Microsoft defends Windows RT, says it'll get better with time

Microsoft hasn't been having such an easy time with Windows RT, facing continual issues with OEMs and having to deal with slow sales of their Surface RT tablet. Not only that, but people have criticized the platform for failing to show its value over Windows 8 - which allows for backwards compatibility with traditional x86 desktop apps - as many full Windows 8 tablets are priced similarly to Windows RT machines.

In an interview with CNET, Microsoft's corporate VP of Windows Planning, Hardware & PC Ecosystem Michael Angiulo has defended Windows RT, saying that the platform will get better with time.

It was a ton of work for us and we didn't do the work and endure the disruption for any reason other than the fact that there's a strategy there that just gets stronger over time.

Looking at things now like power performance and standby time and passive [fanless] form factors. When we launched Windows 8, it was really competitive with a full-sized iPad. A lot of that was made possible by the ARM [chip] architecture.

Angiulo also said that ARM-based Windows tablets have a "very bright future", as the performance of ARM chipsets will drastically improve in the next few years as more features are added. He also defended the Windows Store-app-only model, highlighting how easy it is to switch between Windows RT devices when all the apps are located in the Store.

People are talking about legacy desktop software not running, but they don't think about the customer benefit of only running modern apps. [...] Let's say you drop that PC in a pool. Well, you get a new one and then you just redownload [the apps]. That's the kind of model people are used to with a phone or tablet today. I can maintain all the apps in the [Microsoft] Store and reset with a single switch.

So, on Windows RT, the user experience stays consistent over time. That's a big benefit. And as the number of apps grow in the store, that value promise only gets stronger.

He also highlighted the power advantages of an ARM-based tablet in comparison to an Intel-powered device, stating that ARM chips are much more power efficient in connected standby, allowing for longer battery life. However, Intel's Bay Trail platform, which is scheduled for release later this year, is said to bring lower power consumption, longer battery life and better performance to Windows 8 tablets, which could still make Windows RT devices a hard sell.

Source: CNET | Image via Microsoft

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RT... why bother? My Asus Vivotab Smart sports a real Windows 8 and is home to my PLC programs and WIRESHARK!!! Epic wood for Wireshark on a sub $500 tablet, mahogany.

It is ironic that Microsoft feels the need to "defend," what is really an expensive toy. But, with their other recent "ooops," it comes as no surprise.

Does a single person own a Surface RT that is bitching and moaning in the comments? Or just going for your "analyst" certificates?

Owning an iPad and a Surface I have not touched my iPad since buying the Surface.

I own both, and I don't touch either much, it's a smartphone and desktop world 90% of the time. I do use the iPad more, I have a couple fitness peripherals unavailable on any other mobile devices.

If I have to RDP the Surface RT is my choice but with RemoteApp I only need a web browser on any PC and there are apps to use RemoteApp with Macs and iPads.

Windows RT is a DOA, for a notebook it is subpar, and for a tablet, there are a lot of tablet that do the same for half the price. And a tablet with a detachable keyboard is anything but new.

The only pro of Windows RT is the inclusion of Office. However, for Office, a 10" screen is kinda useless.

Brony said,
Windows RT is a DOA, for a notebook it is subpar, and for a tablet, there are a lot of tablet that do the same for half the price. And a tablet with a detachable keyboard is anything but new.

The only pro of Windows RT is the inclusion of Office. However, for Office, a 10" screen is kinda useless.

So, iPads are therefore DOA too?

I like windows RT for a lot of people for the reason you can not install x86 software. The low power intel chips are too slow for a lot of x86 software and you know there would be people whining oh this tablet etc sucks this software is too slow or this game wont run. On windows RT you already know its not going to work.

My wife has a Surface and if it was an x86 computer it would probably be filled with malware and other crap like most peoples PC's. Windows RT does exactly what she needs it to do.

He's right, you have to look ahead with this. The consumer market is too huge to ignore, and consumers are not savvy enough to manage their PC's and keep them malware and virus free. RT accomplishes all of that. Just needs the quality apps. Quicken would be a good start. RT isn't going to disappear, no way.

The argument of running old x86 desktop apps is just null void for the majority of consumers. Most of the do not have some old app they just need to have on their tablet. They only need apps that works now and can be easily installed without scanning thru the internet.

RT as concept is still a good idea. The problem is price.

That's true, but then the question is why not have compatibility with x86 if Atom CPUs can provide the same functionality otherwise for Windows 8 tablets that Windows RT has? Why rule out running x86 apps?

The only real arguments I can think of against are legacy viruses/malware, unless ARM eventually extends its lead in that form factor.

Sure, for some tech savvy folks out there, that is a good solution.

However you do not want that for the platform as a whole. You want to minimize source of problems for the consumer (strange installed apps) and maximize the constraints for better control (forced App store) to avoid unforeseen problems, i.e. less unknown factors that can totally ruin the user experience.

For instance x86 desktop apps do not use new APIs for minimizing battery consumption.

Majority of users buying a tablet want to have something that works on the go with minimum hassle.

If the tradeoff is "I can't use uTorrent but I get a pain free experience when doing web tasks on a street corner" I think the majority will accept that.

You have to remember that more is not always better and everything is a tradeoff with different goals and costs.

Personally my biggest complaint against Windows RT is that the old Desktop is still a big part of the experience and therefore create a misunderstanding what Windows RT is.

I don't understand what you are all moaning about - other than Windows Surface/RT tablets there is simply no comparable device that will last all day, with a small (sub-netbook) format and allow so much productivity. I was originally going to wait for the Pro but decided the better battery life of the Surface RT was what I needed and I haven't once regretted that decision. I use it all day with my customers, for my social networking, for emails then in the evening I can listen to some music, play a game or watch something.

Yes it lacks power for heavy duty tasks, but I wouldn't want to web design or work with large spreadsheets on such a small device so then I use my desktop. And it's really easy to share stuff between the two, plus it's so light and easy to carry that it goes almost everywhere - for me, it's perfect.

There are numerous Intel Atom tablets coming out like the Dell Latitude 10 or HP ElitePad that seem to match up pretty well against RT tablets in every respect, with compact dimensions, long battery life, low heat output, and no fans etc. Meanwhile they offer, albeit slow, compatibility with 32-bit Windows desktop apps (and Windows RT apps that aren't ARM capable). The roadmap for Atom shows these chips drastically increasing in performance by this time next year. AMD also have some interesting x86 parts listed but I can't find them anywhere.

Given that I can't really see that Windows RT is that critical, though maybe ARM have something else up their sleeve. I can see that it makes sense for them to hedge their bets given how successful rival ARM tablets are.

Even better. The one in the tablets I have looked at though is the Z2760 and that seems to be 32-bit only. I expect that will change soon - at the moment they only come with 2GB RAM.

I want to get one next year once they catch up a bit more with my old laptop. I don't need a more powerful portable, but a more compact one would be very nice.

Only their hamdheld z- atoms are x86, As for the atom versus arm its no contest mobile atom chips are dog slow with terrible graphics perfermence and as soon as you go out of power saver mode it canabilisises the battry life.

Funny that other platforms don't have to wait to get more powerful ARM chips for acceptable performance. Keep RT hope alive, Microsoft.

No if I dropped my PC in a pool, I would restore from my OS sysprepped/imagex/recimg'd image complete with all desktop apps intact.

If Apple remains static, this will eventually do well. Though those buying into it now aren't getting much.

The problem isn't this Strategy, it's that Microsoft apparently has foolishly bought into Tim Cook's notion that we're in a Post-PC era. That's laughable. They compliment each other, PCs and mobile devices.

If Windows Blue reunites these platforms with middleware and proper syncing/sharing, etc. the MS has seen the error of its ways and it will eventually be a good thing. If they're really smart, they will address some of the annoyances Metro brought to the desktop for many of their hardcore base. It can be done without disturbing what's happening with the Modern movement on mobile devices.

Did MS think Apple's reality distortion field died when Steven Jobs left us? You don't let the person who you have thoroughly dominated on the desktop, convince you the desktop doesn't matter anymore and we're in an era where the area they are strongest in is all that matters. duh ...

Keep building the modern store and Windows RT will take off. Hopefully with Blue we will get a seamless cross platform experience to make it easier for devs to target Windows and Windows Phone!

I have Surface RT and yes, the store just needs more apps especially education apps (textbooks and ibook like textbooks and edu apps like apple has in their new adjective commercials) as well as more games like temple run 2, subway surfer, bike race, fun run, etc. Plus more apps like browsers Modern UI Office and video editing.

As for RT itself it just needs more customization such as moving all power (restart, logoff, shutdown) under one menu whether that be a sidebar like the wifi selection or under the user tile. We should have an option for our own backgrounds or slideshow/video background and Microsoft should call the current backgrounds "optimized for Win8" and have other high quality backgrounds from the store, like google does with gmail backgrounds. They need to fix Control Panel with a one place for notifications and settings and network (which also should have a mini mode like Taskmanager so you don't have to see all the navigation at once. They should minimize the ribbon in file explorer and hide it so when you press the ALT key it opens the ribbon like the od menu bar, then they should bring back the Win 7 command bar. Another thing I would like to see is drag and drop in the file explorer crumb bar

So they're really determined to shove it down our throat…

The main argument he has? "Let's say you drop that PC in a pool. Well, you get a new one and then you just redownload the apps."

Yeah sure, I drop my laptop or my tablet in a pool every day Microsoft guy! You convinced me… I won't fear pools anymore, I have Windows 8!

Farewell Microsoft.

myxomatosis said,
So they're really determined to shove it down our throat…

If it continues to feel like that to many, they will fail. The upcoming core apps revamp will speak volumes. They will tell whether Microsoft gets it or not.

Many hardcore Microsoft supporters and professionals have given up hope on various parts of the platform and once you leave, there's really no reason to come back. Well there are actually 2 if they fix things quickly 1) Apple is still apple and 2) Google is the devil despite how good the phones are. I don't even feel safe using my real name on anything associated with Android or Gmail, or anything else Google can sell to the highest bidder.

I've given up hope. I was a Windows user for the power of choices. Now I feel I have things being forced on me. If I wanted that I would be an Apple user. MS was a pick for freedom, freedom that feels like is now slowly disappearing.

Microsoft has gambled that there are more soccer moms who will buy a mobile device with a simple touch UI, even if it annoys the desktop users. I think they are wrong, and will learn the hard way. But only time will tell, so far though, that's how things are panning out.

Edit: One more thing, soccer moms who will drop their tablets and smartphones in the family pool.

margrave said,
I've given up hope. I was a Windows user for the power of choices. Now I feel I have things being forced on me. If I wanted that I would be an Apple user. MS was a pick for freedom, freedom that feels like is now slowly disappearing.

Better with time? How much time? If Intel keeps going on with low voltage and good CPU, ARM CPU won't have anything better to provide. RT will become useless.

ARM shouldn't only fear Intel but AMD as well. Sure on CPU side of things it might not shine against Intel but on the graphics side it's showing strong promises. People who thought ARM arch will take over can only dream, Intel and AMD were just late to the party but they are bring a lot of booze with them when they finally come in the door.

On the topic I don't see much point in RT just yet. Maybe over time it'll get better and the tablets will get a tad cheaper with a bigger ecosystem backing it up but right now for me it's a meh and I'll skip it.

RT was released too late... Now that Intel is pushing towards power efficiency there will soon be no reason to use ARM - especially as ARM CPUs will consume way more power when they start to even scratch the performance of x86...

TruckWEB said,
Better with time? How much time? If Intel keeps going on with low voltage and good CPU, ARM CPU won't have anything better to provide. RT will become useless.

CPU Speed is a tradeoff with efficiency, if you want a fast high performance CPU, you'll pick IBM or Intel or AMD, NOT ARM, imagine going to amazon and searching taking 3 minutes... ARM will always be more power efficient than intel's main line of processors, yes they have the atom as well but ARM is a different kettle really, you can pick up basic ARM microchips for $2/piece and the price goes up depending on what features you want, Intel will never be able to offer that.

That's exactly the thing. ARM will improve but Intel/AMD aren't actually standing still either.

The thing is, Intel feeds into R&D almost as much as ARM market cap is right now. This is one cat and mouse game that the mouse just can't win.