support with me at all times. I can now do it all with a single RT device. There was no confusion as to it's capabilities. All a salesman needs to say is it's a tablet that can do a little bit more.

If a keyboard is critical to your device, why not buy a laptop? Those were designed to have one. A surface with keyboard is just a two-piece laptop with a steep price for the "wow" factor.

You wonder why Win8 isn't selling as well as it could, look to Bestbuy.com. the Acer Iconia W510 is sold there, but in one option (64GB) and without any keyboard on the product page as an option to buy.

Microsoft needs to rake Bestbuy over the coals. As well as some OEMs and Intel in particular who couldn't get these Atom PCs to market in good supply at launch.

They shouldn't remove the desktop on Windows RT, rather they should add the ability to sign code compiled for ARM processors that can run on the desktop. That's the only thing stopping people.

I believe Microsoft will "unlock" that aspect of the OS eventually, and they are only blocking it now to encourage app development rather than simple recompiles to support both platforms and potentially trash the battery life of ARM tablets by overtaxing them.

pickypg said,
They shouldn't remove the desktop on Windows RT, rather they should add the ability to sign code compiled for ARM processors that can run on the desktop.

Accept more than Microsoft signatures on signed code is more like it.
Top Tier ISVs should have the opportunity to integrate their certificates into the Certificate Store.

Agreed, that's my intent by giving the ability to sign code. Clearly they already do it, but third parties need the ability to do so, even if it has some hoops to jump through like the rest of the app Store.

I agree.

And I know from experience, I have jumped head first into the wild world of Windows.

My PC is Windows 8 Pro.
My phone is a Lumia 920.
My tablet is a Surface.

The dream was to have 3 interoperable devices. The reality is very different. I knew this going in and the hope is that MS figures it out because I like the concept of running the same (or similar) platform on all my devices.

I also have a Xoom and a Playbook... just to tout my credentials with tablets.

deck said,
I agree.

And I know from experience, I have jumped head first into the wild world of Windows.

My PC is Windows 8 Pro.
My phone is a Lumia 920.
My tablet is a Surface.

The dream was to have 3 interoperable devices. The reality is very different. I knew this going in and the hope is that MS figures it out because I like the concept of running the same (or similar) platform on all my devices.

I also have a Xoom and a Playbook... just to tout my credentials with tablets.


Same, also hoped that things would go well together, unfortently Windows 8 with metro enabled is a bitch when it comes to development of programs that operate at system level.
On top of that I found it resetting the TCP autotuning level back to default after I used netsh to disable it, a few downloads halt cause of it, my router isn't compatible, neither is the companies security appliance.
So might even revert back to Windows 7 until MS get their **** sorted.
I use the start menu as well, metro / start screen isn't bad but a tad slower to use, I use windows keyboard shortcuts as often as possible thou.

Microsoft is trying to hawk a toy as some kind of "serious" PC. If they had stuck with the expensive philosophy, there wouldn't have been the disappointment of serious users/businesses thinking that the RT could actually some serious work. However, the "dirty deed is done," now MS has to figure out some way to get out of the mess. Part of this "damage control" involves a major UI revision to Windows-8 so it is (truly) laptop, desktop friendly; instead of just pandering to touch-centric devices.

I think a few people called this earlier when they said Win 8 and Win RT are going to confuse people... I've already fielded a few calls about it!

In my opinion Microsoft should've allowed Windows Phone Apps on RT to try and balance the huge x86 App advantage till Windows 'Blue'. Everything in the desktop also needs to be metrofied, including Microsoft Office (Office MX) - and remove the desktop completely (2 stop ppl assuming they can install their regular apps). Finally, it needs to be renamed to something like Windows Lite/Light... that the average consumer can easily understand (RT doesn't mean anything to an average consumer).

My opinion:

Microsoft should open up WinRT desktop development. A great number of desktop apps would cross compile over perfectly fine. Many others would require only minor modifications (e.g. fixing endian issues, writing C versions of inline assembly functions).

Then, create a WinRT-compatible logo program to encourage developers to do so, as well as opening the Store to all desktop applications (both x86 and ARM).

-Kevin

Microsoft should did/do these:
1; for ARM devices: Don't call it Windows RT, call it Metro or anything else, don't use "Windows" for the name
2; Desktop should not be there . it only run Metro Apps
3; for intel devices: Windows 8 should not have Metro UI, win8 should retain windows desktop with start menu and all, BUT win8 can run Metro apps !!!

To all the people who claim Win8 is a mess and blah blah, I bet you don't own any of the products you talk crap about, which is why I don't talk crap about the ipad just apple the company.

I own a Surface tablet and I do believe the desktop has its usage, like installing printers not on the list of rt printers. I was able to install several different printers by using a basic driver already included with my surface that was close. Currently using an HP Photosmart 7200 series for my cp7280 printer but, the 4250 and the 5100 also work.
For me the Surface does everything I want in a tablet, runs Netflix, downloads apps and has office built in oh and BTW, has usb hdmi and memory card. I think the reason the Surface has taken so long to catch on, MARKETING.

Most people I would say 80% of all the people in the USA have no clue what so ever what RT is and when you tell them to get a pro version that number increases to 90% it's a steaming pile of a mess Microsoft has

TurboShrimp said,
Most people I would say 80% of all the people in the USA have no clue what so ever what RT is and when you tell them to get a pro version that number increases to 90% it's a steaming pile of a mess Microsoft has

Your wrong, people want something cool and does the basic things in a tablet, but this one also has office as well.

The entire "Windows-8 ecosystem" is a mess. A messy set of compromises, doing nothing very well. Microsoft, trying to do way too much has lost focus and squandered valuable resources and time. They need to come up with an OS for tablets and an OS for laptops and desktops (which can't be equally good for both platforms). Concede that Windows-8 is really for tablets. Then, come up with Windows-9 for laptops and desktops; or at the very leas,t a major rework of Windows-8 that will be equally good for laptops and desktops. Blatant pandering to the tablet set was not a good move.

Maybe not a new OS, but apps that differentiate them maybe. They definitely need an iTunes like app for Phone and Tablets.

I think Microsoft should of ditched the Desktop completely in Windows RT and focus entirely on the tablet experience. I think the average user (without proper explanation) would get confuesd because since they see the Desktop they assume that it can run Desktop applications.

I do like the idea of trying to bridge all your different OS's, but I really think this is where things got tripped up. Instead of using the same OS (and same apps) on the phone and tablet and bridging to the desktop, Microsoft decided to use (roughly) the same OS on the tablet and desktop and bridged to the phone. So I can own the same app on the desktop and tablet, but not my phone and I can run the same app on the tablet and desktop, but not desktop apps. Its utterly confusing.

This is somewhat ironic because if RT fails the whole house comes down no? What is Windows Phone 8 but RT on a little tablet? They better hope those phones take off....

Having a Lenovo Twist hybrid sitting right next to me, I wouldn't hold my breath for Surface to rescue Windows 8 either. It's a capable enough device but some what schizophrenic. It has all of the annoyances of Windows 8 on the desktop but and only a smattering of the niceties of Android or IOS on their respective tablets.

It really doesn't matter if I want to use a tablet but get stuck in a non-touch friendly, desktop app or if I want to use a desktop app and wind up in some crippled, full screen monstrosity.

Either way it's is a let down more often than not (it can't even rotate reliably). I thought the Twist would be at least be fun to fool around with but it's not even been that. I've always got a PC and an Android phone nearby, as well as a Nexus 7. Not once has the Twist turned out to be most appropriate for a task. One day, I'm sure I'll need it as a laptop but that day hasn't arrived in 2 months. Even when travelling, my first inclination these days is to take ONLY my Nexus 7 and a phone. This has worked out quite well so far.

Small spelling mistake in the title. It should be Editorial.

Otherwise, a very well written article with some very good points. They should have named it something other than Windows. WinMX would have been a good name with the metro apps being called MX apps.

I've yet to see any concrete evidence of this phenomenon, that users will see a tablet device running Windows RT and automatically have this assumption that it will run all of their Windows Apps. Windows 8 and Windows RT look so different from the traditional Windows desktop, I would sooner expect people would have trouble thinking Windows 8 desktops and laptops *wouldn't* run all their old programs.

Further, Windows RT on tablets is such a different form factor from a desktop, that there's sort of an expectation that applications controlled by a keyboard and mouse won't work there.

Remember, when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, he stated unequivocally that iPhone runs OSX. From the keynote in 2007:

iPhone runs OS X! Why would we want to run such a sophisticated OS on a mobile device? It's got everything we need. Multitasking, networking, power management, graphics, security, video, audio, core animation... It let us create desktop class applications and networking, not the crippled stuff you find on most phones. These are real desktop applications.

And on the original iPhone product webpage:

iPhone uses OS X, the world's most advanced operating system. Which means you have access to the best-ever software on a handheld device, including rich HTML email, full-featured web browsing, and favorite applications including Address Book and Calendar.

Apple went out of their way to state that iPhone runs OSX, and yet almost no one was expecting OSX applications to run on iPhone. Why? The interface was different and the form factor was different. Here again, with Windows RT the interface is different and the form factor is different. Yes, it looks the same as Windows 8, but I don't think that alone conveys that the OS will run traditional desktop applications, since it looks so different from the traditional desktop.

So I ask again, is there any hard evidence that this sort of thing is happening? I see a lot of hypothetical conversations posted here between clueless sales associates and clueless buyers, but where is the evidence these are actually occurring?

Perhaps; but at least iPad doesn't make claims that it could be considered as any kind of replacement for a full-size laptop or desktop. Its a tablet, with all of its limitations.

First, edit the typo in your Editorial that spells 'Ediorial".

Second, nobody has problems understanding that they cannot run Photoshop in an iPad. One thing that people fail to understand is that Windows 8 is a transitional OS. We live in a world of mouse and keyboard and we are transitioning to touch. The desktop version of touch is still a work in progress, but it seems it will be with tilted screens so the touch surface is closer to your hands; or maybe a combination of a tilted screen and a vertical screen, or a bendable screen, who knows.
Windows RT is a tablet OS and if you ignore or hide the desktop tile most people will never know there is a desktop and will never use it. I have a friend that owns a Surface RT and he lives in the touch interface, never, ever going to the desktop, because all the apps he uses are touch. The desktop is like the command prompt in Windows: a legacy mode to do stuff that simply cannot be done better in the primary UI.
The only thing that separates Windows RT and Windows 8 is the ability to run legacy apps. As developers make Modern UI apps that run in both RT and 8, and as we find touch enabled replacements of our old legacy apps, the limitations of RT will only be due to CPU performance.
The fact that Intel was able to make a x86 processor with comparable battery life to an ARM cpu does not make Windows RT a mistake. ARM will have a long life and the fact that Windows runs in the two most popular OSs and developers can easily port them, or even run in both unmodified if they use HTML5/javascript, is a potent advantage that will pay off over time, because applications are the key for the survival of any OS.
As Intel goes into the battery efficient territory and ARM goes into the higher performance territory the lines between both will blur, and the competition will give us better, more efficient processors for a lower price. When all the legacy apps we depend on are replaced by Modern UI versions, then it will be a matter of choice if we go RT or 8, ARM or Intel, since we will have the same functionality in either, the same familiar UI.
Saying that making RT look like 8 was a mistake is like saying that making the Xbox and the Windows phone have a similar Start Screen as Windows 8 is a mistake. No, it is not, it is a brilliant idea, which will pay off strategically, as people will get used to the UI and will find Microsoft products easier and more intuitive to use than any other.
We know people don't want to learn new UIs, the resistance to the Start Screen and the demise of the Start button is a witness to this fact. But the ModernUI, once learned, once we get used to it, is far more portable and scales well in screen factors of all sizes, and can be easily operated with mouse, keyboard, touch and movement. Between the Windows desktop and the ModernUI which one is more likely to last for the next 20 years, when we will be seeing more touch, voice recognition, eye tracking, Kinect, holograms, 3D, etc?
There has been a lot of criticism but they all fail to see the future. We needed a transitional OS, not a touch OS and a desktop OS; that would divide developers, some will keep doing desktop apps and others will keep doing touch apps. By having a single OS that runs on the two most popular processors (and scale well in form factors from phone, to tablet, to desktop, to TV), developers will be more tempted to do touch based apps, which are portable, less work and more dividends, and do less desktop apps, hence pushing for the future.
Call RT a mess or whatever, in the meantime, me and other early adopters use Windows RT mostly in the touch UI, and I'm glad I can still pull the keyboard and trackpad and work in my finances in Excel side-by-side with a web bank statement, which are much better used with mouse, while people with other tablets struggle with touch in those non-touch optimized websites and wished the had brought their laptop. I'm glad I waited for RT.

Article fail big time!

The whole point of RT is to be lightweight, touch friendly, easy to use... "Enabling" legacy support for it would just be wrong (more complexity means worse UX, more power-hungry and so on). There is Win8 for that stuff.

Yes, the "desktop mode" on RT doesn't belong there, and yes, it will be removed in future releases. As mentioned by others, it is there just for those options that aren't ported yet. It's the first release after all, it'll get there soon enough.

Those comments that try to emulate the sales dialog don't make sense at all. They just show that even the commenters have no idea what they are talking about.
As mentioned, customers will confuse products if there is even the slightest chance for a confusion (different form factors, different hardware, different OS), and there is just no way around it. Even if MS made RT look completely different, and gave it some obscure name, it would still get confused - why can't it run my windows apps, it's from MS?; why not my iOS apps, it's a tablet?, why the hell not my Android apps, my phone can run those? .....

However, it just takes a very simple explanation from the sales person to make it clear to everyone, of course, only if the sales person has a brain, as opposed to those making up those ridiculous dialogs...

People had the same problem when Windows Mobile came out. "What, it's Windows, it doesn't run my Windows stuff?" and Microsoft will continue to have this problem as long as they keep using the Windows brand (I would've preferred if they just called Windows RT the "Surface")

But all it takes to clear this confusion up is to just TELL consumers they're different. And then it's "oh, okay, I learned something today".

Nobody seems to have this complaint about AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT (the version incapable of 3D modeling). That's because the consumers of said product are intelligent and do their research, as normal consumers should be expected to do.

billyea said,
People had the same problem when Windows Mobile came out. "What, it's Windows, it doesn't run my Windows stuff?" and Microsoft will continue to have this problem as long as they keep using the Windows brand (I would've preferred if they just called Windows RT the "Surface")

But all it takes to clear this confusion up is to just TELL consumers they're different. And then it's "oh, okay, I learned something today".

Nobody seems to have this complaint about AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT (the version incapable of 3D modeling). That's because the consumers of said product are intelligent and do their research, as normal consumers should be expected to do.

Ha, I like Surface OS, or SOS for short.

I love Surface but I couldn't resist.

I love Windows 8 and I've seen many improvements from it that makes me want to leave 7 behind (although 7's a good OS too). Although Microsoft has done a great job at making a great OS, they've done poorly with (1) distribution, and (2) explanation.

Examples:
1 - Only selling the Surface RT at Microsoft stores (which there are very few around)
2 - Not explaning all the new features and UI improvements in Windows 8 to properly guide users to it.

I'm sure remote desktop applications for enterprise will eventually work, but I am looking forward to Windows RT just to make me cut out the lame ass old desktop.

Easiest way to differentiate the two products is
1. By giving Windows RT a new identifiable brand name of its own
2. By telling people on their faces (even in Ads) that their current desktop apps will simply not work on Windows RT.

And may I also say for Microsoft:
Educate consumers. Educate consumers. Educate consumers.

Mohitster said,

And may I also say for Microsoft:
Educate consumers. Educate consumers. Educate consumers.

I believe the confusion is intended. It's about finding every possible ways to sell that new locked platform called win RT.

bigmehdi said
I believe the confusion is intended. It's about finding every possible ways to sell that new locked platform called win RT.
It's not 100% locked. It can run Windows Store apps just like the iPhone/iPad could run iOS apps from the app store.

dtourond said,
It's not 100% locked. It can run Windows Store apps just like the iPhone/iPad could run iOS apps from the app store.

iphone/ ipad are also locked, that's why people jailbreak it. And that's why I prefer Android. Anyway, Microsoft has nothing more to offer, to seduce regular android tablet/ ipad users. It's a late newcomer on the tablet market.

dtourond said,
It's not 100% locked. It can run Windows Store apps just like the iPhone/iPad could run iOS apps from the app store.

It can even run desktop ARM apps if you jailbreak it. These apps can be as simple as calculator, or as complex as AutoCAD (as long as it's dependent on Win32, recompiled, and not using hardcoded assembly routines).

bigmehdi said
iphone/ ipad are also locked, that's why people jailbreak it. And that's why I prefer Android. Anyway, Microsoft has nothing more to offer, to seduce regular android tablet/ ipad users. It's a late newcomer on the tablet market.
I'm sure you've heard of rooting, right? To get everything out of Android, rooting is required. And at least iOS is more secure, stable and doesn't have a fragmentation issue.

billyea said
It can even run desktop ARM apps if you jailbreak it. These apps can be as simple as calculator, or as complex as AutoCAD (as long as it's dependent on Win32, recompiled, and not using hardcoded assembly routines).
Have you heard of some of the apps that have been re-compiled for ARM. I saw Windows 95 running in Bochs on Windows RT.

dtourond said,
I'm sure you've heard of rooting, right? To get everything out of Android, rooting is required. And at least iOS is more secure, stable and doesn't have a fragmentation issue.

Rooting is only necessary for few apps that need to access android system (example an app, to backup all apps) . Most apps do no need it.
Anyway, I can install the custom android version I want, from the net, and get all the control I want, just like a regular OS.

bigmehdi said,

Anyway, Microsoft has nothing more to offer, to seduce regular android tablet/ ipad users. It's a late newcomer on the tablet market.

Microsoft is a newcomer to tablets? Okay now that's the 2nd dumbest thing I've read all week. Microsoft has been promoting and selling Windows tablets for more than a decade. Why don't you just top off the week with a proclamation that Microsoft was late to smartphones too.

Avatar Roku said
Microsoft is a newcomer to tablets? Okay now that's the 2nd dumbest thing I've read all week. Microsoft has been promoting and selling Windows tablets for more than a decade. Why don't you just top off the week with a proclamation that Microsoft was late to smartphones too.
Haha, your comment made my night

For a start the Samsung smart pc is an 11.6" tablet not a 10"

As for the notion its a mess, this flamebait editorial heading is akin to knocking windows 8 without taking into account the long term strategy. Its obvious the RT version with windows 9 will be the consumption based OS as the tablets that run these will be cheaper than a full windows tablet can be sold at. With win9 there won't be a hybrid desktop / metro environment for RT like there is at the moment.

Tablet PCs (defined as running a full desktop OS) have their place just as much as consumption based mobile OS tablets. Microsoft would be remiss to not pursue both approaches with the hardware and ecosystem potentially available to Windows based systems.

Sales people say something along the lines of: Windows RT can only run applications from the Microsoft Store while Windows 8 can run both Microsoft Store and Normal applications.

The fact that people are looking at the Surface as a laptop replacement and not a true tablet in the same space of the iPad is interesting. I wonder if that's what MS intended. For sure, at $899 the Pro is not for this consumer crowd. If MS can't enter the consumer space in a meaningful way, nothing will change except we'll have a really cool Notelet (Surface Pro).

Windows biggest mess, is rootkits, rows of toolbars, and malware. When people ask me about Surface Tablets, I tell them, you can't run old style Windows apps like Quicken or QuickBooks, but neither can the iPad or any tablet really. All it takes is one sentence to make them understand.

Maybe if RT had a touch based Word Processor, Quicken, and a Spreadsheet, and a much fuller suite of high quality apps, it wouldn't hurt so bad. But you can't have the apps till you create the device. I actually love having the desktop and all the file management capabilities, but it's obvious that the desktop will be gone in future versions after the interface has matured.

I don't think RT is a mess, maybe it shoulda coulda been named Windows T for touch or something. But Windows RT is the best friend of the average consumer that routinely doesn't understand about toolbars, and free PC cleaners. It's v. 1.0 and it's a great start with too high of a price tag. The market will adjust as time goes on.

jimmyfal said,
Windows biggest mess, is rootkits, rows of toolbars, and malware. When people ask me about Surface Tablets, I tell them, you can't run old style Windows apps like Quicken or QuickBooks, but neither can the iPad or any tablet really. All it takes is one sentence to make them understand.

Maybe if RT had a touch based Word Processor, Quicken, and a Spreadsheet, and a much fuller suite of high quality apps, it wouldn't hurt so bad. But you can't have the apps till you create the device. I actually love having the desktop and all the file management capabilities, but it's obvious that the desktop will be gone in future versions after the interface has matured.

I'm sure Word MX, Excel MX, and PowerPoint MX will eventually make their way to the Windows Store to keep OneNote MX company.

Not sure about Quicken... that's up to Intuit. Even then, the Quicken app that they would make for the Windows Store.
I'm pretty sure that what would happen is that Intuit would release the Mint app on the Windows Store, since it's already available on the iOS App Store and the Android Market.

Does anyone really need or "want" a touch-centric version of Word, Excel, Access, Publisher? Even Powerpoint. Touch friendly is all that is needed. A Modern UI version of these apps would be interesting but I think it would highlight the weaknesses of Fullscreen only Modern UI vs. MDI.

Your presenting your findings as though it's a new concept. It's been known even before RT was released that they would be removing the desktop eventually. The main reason it is still in place is Office which is not fully transitioned to the Metro interface and the many system controls that still exist on the desktop. For most users of RT, it really doesn't matter. It wasn't meant to be a full workhorse and was not meant to run the legacy apps. Metro is being pushed as the future of Windows. You might call it a mess but most of the what you see was intentional and they will be moving forward with it. It's just a matter of time before Apple and Google head the same direction.

blueboy75 said,
Metro is being pushed as the future of Windows.
Until I see a metro version of Photoshop, 3D studio max, or any well known productivity tool Microsoft can dream , to push a Metro only OS. And also people are not completely dumb, an OS where you can only install app from a particular market space, what a downgrade in freedom.

Although I see your point, I still have to agree with where MS is taking this. I've used Windows since inception and liked the openness it had but let's face it, the system is constantly getting screwed up by manufactures and crappy software. Personally I'm tired of it and MS keeps getting dogged for it. If they need to lock it down a bit, so be it.

I think Photoshop, 3D Studio and the like will come to Metro but Microsoft will have to lead the way with Office. Those companies better move quickly though as the opportunity is there for start ups to provide solutions if the big software companies decide to dodge it.

bigmehdi said,
an OS where you can only install app from a particular market space, what a downgrade in freedom.

Yeah, how will i get my malware now.........

For more advanced users, the desktop mode in RT is very useful. If you plug the tablet to an external monitor you can have a big desktop to work with multiple windows, office, file system, etc. We still haven't fully figured out how to do productivity tasks with multiple simultaneous apps in a touch UI. Windows RT/8 introduced the two apps at the same time in touch, some third parties allow to divide the window further, but it is still not clear how ModernUI-based apps will all scale up in bigger screens when you have to do complex stuff with more than 2 apps. Like it or not, the desktop mode with mouse and keyboard is still the best way to do it, and I'm glad I have it, because that allows me to leave my laptop at home for the most part, which is the whole point of RT. By the time the desktop mode will be obsolete, there will be modernUI alternatives to be productive and touch based apps for everything we need.

bigmehdi said,
Until I see a metro version of Photoshop, 3D studio max, or any well known productivity tool Microsoft can dream , to push a Metro only OS. And also people are not completely dumb, an OS where you can only install app from a particular market space, what a downgrade in freedom.

The plan is to make new API's available to developers with each OS update so that developers can create more advanced apps. And the hope isn't so much about making Photoshop or 3D Studio Max possible, but rather create an environment where new software and software suites from new developers can create the next generation of photo and video editing apps.

How hard is it to just say "This one only runs apps from the Windows Marketplace"

Two stickers:

"Windows Marketplace compatible"
"Desktop Apps compatible"

One uses the Windows Marketplace logo, one uses the traditional "computer" logo we all know and love. Shove the first one on Windows RT devices, shove both on Windows 8 devices.

Sorted.

Also, there's still plenty of confusion between iPad and Android tablets. I used to work in a store that sells Android tablets, and the amount of customers that would ask me for our "Android iPads" or "Can this run our iPad apps" was unreal - and that was only a handful of months ago. Honestly, confusion will remain whenever there are multiple products on the market.

The Teej said,
How hard is it to just say "This one only runs apps from the Windows Marketplace&quot

The 'Windows Marketplace'/Store on Windows 8 lists Desktop apps as well, which don't run on RT. Even though it has a Desktop. Of course, I'm assuming, RT's marketplace doesn't actually show the Desktop app entries.

Yeah thats not a bad idea, personally I think MS should just take the tablet PC moniker back as the truth is its not Windows which is confussing its the fact that there are Tablet PCs which run full desktops vs consumption tablets which run Mobile OS'....but yeah that'd probably just end up being a sticker too

Yes but they aren't WM apps, they're links. When viewing them on the Surface RT, they'll appear as not applicable for download surely?

My question about this article, is the author used to be a tech or electronic sales person? Because if you were not, you sure did try to paint a bad way to represent a sales person on how she/he would explain the product.

It is also a terrible way to try and sway your readers opinion to go along with what you are trying to convey.

Even the "tech folk" can't define how similar RT is to 8. One simply needs to look at the above comments for proof...

That is because there are different *niches* of tech folks, usually separated by what they do. The stratification has gotten to the point that two different supports folks that deal with software are absolutely CLUELESS about what the other does. Private industry - and especially technology - has gotten to be a lot like the government (any government, though the United States is the most used example): a bunch of stovepipes with little to no cross-pollination (of ideas or anything else).

WindowsRT is, if anything, the new *base* Windows - it replaced Home Basic (Windows 7) and has no use for the full-fledged either/or experience of Windows 8 (just as Home Basic lacked several features present in Home Premium). It's even at the same price point that Home Basic (Windows 7) was.

The core Windows 8 (not WindowsRT) is the successor to Home Premium (sans Media Center, which is now an add-on), which will be reflected in the price next month (identical to that of 7 Home Premium).

Windows 8 Pro replaces the three-headed monster that was Business/Professional/Ultimate of Windows 7; again, the price reflects the targeting.

How hard is that to understand?

That's one tech dude's "opinion."

Windows 7 Business? Do you mean Enterprise? Windows RT doesn't replace any x86 version of Windows, it runs on ARM.

Then explain why both Home Basic and Starter Edition have basically gone away. Home Basic (first-tier markets) and Starter Edition (everywhere else) were the low-priced versions of Windows until RT came along - hence my referring to RT as their successor. Business was the low-price volume version for enterprises, Professional was the middle, and Enterprise (not Ultimate) was the high-end for corporate/volume customers - note that both 7 Enterprise and 8 Enterprise lack support for Media Center; this is by design. 7 Professional and Windows 8 Pro (both of which are also available retail) is the target for both non-corporate AND corporate customers needing Media Center. Notice that 7 and 8 Enterprise are unique in supporting WTG (WindowsToGo) - such support is in no other SKU of either 7 or 8. There is no Ultimate version of 8 - instead, there is 8 Pro with Media Center.

Actually 7 Enterprise "includes" Media Center. The Enterprise versions, for those with Enterprise agreements are the only versions to be used in VDI environments and do not include perpetual licenses, you are only licensed to use them while an active EA agreement exists.

Windows RT is the version of Windows that runs on ARM devices, I'm not sure how you equate that to Home and Starter which run/ran on x86 compatible devices. Starter was intended for ultra cheap PCs in third world countries I believe. I'm not disagreeing with you to be difficult, just Windows RT has nothing to do with x86 versions of Windows.

The solution is simple: Enable desktops apps on Windows RT and then just call it ARM edition or something. This would make ARM and x86 Windows virtually identical - the difference is just CPU architecture - like x86 and x86-64

The software vendors then can decide if it is worth re-compile their apps for ARM and provide appropriate binary packages. For many apps providing ARM build is just a matter of changing one option in Visual Studio.

From the customer perspective, it should be made clear that if you own ARM device, you can only use software that was compiled for this architecture. But at least you can STILL use some desktop apps.

That would just create more confusion! App A is available for ARM, customer has it, and of course expects that all others are available too. "Why can't RT run app B, this is useless..."

What do you thing is easier, explaining to the customer that RT can just run Windows Store (metro/modern) apps; or explaining that it can run just those apps that are compiled to work on ARM?
If a customer can't see the difference between W8 and RT, there is zero chance that they know what x86/ARM is, why one doesn't support the other and so on...

RT is great as it is.

kaczula said,
The solution is simple: Enable desktops apps on Windows RT and then just call it ARM edition or something. This would make ARM and x86 Windows virtually identical - the difference is just CPU architecture - like x86 and x86-64

No.
For one, desktop applications aren't 'disabled' per se. Microsoft are just requiring their digital signatures on applications installed on the desktop, and they will not sign others code, for good reason.

It would not be just another architecture like x86/x64. Those processors share architecture. It would be more like (x86/x64) / iA64, or MIPS or any of the other plethora of processors that ran Windows back in the day.


What I see happening with Windows 9, or Blue maybe is that MS allow more digitally signed code to run on the desktop, be it RT/8. Once a developer's desktop application is vetted to ensure it doesn't do any legacy nastiness that will have an adverse affect on battery life, the digital signature will be placed in the trust heirarchy.

Windows RT Surface = alternative/competition to iPad (which can't run desktop apps either)
Windows RT Surface != desktop replacement (that's coming with the Surface Pro)

Let's face it, the majority of home (and even business) consumers today just need access to the internet, email, picture/video viewer, Office, plus a few other apps.

You won't be doing CAD or serious gaming on a tablet.

I personally tried the Surface last week for the first time, and I was quite impressed with it. I would prefer it over an iPad. Yes, I can't run desktop apps, but it would act as my secondary device.

It would be great if Linux could be run on it!

Nashy said,
I played with one in store and thought the desktop mode was useless.

I own one and I use the desktop mode every day. Just because you didn't have a use for it in the 5 minutes you dicked around with it in a store, doesn't mean it's useless.

Nashy said,
I played with one in store and thought the desktop mode was useless.

I doubt even I would have had much use for a desktop while at a store.

When I use it at home though, I'm able to access network shares, map network drives, and I manage files and folders just like I can on Windows 8. Not only that but Command Prompt, PowerShell, network and sharing center, to name a few, are great tools.

It might be a bit weird for touch interface but with mouse it works very well. Microsoft did a good job of de-cluttering old school Windows OS. It's very clear that this is a transition OS. Apple will do something similar, just later, when Microsoft goes through this first.

This reminds me the fiasco regarding the distinction between "vista capable" and "vista ready" computers. Now we have "win rt" vs regular "win 8". I' m pretty sure that Microsoft counted on the confusion to sell more win RT devices. I'm happy this marketing ploy didn't work.

bigmehdi said,
I' m pretty sure that Microsoft counted on the confusion to sell more win RT devices. I'm happy this marketing ploy didn't work.

Agreed on the first part (although I'm not sure customer confusion is such a great marketing tool). Not sure about the second part on the other hand. Can we really say already whether it did or didn't work?

CSharp. said,

Can we really say already whether it did or didn't work?

Well, the article seem to imply that Win RT devices doesn't sell well, in the first paragraph.

I wouldn't have either, if it didn't have MS Office and a desktop mode.

- So what's the point of desktop mode if it can't run the usual desktop apps?
- Well, it's just there for backwards compatibility.
- Cool! So my old apps will run on it although not all future apps will?
- Uhh... No, see, it's just there for some of Microsoft's popular apps.
- But you just said...
- I meant backwards compatibility for Microsoft's uses, not yours.
- Why not? I mean, if they spent all that time designing a desktop mode to run desktop apps?
- Sorry, I don't know. Look, I just sell this stuff. Do you want a Windows 7 laptop instead?

Edited by Northgrove, Jan 21 2013, 1:34pm :

Northgrove said,
Do you want a Windows 7 laptop instead?

If they wanted a laptop then they would be getting Windows 8 not Windows RT so I really don't see where the confusion comes in.

Northgrove said,
I wouldn't have either, if it didn't have MS Office and a desktop mode.

- So what's the point of desktop mode if it can't run the usual desktop apps?
- Well, it's just there for backwards compatibility.
- Cool! So my old apps will run on it although not all future apps will?
- Uhh... No, see, it's just there for some of Microsoft's popular apps.
- But you just said...
- I meant backwards compatibility for Microsoft's uses, not yours.
- Why not? I mean, if they spent all that time designing a desktop mode to run desktop apps?
- Sorry, I don't know. Look, I just sell this stuff. Do you want a Windows 7 laptop instead?

If the sales person wasn't a complete idiot, it'd go something like this:
-What's the point of the desktop mode if you can't run apps?
-Well, it's for the most powerful file manager on any tablet device, and for running the complete Microsoft Office suite. It also has command prompt, paint, and powershell if you're into that sort of thing
-Ooooooh. I'll take 2!

Again, that hinges on the sales person NOT being an idiot.

siah1214 said,

If the sales person wasn't a complete idiot, it'd go something like this:
-What's the point of the desktop mode if you can't run apps?
-Well, it's for the most powerful file manager on any tablet device, and for running the complete Microsoft Office suite. It also has command prompt, paint, and powershell if you're into that sort of thing
-Ooooooh. I'll take 2!

Again, that hinges on the sales person NOT being an idiot.

Oooooooooh I get it, this infers that "Northgrove" is an idiot law.

But yeah, the Desktop App isn't for "backwards compatibility". It's merely for Windows Explorer, Office, as well as the great tool such as Powershell, etc.

Northgrove said,
- So what's the point of desktop mode if it can't run the usual desktop apps?

Aside from having the ability to manage the filesystem in a meaningful way and leaverage all of the great tools built into Windows that access millions of devices already available?
Northgrove said,
- Well, it's just there for backwards compatibility.
Nope
Northgrove said,
- Cool! So my old apps will run on it although not all future apps will?

Oops, I was treating this like a bulleted list of good points... apparently it's a mimic'd conversation between two idiots.
Northgrove said,
- Uhh... No, see, it's just there for some of Microsoft's popular apps.

See, idiot #2
Northgrove said,
- But you just said...
Idiot #1's still going
...

It could have been easy. A sales person could just say "Windows TNL doesn't have desktop. The TNL stands for Thin and Lite. Do you have some old programs you need to run? Over here we've got some Windows 8 tablets for you. They are a little heavier and since they have the desktop, will have a slightly shorter battery life"

I'm not sure anyone actually thinks that far ahead when they come out with these products. Leave out one feature that is practically useless anywa, give it a name that makes sense and is easier to sell. Er, after developing a half way decent file manager in WinRT that is.

NXTwoThou said,
It could have been easy. A sales person could just say "Windows TNL doesn't have desktop

Or, better yet, call it something other than 'Windows'!

thealexweb said,
No brand leverage then

Yeah, I know. Microsoft is obsessed with that though. And I frankly wouldn't be surprised if the Windows brand hurt them more than they helped in the mobile segment. Plus, the product should ideally be able to stand on its own and attract attention regardless of its name.

thealexweb said,
No brand leverage then

They could have added something after the word Windows... like they did with Windows Phone. Nobody thinks a Windows Phone OS would let you install x86 applications on it...

Windows Tablet OS? Windows Tablet 8?

Windows RT should remove the desktop entirely, and be installed on all ARM tablets and low-end x86 (Atom, for example) tablets

You don't get it do you? Windows RT is Windows 8 modified a bit to run on ARM hardware it's no different to the 32 or 64 bit versions of Windows. 99.9% of the things in Windows 8 are on Windows RT. As for removing the desktop entirely, No. It has a massive purpose and is one massive advantage over other **** weak tablet OSes like Android.

And of course by suggesting Windows RT run on Atom hardware you have successfully just shown everyone that you have no idea what Windows RT is or the differences between architectures is.

Please do more research before you give advice to a multi-billion dollar company that is more than capable of sorting out this "mess".

Slightly modified? Is it not recompiled for an entirely different CPU architecture... in my mind that's a little more than a "slightly modified" version of Windows 8!

Chicane-UK said,
Slightly modified? Is it not recompiled for an entirely different CPU architecture... in my mind that's a little more than a "slightly modified" version of Windows 8!

Having software compile for different CPU's doesn't fundamentally change the program itself, just the instruction set it's using.

Indeed. But it does make many, many applications binary incompatible and I think this was one of the points the editorial was making - because it looks identical to the desktop version of Windows 8 and indeed retains the desktop too, the average user will simply not understand why their favourite applications will not work on the Surface, when they work on their Windows PC.

Obviously more technical folks should know why though

Chicane-UK said,
Indeed. But it does make many, many applications binary incompatible and I think this was one of the points the editorial was making - because it looks identical to the desktop version of Windows 8 and indeed retains the desktop too, the average user will simply not understand why their favourite applications will not work on the Surface, when they work on their Windows PC.

Obviously more technical folks should know why though

It looks identical because it is identical! The amount of difference between Windows 8 ARM and Windows 8 32 bit is the same amount of difference between Windows 8 32 bit and 64 bit! For the record if your favourite applications happen to be open source and you are knowledgeable in the area of CPU architectures you can port over that application to run on Windows RT with it jailbroken. .NET 4 applications also work fine!

Chicane-UK said,
Slightly modified? Is it not recompiled for an entirely different CPU architecture... in my mind that's a little more than a "slightly modified" version of Windows 8!
You really miss out on the concept of abstraction.

If you're talking about intel compiled code not running on the OS. Obviously that's the case. But assuming the average user can't discern what that means is childish.

That is slightly modified. NT itself can run on any architecture. The kernel between Windows 8 and RT is identical, not even 99,99%... its the full 100% same kernel.
The entire Win32 library _is_ available. In theory should run most properly programmed x86 programs. As its nothing more then using the build in Windows API's (like .NET as well).

What a stupid argument. Either your x86 software works or it doesn't. It doesn't. Who gives a crap how "close" they are. Genetically I'm 99.9% identical to Brad Pitt, you think my girlfriend cares?

Hahaiah said,
What a stupid argument. Either your x86 software works or it doesn't. It doesn't. Who gives a crap how "close" they are. Genetically I'm 99.9% identical to Brad Pitt, you think my girlfriend cares?

What? By default no you can't run normal 32 or 64 bit applications. That doesn't change the fact that the OSes are identical. It is the hardware that is different and so when the program tries to pass its X86 instructions to the CPU IT WONT WORK. This is a hardware discussion not a software one.

The Desktop is only in Windows RT purely because of Office 2013 and the myriad of Windows functions that haven't been "Metrofied" yet.

It's blatantly obvious that the moment Office and the Windows functions are "Metrofied", the Desktop will disappear quick smart.

testman said,
The Desktop is only in Windows RT purely because of Office 2013 and the myriad of Windows functions that haven't been "Metrofied" yet.

It's blatantly obvious that the moment Office and the Windows functions are "Metrofied", the Desktop will disappear quick smart.

How exactly is that obvious?

Of course it's a mess! Just look at that pic above. Same mess as a regular Windows 8 computer, and that is a mess and a half.

I've already lost count of how many computers I've had to down grade simply because most people don't have a clue what to do with junk!! Way to much of a change for most common Joe Blows to absorb.

Change is good. That is how companies and species survive. Always catering to the old desires of your existing userbase is a guaranteed recipe for eventual corporate obsolescence.

A certain segment of people always grumble about change, but eventually they learn to do things new.

Microsoft is skating to where the puck is going to be. Look at the collapse of Mac and PC sales and the enormous growth of tablets. It's not too much change, it's just that a significant portion of the userbase don't realize yet that the hardware they're using is going to be completely obsolete soon.

It's not that the keyboard and mouse are obsolete either, it's that an inability to interact with a computer via the screen is obsolete in a post-iPad and post-Windows 8 world. Software developers today primarily create software with touch in mind. If your OS is not built around touch then it's days are numbered.

Agreed. The Desktop has little utility on Windows RT. I am pretty sure it is a time-to-market thing though. When Office is ported to WinRT and most of Desktop's functions/control panel options are accessible within Metro, the first place the Desktop will go is Windows RT. I think it might even have been wise to release Windows RT in 2014 when ARMV8 64-bit SoCs released. By then I would expect Metro to evolve into a complete and mature environment as well.

Subhadip said,
Agreed. The Desktop has little utility on Windows RT

Do you even own a RT device to say this crap? The desktop is a powerful (and familiar) file manager/network browser. I use it ALL THE TIME to stream my movies from my main PC.

However I do agree that some rare times metro sends you to the desktop for control panel stuff and that may be confusing for some people, but I'm sure this will all be sorted out with updates soon.

Subhadip said,
Agreed. The Desktop has little utility on Windows RT. I am pretty sure it is a time-to-market thing though. When Office is ported to WinRT and most of Desktop's functions/control panel options are accessible within Metro, the first place the Desktop will go is Windows RT. I think it might even have been wise to release Windows RT in 2014 when ARMV8 64-bit SoCs released. By then I would expect Metro to evolve into a complete and mature environment as well.

I have Win RT on a Surface and I use the Desktop App for file management, for IE10 for Desktop, and for a few other things including Office.

In a couple years people who said this will be eating their words. Also having a desktop on RT is the best thing ever, no need to download some crappy file manager, you have native access to network shares and a lot more.

If people are having trouble seeing the difference between RT and 8 it's because the salesperson has no ****ing clue what he's selling.

I'm pretty sure some people bought Android tablets thinking they were cheaper iPads expecting them to run iOS apps.

There's always going to be morons on planet earth.

Edited by PmRd, Jan 21 2013, 12:59pm :

PmRd said,
In a couple years people who said this will be eating their words. Also having a desktop on RT is the best thing ever, no need to download some crappy file manager, you have native access to network shares and a lot more.

If people are having trouble seeing the difference between RT and 8 it's because the salesperson has no ****ing clue what he's selling.

I'm pretty sure some people bought Android tablets thinking they were cheaper iPads expecting them to run iOS apps.

There's always going to be morons on planet earth.

lol i got a bloke at work who was talking about his ipad, he brought it in and its an asus tablet

DKAngel said,

lol i got a bloke at work who was talking about his ipad, he brought it in and its an asus tablet

In fairness, I know people that called their MP3 players iPods too. People tend to associate the most popular name for something as the generic name. Just look at the number of people that use Kleenex and Hoover instead of tissue and vacuum cleaner.

Alas even I've been caught "photoshopping" using GIMP.

PmRd said,
In a couple years people who said this will be eating their words. Also having a desktop on RT is the best thing ever, no need to download some crappy file manager, you have native access to network shares and a lot more.

If people are having trouble seeing the difference between RT and 8 it's because the salesperson has no ****ing clue what he's selling.

I'm pretty sure some people bought Android tablets thinking they were cheaper iPads expecting them to run iOS apps.

There's always going to be morons on planet earth.

I don't own, nor have I used an RT tablet, so I don't have an opinion, but why would you need a desktop to browse files or network shares? There's no technical reason why MS couldn't write a metro version of Explorer for RT tablets to browse with just as much functionality.

Are you serious?

You're comparing being mistaken between iOS and Android, to people not being able to tell the difference between Windows RT and Windows 8? They look identical for Gods sake.

If you want all that crap, you buy a pro version, or a laptop.

Majesticmerc said,

I don't own, nor have I used an RT tablet, so I don't have an opinion,

There you go. I own a Surface and the desktop on it is the best thing ever.

PmRd said,
There you go. I own a Surface and the desktop on it is the best thing ever.

I didn't give you an opinion, I asked you a question. Is the file browser the only reason you use the desktop?

Majesticmerc said,

I didn't give you an opinion, I asked you a question.

Because Windows Explorer just works and people are used to it. There's already some 3rd party metro file explorers out there, but since you can use mouse and keyboard on RT having the desktop just seems natural and faster.

I've used Windows Explorer (now File Explorer) for that specific purpose going back to 9x - file management. (Remember, Windows Explorer was the direct successor to File Manager in Windows 3.x/NT 3.x - I'd be surprised if most folks with any sort of Windows history - or Linux GUI history for that matter - didn't use it or something similar.) In fact, look at the other x86 operating systems - including OS X (and specifically, Finder in OS X) - what do they ALL heavily borrow from in terms of operational metrics (a fancy term for how the user interacts with the application)? The answer is rather simple - Windows Explorer/File Manager. Why do they do it? Because it works. There's no need to reinvent the wheel when this KISS method is out there, and decidedly un-patentable - it's even used in all file-management applications for Android. The deskop in WindowsRT has as much utility as the desktop in Android or any iOS device - including iPad or iPod (any generation) - a lot more than is apparent.

Hallelujah! All you needed was choice or at least a detection method for touchscreens and a screen on first boot that says "You don't seem to have a touch screen device would you like to enable Modern UI by default? Yes/No". I bet every SINGLE person would have no problem with Windows 8 and you wouldn't see the amount of hatred towards it if this was the case.

HoochieMamma said,
Hallelujah! All you needed was choice or at least a detection method for touchscreens and a screen on first boot that says "You don't seem to have a touch screen device would you like to enable Modern UI by default? Yes/No". I bet every SINGLE person would have no problem with Windows 8 and you wouldn't see the amount of hatred towards it if this was the case.

What do you mean enable or disable modern UI? If you cant accept that the start menu that dates back more than 15 years is not the best way of getting stuff done and being able to see information at a glance then there is a problem.

ingramator said,

What do you mean enable or disable modern UI? If you cant accept that the start menu that dates back more than 15 years is not the best way of getting stuff done and being able to see information at a glance then there is a problem.

That's odd, it seems you're telling me how I should use my Computer? That it's more more efficient? That can't be right can it? How would you know what I do?

There's a REASON why its stuck for more than 15 years. It WORKS. End of story.

People have no issue with the Start Menu all of a sudden this monstrosity comes out in Windows 8 and all of a sudden people hate the Start menu. Same thing as Aero, everyone loved it when Windows 7 came out, all of a sudden you get flat ugly windows and all of a sudden Aero was useless and a distraction for people.

HoochieMamma said,
Same thing as Aero, everyone loved it when Windows 7 came out, all of a sudden you get flat ugly windows and all of a sudden Aero was useless and a distraction for people.

Not that I'm advocating either/or, but Aero was definitely not universally loved when it came out. Had it's fair share of haters too, even here. Too much transparency, has no business on a "professional" desktop, my old machine can't handle it, blah blah basically if it's different, people will complain.

HoochieMamma said,

That's odd, it seems you're telling me how I should use my Computer? That it's more more efficient? That can't be right can it? How would you know what I do?

There's a REASON why its stuck for more than 15 years. It WORKS. End of story.

People have no issue with the Start Menu all of a sudden this monstrosity comes out in Windows 8 and all of a sudden people hate the Start menu. Same thing as Aero, everyone loved it when Windows 7 came out, all of a sudden you get flat ugly windows and all of a sudden Aero was useless and a distraction for people.

I know what you don't do and that is use Windows 8. Say what you wan't you're a troll that hates on every Windows 8 article probably because it makes you feel cool... I don't hate the start menu? I just don't think it's the most efficient way of doing stuff on a computer, not in this day and age anyway.

ingramator said,

I know what you don't do and that is use Windows 8. Say what you wan't you're a troll that hates on every Windows 8 article probably because it makes you feel cool... I don't hate the start menu? I just don't think it's the most efficient way of doing stuff on a computer, not in this day and age anyway.

Cool story bro, I have Windows 8 on a laptop, its the worst OS I have ever used, I try and try and try to use it but just get frustrated with it. The start menu is very efficient for a lot of people and doesn't deserve the backlash it's been getting since W8 has been released.

HoochieMamma said,

Cool story bro, I have Windows 8 on a laptop, its the worst OS I have ever used, I try and try and try to use it but just get frustrated with it. The start menu is very efficient for a lot of people and doesn't deserve the backlash it's been getting since W8 has been released.

Please explain what part is so difficult to use? If you are so desperate to use the start menu get start 8 or classic shell or something, people are never happy with change and I remember there were the same things around 10 years ago to "fix" Windows.

Come on mate. Even Dot Matrix, the biggest Windows 8 fanboy on the planet, can put a decent argument together. While I don't agree with him in anything he says about me hating Windows 8, at least he doesn't simply call it trolling, and resort to petulant behavior because people disagree with his opinion.

I am, and by the looks of things, HoochieMamma, are in the minority of Windows 8 hates, who actually purchased, and used the operating system before reserving judgement.

I installed Start 8 after attempting to use the operating system without it, and failing. Windows 8 made it better, but unfortunately, Metro is too far embedded into the operating system, and I simply do not like it.

I know people enjoy it, and find it really productive, and just a far better experience. But guess what? There are Linux users who will say the same thing, I don't agree with them at all either. Am I wrong because I don't like Linus and other Linux users do? Absolutely not.

Just because you don't agree with my opinion on Windows 8, doesn't make it false.

HoochieMamma said,

Cool story bro, I have Windows 8 on a laptop, its the worst OS I have ever used, I try and try and try to use it but just get frustrated with it. The start menu is very efficient for a lot of people and doesn't deserve the backlash it's been getting since W8 has been released.

I use Windows 8 and I would say I spend about 5% of the time in the Start Screen... the rest of my time is spent on the Desktop App, running Chrome, Office (Outlook), Network admin stuff like Active Directory, Remote Desktop Connection Manager, Command Prompt, Visual Studio Professional 2012, as well as Windows Explorer.

This has been a very very slight change from Windows 7. I still have the same programs pinned to the taskbar on W8 as I did on W7.

So I'm not sure what you mean.

Everyone has their opinion/preferences... don't care.

Having real concerns and arguments about the changes made and expressing those is awesome - share your experience. Flaming about every single thing (that really doesn't change the workflow much) without valid arguments is another story... And all that rage just isn't fair to others considering the product.

MS changed their OS a bit, so what. The OS evolved before (DOS to Win, Win 3 to Win 95, Win XP...). There where drastic changes before (more drastic than with Win8). Sure enough, every time some users flamed about it, and sure enough most got used to it over time, and in most cases recognized that the changes where in fact for the better. It is (will be) the same this time around.

Don't forget that for every drastic change there needs to be some transition faze, where users aren't familiar with it, it's new to developers, there aren't many applications and so on and so forth... Most recent, switch to x64 comes to mind...

Nashy said,

I know people enjoy it, and find it really productive, and just a far better experience. But guess what? There are Linux users who will say the same thing, I don't agree with them at all either. Am I wrong because I don't like Linus and other Linux users do? Absolutely not.

Just because you don't agree with my opinion on Windows 8, doesn't make it false.

Here's the thing though. HoochieMamma said it's the worst OS he has ever used. Ever! For people like me, who use Windows 8 every day, this is so hard to accept. I'm able to do absolutely everything I did on Windows 7. The desktop works exactly the same way as Windows 7. All my programs still work. The OS is faster, more stable, more lightweight, and more secure than ever. These are quantifiable, verifiable facts, not opinions.

So what makes it the worst OS ever? The GUI? Something you can completely replace? I have a desktop machine with Windows 8 that looks and acts exactly like Windows 7. You say that metro is too baked in, but it can be completely replaced and avoided if you so choose.

Given this, calling Windows 8 the worst OS ever is absolute hyperbolic FUD. At worst, since you can configure it to perfectly mimic Windows 7, Windows 8 has some minor annoyances for some people that can be completely removed. That's nothing to get worked up over, yet some people like HoochieMamma insist on driving this point that Windows 8 is terrible on every single Windows 8 thread.

That is when an "opinion" turns into "trolling".

Max Norris said,

Not that I'm advocating either/or, but Aero was definitely not universally loved when it came out. Had it's fair share of haters too, even here. Too much transparency, has no business on a "professional" desktop, my old machine can't handle it, blah blah basically if it's different, people will complain.

Maybe performance-wise, but the transparency issue is rather stupid when you can set the opacity yourself, so that part I don't buy.

dead.cell said,
Maybe performance-wise, but the transparency issue is rather stupid when you can set the opacity yourself, so that part I don't buy.

Totally agree with you on the transparency complaint being silly (turn it off or replace the theme, quicker than whining) but people complained anyway, just because. I was just replying to the "Everybody loves Aero" comment, when some people will complain when anything changes, no matter what it is or how easy it is to change. Just the first search result from here for example you'll find a few people who hate it.

Anything to get away from the foul gimmick that is Aero Glass

I still very much prefer the classic look, and I disable as many of the new features that I can.

I don't need a flashy UI with girly sparkles and rainbows jumping out at me.

And so on. (I didn't get girly sparkles or rainbows with my copy though.) There's plenty of other threads here alone, never mind a ton elsewhere.
http://www.neowin.net/forum/to...s-classic-ui-to-aero-glass/

The Start Menu that you claim it works and is better than the Start Screen:
1) Will only show 5-10 of all the apps you have installed. The rest of the apps you'll have to dig into the All Programs mess of folders and subfolders. The Start Screen shows much more AND provides live info with the live tiles.
2) Of the 5-10 apps the Start Menu will show, it will keep them changing unpredictably all the time because it will pop towards the top the most used, or what it thinks are more important to you. It is bad enough that it would push the most used to the top, forcing you to travel more with your mouse, but on top of that there is nothing more unfriendly than an UI that keeps moving your stuff. The Start Screen stays as you arranged it and your most common apps stay where you chose to leave them.
3) The Start Menu will only use a tiny portion of your humongous screen you pay big bucks for, and keep you restrained in there searching for your app. The Start Screen scales automatically using your whole screen.
4) The Start Menu has many useless items, like Help, Default programs, Devices and Printers. When was the last time you used any of those, and is their use so common that merits to have them occupying space there?
5) The Start Menu has many redundant links, all opening the same app: Profile, Documents, Music, Videos, Pictures and Computer, they all open Windows Explorer. In Windows 8, the Pictures tile takes you to your pictures in the pictures app, the video tile takes you to the video app, etc.
6) The Start Menu is as passive as a command prompt, it just waits for you to select what you want. The Start Screen allows you to do that, but it also exposes more of your stuff and provides live updates of several apps so you can decide what requires your attention, and it doesn't require any of those apps to be running to give this 'widget-like' functionality.

So, besides the fact that we have become familiar with the Start Menu after using it for over 20 years, I see no advantages to the menu at all. The Start Screen is far more useful and better designed. I fail to see your point. Can you give any advantage of the Start Menu over the Start Screen?

Charles Keledjian said,
So, besides the fact that we have become familiar with the Start Menu after using it for over 20 years, I see no advantages to the menu at all. The Start Screen is far more useful and better designed. I fail to see your point. Can you give any advantage of the Start Menu over the Start Screen?

It's not fullscreen, and it has search.

Not being fullscreen is the huge advantage over the start screen, and search is what renders the rest of the UI on both irrelevant.

ingramator said,

I know what you don't do and that is use Windows 8. Say what you wan't you're a troll that hates on every Windows 8 article probably because it makes you feel cool... I don't hate the start menu? I just don't think it's the most efficient way of doing stuff on a computer, not in this day and age anyway.

Is that your best defense-- calling those who dislike Win8 and differ from your opinion trolls? So by your definition, I'm a troll right?

Seriously, why do Win8 lovers always feel the necessity to defend themselves at the hint of any criticism (alot of which is warranted anyway). I have never seen the Windows community as divided as it is now-- thanks MS!

Athernar said,

It's not fullscreen, and it has search.

Not being fullscreen is the huge advantage over the start screen, and search is what renders the rest of the UI on both irrelevant.

Ah. You missed the fact that while in the Start Screen you can start typing and it will search through your apps just like the Start Menu but way faster. Give it a try. You can filter by app, by setting, by file, or change your mind completely and use the same search query on the internet or in any other app you have installed. Windows 8 search beats Windows 7 hands down.

Regarding the Start Screen being full screen, I really don't get why not being full screen makes the start menu better. Whenever you access the start menu, do you even care for what it is in the rest of the screen? Do you have to drag something from start menu to desktop or do any interaction between the start menu and other app? No. All interactions with the start menu are exclusive to the start menu and you don't care or need to see the rest of the desktop while you are searching for your app to launch. So instead of confining you this small space, the start screen uses the whole screen so you can see more apps, and once you select the one you want it just collapses the same as the start menu. The screen is always maximized for the task at hand. I think what it bothers you is that after 20 years of the start menu it is a bit shocking to have a start screen taking your whole screen. But technically, as seen in all phones UI, a task launcher is to let you find the app you want faster and disappear. Alternatively, you can make more use of pinning to taskbar your most used desktop apps and you'll rarely need the start screen (I recommend pinning; and right click all the time to use the jump lists. You can open the app directly in the document or task you want.)

superconductive said,
I have never seen the Windows community as divided as it is now-- thanks MS!

Guess you weren't around for long... Every major release of windows had this... The only difference might be that the internet is more widespread today, so more people can get online and bitch about it...

No issue with the Start menu?

Please - obviously you have NOT been watching the complaints on Neowin regarding Start menu clutter (and the fiddlework required to deal with same); such complaints go back beyond XP all the way to Windows 2000 Professional, if not 9x and NT4.

I *specifically* complained about such clutter back in the days of XP - and here on Neowin; the complaint was pooh-poohed, and such fiddlework was considered part of life. Fortunately (believe it or not), Windows Vista came along and enabled me to end-run the Start menu to a large degree; the followup (Windows 7) pretty much finished my needing the Start menu for good. Therefore, by the time Windows 8 came along, I didn't need the Start menu at all. (And I'm running a desktop computer - with keyboard, mouse, and no touch support.)

So therefore, the Start menu is NOT keyboard-and-mouse-centric, or even desktop-centric - the Start menu is Start menu-centric; even desktop computer users with keyboards, mice, and no touch support can live without it.

"If you cant accept that the start menu that dates back more than 15 years is not the best way of getting stuff done and being able to see information at a glance then there is a problem."

LOL!

God, I just HATED it when Honda removed the steering wheel from all of their new cars because they said that even though the steering wheel had been around for a hundred years, it wasn't the best way to get steering done, and that the new tiller that they installed on the floor that you batted back and forth with your two feet was a much better, more modern way to steer. When I complained, they said it was my fault for being such an old fogy and that I obviously had a problem with change.

Asok Smith said,
"If you cant accept that the start menu that dates back more than 15 years is not the best way of getting stuff done and being able to see information at a glance then there is a problem."

LOL!

God, I just HATED it when Honda removed the steering wheel from all of their new cars because they said that even though the steering wheel had been around for a hundred years, it wasn't the best way to get steering done, and that the new tiller that they installed on the floor that you batted back and forth with your two feet was a much better, more modern way to steer. When I complained, they said it was my fault for being such an old fogy and that I obviously had a problem with change.

Wtf? You must be ill.

Your analogy is way off.

You can't compare a car's steering wheel to the Windows 8 Start Screen.

You could compare the Start Screen to the dashboard on a car being completely redesigned.... but as far as the steering goes, Windows 8 is still the same. The keyboard is mapped just like it was before, sure you have some extra shortcuts you can use but the usual Ctrl X, C, V work just like they did before as do many others. Right and left clicking work the same, File Explorer works the same works the same but has been streamlined a bit and its optioned slightly rearranged.

Everyone who thinks they should have had separate OS for PC and tablet is an abject moron. I'm not pulling any punches here. When you say this you are declaring to the world you have absolutely no clue what the big picture is.

If the PC and tablet OS were separate nobody would be developing for the Windows 8 app store. No OEMs would bother making tablets and Intel would not have made it mandatory to have touch screens on all Haswell ultrabooks. In other words Microsoft's tablet strategy would have failed again for the 4th or 5th time if they did not force their entire userbase to move to a unified tablet UI and app store. Without leveraging the Windows PC userbase Microsoft would have had no hope of ever catching up to or competing with iPad or Android. Now in just a little over 2 months they have over 60 million people accessing the Windows app store, they have a few dozen touch screen PCs on the market, and they have Intel forcing all of their OEMs to put touch screens on their future computers. None of this would have been achievable if Metro UI had been made an optional thing like Windows Media Center.

So sorry if it annoys you or doesn't make sense, but everything that is happening now is the only realistic chance of success Microsoft had of competing effectively and forcing their userbase into the tablet/touch-screen future.

<snipped>
There shouldn't be the Desktop interface at all on Windows RT tablets it DOES confuse people.

Edited by Eric, Jan 21 2013, 4:45pm :

I must be one of the only few that would resist removing the desktop, I like the idea of using a wireless mouse with the Surface and MS desktop apps and a Metro-only environment but be a major turn off for me.

There are important reasons its still there, you're assuming Microsoft expects WinRT to be a "tablet-only" computer, but really I think they want to move to a future of processor-agnosticism and eventually have WinRT on the desktop.

As it stands, the Desktop interface could still be there, but not appear on the Start Screen by default. They could make it so you have to add it manually from your list of programs. That would clear up confusion.

HoochieMamma said,
<snipped>
There shouldn't be the Desktop interface at all on Windows RT tablets it DOES confuse people.

See this is where your wrong to an extent.

The Desktop allows better overall use of some of the applications like Office etc.

I do however think the desktop should be altered abit to look different when compared directly to a Win8 copy however the desktop allows much greater control and access to the tablet which is almost never seen on current tablets (Windows shares, network locations, file management etc)

I differ on this. If you include the Desktop, people are going to think it can run full desktop apps. When I say people I don't mean us on here that research this stuff. The RT version in my view should be tablet only, just so users don't confuse the desktop as being a fully capable windows version. Remember people are not smart when it comes to this. This has hurt Microsoft in the past, not making things simple and obvious

I think Windows Phone OS and Windows RT need to move closer to being exactly the same thing. Windows RT should be used on smaller tablets and unique devices like we're seeing with Android on the Nvidia Shield, Ouya, and Nexus 7. I also think that all Windows machines (phone, tablet, PC) should share the exact same apps like Android does. Even iPad lets you run iPhone apps. Microsoft is making a huge mistake not unifying their app store across devices.

This idea that Windows RT can only be used on a plain vanilla tablet is a mistake. The fact they ported Windows to ARM chips now enables OEMs the freedom to create original/unique integrated devices that serve specific purposes better than a general purpose tablet.

Do Atom tablets still have to have fans? If yes I wouldn't touch one with a barge pole. It'll be too tempting for OEMs to stick cheap and 'cheerful' fans in them. I would consider getting the next version of the Surface RT however.

On that note is there is a list somewhere of websites that work with IE10's flash on Windows RT?

Yes, I believe there is a list. I also think there is a way to change what websites the flash plugin will load in.

I'm too lazy to google up the link now, but I'm pretty confident I've seen one.

thealexweb said,
Do Atom tablets still have to have fans?

Theres not a single Win 8 tablet with Atom inside that has fans. So no idea where you got that from.

All the Win 8 Atom tablets use the Clover Trail based Atom which uses the same amount as power as ARM SoC's, and therefore lasts just as long on battery and don't produce enough heat to need a fan. So theres no point in getting RT. An Atom Win 8 tablet literally has all the benefits of an RT tablet, plus the ability to run all x86 software.

Only Win 8 tablets with Core i CPU's need fans.

You forgot the abysmal battery life, abysmal CPU performance and abysmal GPU performance oh and the increased weight/thickness.

1Pixel said,
Win 8 Atom tablets ... Clover Trail based Atom ... same amount as power as ARM SoC's, and therefore lasts just as long on battery...

Until you install your favorite legacy application that also installs an errant service, then all battery life claims go out the Window.

The reason of RT is to Market that Microsoft's Walled Garden comes with some tangible benefits/guarantees..... Free Office Home/Student, predictable performance and battery life through the life of the Device.

TPreston said,
You forgot the abysmal battery life, abysmal CPU performance and abysmal GPU performance oh and the increased weight/thickness.

If you're referring to i-series based tablets, you couldn't be more wrong. 7 hours of battery life and the ability to play games at medium-high settings while gaining roughly .15 inches of thickness? Hardly abysmal,

If you're referring to Atom tablets, they get as good of battery life as their ARM counterparts and are the same thickness - the abysmal performance, however, is true.

deadonthefloor said,

Until you install your favorite legacy application that also installs an errant service, then all battery life claims go out the Window.

The reason of RT is to Market that Microsoft's Walled Garden comes with some tangible benefits/guarantees..... Free Office Home/Student, predictable performance and battery life through the life of the Device.


Completely agree. Plus those legacy applications run like garbage on Atom tablets. Those two factors make it irrelevant whether you can run x86 applications, I think.

Anthony Tosie said,

Completely agree. Plus those legacy applications run like garbage on Atom tablets. Those two factors make it irrelevant whether you can run x86 applications, I think.

Completely disagree. First Atom actually has much better performance than ARM right now. Whether that is because Windows is better optimized for x86 than ARM or because the hardware is actually better is beyond me, but it's just a fact. Second the usefulness in running x86 apps depends upon the types of apps you want to run. If you are interested in syncing your fitbit, running Chrome/Firefox/Opera/Safari, or downloading/syncing music from iTunes or Zune then things like that will work perfectly fine on an Atom PC (basic things you simply can't do on a Surface). If you're interested in playing the latest Call of Duty or editing movies then an Atom PC isn't the way to go obviously.

For most people who use their PCs for light stuff (documents, web browsing, Twitter, Facebook, email, etc.) an Atom PC is definitely enough power.

I originally got a Surface for my mom thinking it might be enough, but quickly learned that the print drivers didn't exist for her printer on ARM and she couldn't sync her fitbit without the installed fitbit software. I got my mom an Acer W510 tablet instead and the battery life beats the pants off of the Surface RT. That device can get damn near 18 hours with the dock attached. Neither one has been more or less reliable thus far, but the ARM device suffers more often from slowdown and so far consistently has worse battery life than Atom.