imageI use a Surface RT. I love my Surface RT. Really. It’s a great companion for my Lumia and works great for business. I keep it on me all the time and it can handle all of my Office and tablet needs. However, I can’t imagine buying another RT device and it’s hard to find anyone who is a buyer.

See, the lure of RT was originally the power sipping ARM chips and the thin designs since the CPU doesn’t require a fan and Intel was taking its sweet time releasing any competitive chips. All that plus, when you factor in a free Office license, the price was right. But here we are, on the verge of Windows 8.1 and Haswell and Bay Trail are shipping. And the new lineup of Windows 8.1 tablets offer everything that RT offers – they’re thin, light, have all day batteries and have price points starting in the $300 range. Heck, even if you get a 10” Windows 8.1 Pro device for $350 and add a full Office license it’s still less than what I paid for my Surface RT. And let’s call it what it is – RT is slower than Pro. RT runs less apps than Pro. RT lacks backwards compatibility and the Windows Store isn’t overflowing with RT apps.

So, is RT dead? Well not yet. It has another year or two. At this point RT still has a purpose. It’s job is to unify the Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 operating systems (hi Blue). And that’s a good job it needs to fulfill. However, Intel is nearing release of a mobile chip that is going to compete with ARM on all grounds. Once that happens then the gloves are off and RT (and ARM) are done. Something would have to drastically change to stop this…and quite frankly I think the death or ARM and RT is inevitable. And I’m not so sad to see them go. Finally, a unified architecture across devices. Even if you aren’t a Microsoft enthusiast, the lure of one and done applies across the board.

Oh and AMD, it’s time to fight. Really. Now.

2 COMMENTS

  1. And with a 5 user Office 365 subscription, adding Office to a $300 Windows 8.1 tablet/convertible is….. well, free, sort of. Assuming your not using the license for anything else.

    But I agree. I respect what Microsoft did with the Surface RT, and plan to hold to mine for the near future. But I don’t think I will be purchasing another RT device. There is just too much for me to give up.

    But outfitting schools with RT devices, where they can’t sideload unauthorized programs or have malware and other evils attack the machines. Now that makes perfect sense.

  2. Windows RT should not be regarded and written off entirely as a failure and a mistake.

    Microsoft needed to hurry to dive farther into the mobile market as it was really growing impossible to do that faster and faster, but making a decent hybrid whatever tablet that some consumers would like instead of the ipad and Nexus 7, versus the Surface Pro instead of some ultralight laptop, they had to cook up something that did not require a fan and would not die in two hours, at the expense of the compatibility issues. The hardware technology just wasn’t available yet and the clock was ticking.

    So they came up with RT, which turned out to serve as a placeholder, if you will, their foot in the door of this saturated market, until Intel finally figured out how to make a chip that would bring the advantages of the Surface Pro to the Surface RT, something to take on ARM. And now that Intel has apparently done that, they can glide away from RT entirely, but with some good lessons learned under their belt in proceeding with a better product in this somewhat foreign world toward which they’re taking unique approaches to be differentiated in a good way.

    Had they waited on the Surface until they had the right processor, their already-longshot odds of making something that sells would be lower, quite possibly comparatively lower enough to warrant however much RT cost the company, not to mention, again, what they learned along the way to apply to their continued efforts.

    Tl;dr, we’re too hard on Microsoft, and Ballmer might not have been as dumb as he looked.

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