Windows RT’s Future Remains Bright as Intel Continues to Struggle in Mobile

As the first batch of SP3s (Surface Pro 3s) were shipped into the hands of eager fans and enthusiasts over this weekend, Windows RT seems to have been forgotten in the conversation. The SP3 has achieved many of the advantages the first generation Surface RT held including long battery life, a somewhat lower price point, and a superior form factor.

A peruse back down memory lane to the Sinofsky era at Microsoft reminds us the that Windows RT was met with resistance from the very beginning. First, the naming of Windows on ARM to Windows RT was universally panned by technology media and technology enthusiasts alike. To make matters worse Windows 8′s platform architecture was named WinRT (Windows Runtime). The two similar names also caused a great deal of confusion. It’s a running joke that the naming of Windows RT is among the reasons Sinofsky was fired.

The hardware also proved to be problematic too. While Microsoft announced a number of Windows RT partners at the launch of Windows 8 almost all of them either dropped our stopped production of their tablet. The lone exception was of course Nokia with the Lumia 2520. Most OEMs were extremely slow to adopt touch screens and tablet or hybrid form factors.   Microsoft’s own hardware did not fare much better than its partners. The launch of the Surface RT came out to mixed reviews. The performance on the NVidia Tegra 3 was woefully inadequate, and it took nearly a year of software updates to improve the situation. The NVidia Tegra 4 chipset was dramatically better with the Surface 2, but the damage had already been done. Surface RT is perceived as product that is sluggish and slow. produced the tablet by the thousands. It took a $900 million charge on the hardware about a year ago. A brand new Surface RT can still be bought on ebay for under $250.

Ecosystem problems have not helped either. The Windows Phone store ecosystem still remains more robust than the Windows Store. Popular apps have been slow to come to Windows 8. The problem magnified on Windows RT as the OS cannot run legacy x86 applications since it runs a different chipset. Popular video player VLC which raised nearly $75,000 to create a Windows RT app nearly two years ago has still not delivered on its promise. Microsoft’s own WinRT Office application suite has still not been delivered either.

Despite all this, from a technical perspective Windows RT is an amazing achievement. In less than three years Microsoft fully ported Windows to run on an ARM chipset. In fact the father of Windows NT, Dave Cutler, wanted Windows to run of the RISC-based chip from MIPS. He had demanded that his programmers write code that would work on any processor, rather than Intel x86-specific code, which might have been faster but would have been less portable. Of course over time Intel came to dominate. And up to Windows 8 Microsoft has been exclusively supporting Intel chips for Windows. During that time Intel faced little competition except for AMD for a short period of time.

However the rise and ubiquity of ARM-based mobile devices has been problematic for Intel. ARM chips have classically held three major advantages lower price, smaller size, and energy efficiency. With the rise of the iPhone/iPad and android smartphones ARM chip usage has skyrocketed. Apple and Samsung have begun developing their own chips based on the ARM architecture. Microsoft choose to support Qualcomm based ARM chips for Windows Phones.

Intel’s mobile chips are used by almost nobody and most analyst say they are still three generations behind ARM chips. With tablet PCs Intel’s chips are still quite power hungry and their current roadmap does not point to fully solving this problem until 2016. Intel is still acting slowly as if nothing is wrong, there is no reason the company should not have been dominant in the mobile space. In fact Intel’s chip still do not contain an integrated 4G/LTE solution. Microsoft’s rumored 8-inch Surface mini will be based on Qualcomm’s ARM chips instead of using Intel’s chips. For smaller form factors Intel’s chips are still not ideal.

Microsoft decision to support ARM is ultimately good for consumers. More choice is always better for consumers. The success of Windows 8 will in fact mean the success of Windows RT. As more apps run on  the WinRT platform and legacy desktop applications fade away more Windows tablets based on ARM chipsets will be available at lower price points. The non-pro Surface line-up is significantly cheaper than the pro line-up.

Pundits who have consistently dismissed Windows RT are fundamentally being anti-consumer choice. More choice and more competition always benefits consumers. While in the short term Microsoft has stumbled in its execution of Windows ARM, these problems were not completely unexpected either. The new wave of consumer devices iPhones, iPads, Samsung Android smartphones, etc. are all utilize ARM based chips. Microsoft needs to continue its investment in Windows RT, it will pay off as Windows 8 (or 9) continues to succeed and grow.

About the author  ⁄ Suril Amin

Suril is a scientist, journalist and obsessive Microsoft observer. He holds an advanced degree in Biotechnology with minors in Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology. Send him tips on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/surilamin

  • http://leonidam.wordpress.com/ leoniDAM

    The lack of compatibility with x86 application is not a so big problem for Windows RT, think that also iPad and every Android tablet can’t run x86 code…
    The problem may be the lack of application, in general, and the ignorance on Windows RT.

    PS: for complete information WinRT is an abbreviation and stand for Windows Runtime and is the name of the framework for developmet of Windows Store Apps (the apps for the ModernUI interface, formerly known as Metro) and for Windows Phone 8.1 apps

    • NGM123

      “The lack of compatibility with x86 application is not a so big problem for Windows RT”
      Your dead wrong. Apple and google overcame the x86 issue with a zillion apps, in quick smart time, RT has been around long enough to have overcome its major app shortfall but they haven’t, the lack of available apps for RT is pitiful. There is no way I will ever buy an RT device again, I’m sick and tired of not having access to very basic apps, its not only extremely frustrating its embarrassing as a product supporter which I am.

  • wat

    Shit hardware really was the killer of a potentially good release. Price too, I guess. They should be pushing it for cheap tablets where the chip makers are actually making money off them too, not letting intel give away free chips to try and keep some form of dominance.

    • Joe_HTH

      There’s nothing shit about the Surface 2. It was also priced right. You can’t sell a premium 10 inch tablet for $300 without losing your ass on everyone sold.

      • wat

        The Tegra 4 lacked heavily compared to Qualcomms offerings. They also didn’t sell very many which shows it was pretty shit compared to Apple and Android’s offerings. MS needed to swallow their pride and make a loss/zero profit on their first generation when they were so late to the party just to get a good user base in the first place, THEN and only THEN would developers have made apps for it. Because they never there are no apps and no more RT tablets sold. They got into a downward spiral from their own arrogance, ignorance and greed.

        • big_Stefano

          The problem with making a zero loss/no profit on the first one would’ve been the pricing of its successor. When the original Surface came out here in the UK, it was roughly £400 with no cover. Sure Microsoft could have sold it at £200-220 and moved millions and not made any money from it. But what would people think when the Surface 2 came out and Microsoft then decided to double the price? Microsoft would only get away with increasing the price from £200 to £239 for the Surface 2. And the profit margin on that would be close to none too!
          It is true that both Surfaces could have been released with a £20-30 price drop. But when you look at what Apple is offering for the same, if not higher, price. It’s a no brainer: you don’t get a USB meaning you can’t charger you phone, connect your phone and transfer files, can’t connect your camera, printer, flash drive, external hard drive, etc. No memory card slot. Meaning again no alternative way of transferring data. It also means no way of increasing storage. I own a 64gb Surface 2 and with the 64gb I have on it, it means my Surface in theory is a 128gb. In 6 months time if Microsoft releases the runoured McLaren phone hopefully with a MMC slot, by then 128gb card will have down in price, that’s if a 256gb microSD card isn’t available, and my 64gb will be going to the McLaren, and then 128gb will be going to the Surface.
          All of this is without mentioning how much I used Word and PowerPoint during my university projects. Something that iOS can only open but cannot edit without a fee. And I didn’t even mention the HIGHLY useful integrated kickstand. Or plugging in my mouse and and keyboard and then plugging my Surface to the TV using the microHDMI. How about the Gorilla Glass than Apple can’t be bothered to put in their devices? How many of their products have you seen with a cracked screen?
          You should try opening your eyes a little and start looking outside the box instead of following the crowd or the media.

          • perfectalpha

            I’m sure his eyes are plenty open…when you visit any business district lunch area, they are filled with iPads and people using those devices. They aren’t using Surface.
            Folks like you (and consequently Microsoft) need to realize that they can make money on accessories and services. The product has to be a portal to everything and anything Microsoft. Sell more accessories. If they made blades that worked specifically with programs (let’s say a real video editing keyboard blade, or music, photos, etc) that folks can buy to go along with their regular keyboard. Cha-Ching. Why isn’t a stylus option available as an accessory? Cha-Ching. Why isn’t touch/modern Office available? Cha-Ching. Promote Xbox Music and Video. Cha-Ching. Promote OneDrive storage options. Cha-Ching. You need to show bigger advantages over what Apple is offering to try and push past them.
            You might not like it, but the bottom line is even in a “bad” quarter for Apple, they still move 16 million iPads. Just last holiday quarter, Apple sold more iPads than Surfaces since their inception.
            Trust me, I see value in the Surface has well. The problem is your average consumer does not. So, you have to give them an undeniably great flagship product that they can identify with their use needs in that category. Right now, it is the iPad. You need to take bold steps to reel them in, because the sad state of affairs is Microsoft isn’t even option #2. Folks are looking at Samsung next.

          • big_Stefano

            I have to admit, Perfect Alpha, that was a very good reply and you actually opened My eyes to something. Now that you mentioned it I understand what you mean. I suppose looking at it now, maybe it is what Microsoft was trying to do by charging us £99 ($160) for a touchcover that must cost no more than £12 to mass produce. If this really was what Microsoft was trying to do, I assume that since the Surface line of products didn’t really move the numbers Microsoft had hoped for, they must’ve cut down on the accessories they had planned for. I remember I wanted to buy the wireless magnetic adaptor that connects to your touch/typecover to make it wireless, however, that product never reached this part of the world. But maybe they are trying again with this idea. They do have the powercover for the SP3, docking station, etc. Let’s hope it kicks off.
            Thanks again for opening my eyes. I suppose the ignorant one here was me who failed to take my own advice and “look outside the box”.

          • Bugbog

            Power cover was for SP2; none [currently] for SP3.

          • big_Stefano

            My bad, but you got the idea ;)

          • big_Stefano

            By the way, you made some really good points about the ‘missing’ accessories such as the adapter for full size USB, a cover with a stand, an adapter for memory cards (you missed that one, btw), etc

          • Bugbog

            See, even more bounty from the great design that was/is Surface! :)

          • FutureTense

            Was… LOL

            I suspect you speak the truth!

          • Bugbog

            I do believe the Surface line is outselling any particular model/brand of Samsung tablets over 7/8 inches (maybe even collectively?!)

          • perfectalpha

            Who knows how many anybody is selling. Only Apple releases sales numbers, and everybody else just talks either dollar amounts or shipment amounts. For all we know, no one is selling tablets outside of Apple.

          • Bugbog

            We may not have actual numbers, but going by the rough figures of multiple analysts rankings, Android barely rates in the 10″ or bigger market. We do also know that in the PC market tablet/hybrid market Microsoft is rated in the top 10 of vendors.

          • perfectalpha

            That is because Android is terrible above 8″ really. Basically, if the device can be made to look like a large smartphone, Android is generally good. There are some 10″ apps don’t get me wrong, but I think Android is abysmal in the 10″ category and until Google starts taking tablets seriously, I do not believe they are even a player.

          • Bugbog

            Well then, given that Android is terrible above 10″ and IOS may well be pointless at 12″, shouldn’t Microsoft get acknowledgement for a successfully scalable O.S?

          • perfectalpha

            Yes it should. They should get credit for OS design. Credit for multitasking on a tablet OS (not the shit Samsung offers). They should get credit for it working with multiple input methods (including voice). They should get credit f for it scaling some more when you plug the Surface in another monitor. They should get credit for quality Bing apps too. They should get credit for hardware design too.

          • HiCal

            So? That’s like saying your the skinniest kid at fat camp! :-D

          • Bugbog

            You should realise that that analogy actually works in my favour?!

            In a sea of fat people (Samsung’s me too Android’s tabs) the Surface is distinctive; by design, by engineering, by quality, by productivity, by accessories, by update support, …in fact it is uniquely distinctive!

          • HiCal

            Crappy sales are crappy sales, nothing distinctive about Surface crappy sales :(

          • MarcMS

            I agree with most of what you said, but just FYI, iPads and iPhones all use Gorilla Glass. Steves Jobs himself convinced Corning Glass (makers of Gorilla glass) to start mass producing Gorilla glass so it could be used in the original iPhone.

            Apple just doesn’t like to put another brand’s name next to Apple. You will virtually never see any other brand in an Apple AD. It is just the way they do things.

          • big_Stefano

            I know Apple used Corning Gorilla Glass on their first few iterations of the iPhone (Corning even mention it on their website), but as far as I know Apple purchased several glass-cutting machines before the release of the iPhone 4 and were producing and cutting their own glass from the iPhone 4 and it’s successors. These machines, to my knowledge, were, and are still being, used to make and cut glass for the iPads as well.

          • MarcMS

            Glass-cutting machines… Gorilla GLASS…. :-P
            Seriously, there is no (easy) way to know for sure, but considering the interest and effort of SJ to make the original deal with Corning, I would be very surprised if they just forgot about it after a relatively short time, without having any superior technology on sight. Only very recently has come to light the rumored saphire glass thing.

          • big_Stefano

            Well, they had it for 3 years so it wasn’t very short. I assumed Apple thought “why pay a company a premium price for glass when we could produce it ourselves”.
            and the Sapphire glass thing isn’t rumoured. Apple have been using it since the iPhone 5 which, mind you, features the same camera as the 4S. The Sapphire glass is only used as the camera glass cover. Not in the camera module itself, but the glass that protects the camera. That is made of the so-called sapphire glass and that was their only upgrade to the camera module from the 4S to the 5.

          • MarcMS

            I said relatively short, not very short.

            Producing high quality reinforced glass is not as trivial as it seems, and there might be patents involved too. Also, contrary to the shaphire, Apple has never bought any glass facility that we know. The cutters are for cutting, not to produce the glass. Different processes. Still, who knows!

            The saphire “rumor” (in quotes, because although no product has been announced, if they bought that sapphire company and many furnances is not to have a party :)), I mean to use it as a front cover for iPad, iPhone or iXZY. I know the camera lens cover from iPhone 5 was made of shapphire. That was a sort of test for them, I guess.

          • wat

            My eyes are open to reality, it’s dark for you with your head in your arse denying reality. What I am saying is my opinion, supported by the billions of people who, in your mind, must just happen to think the same because it’s cool to do so, who also didn’t buy Surface tablets.

      • Fritzly

        If people do not buy it….. it is not right, simple as that. And this is a rule for every product.

        • Bugbog

          You must recognize that there is a difference between:

          - Selling in major/massive quantities (iPad)
          - Selling little to nothing at all (Nexus 10)
          - Selling in enough quantity to stay in the ‘game’ (Surface)

          The Surface line has been selling in the low millions, just not in iPad quantities. That doesn’t mean it is a failure. It just means they aren’t exactly challenging the market leader in terms of sales!

          Ever since Apple’s ‘luck’ on iPods there has been this mentality that if you try to compete with them and don’t instantly achieve their sales numbers then you are a failure! Which simply isn’t the case.

          • MarcMS

            The most funny thing is that “those people” never apply that logic to OSX, although after 10 years of trying it still sells 10 times less than Windows. According to them, it should be considered a huge failure, and Apple should exit the OS and desktop computer market… U^_^

          • Bugbog

            Actually Apple recently boasted of 30 years of Mac computers sales totalling 80Million units over the entire period!

            If it were Microsoft that had dared mention this (even in a whisper) you’d have the headline all over the ‘net:

            “Microsoft Abject Sales Failure!”

          • MarcMS

            I made one image for my blog related to that: http://cuatroventanas.tumblr.com/image/88080740976 :-)

          • MarcMS

            Here it is:

          • DavidKipp

            It not only quantity success is also based on the quality of profits; Until Microsoft starts making a profit on hardware then it is a failure :(

          • Fritzly

            I am not a fan boy and I am not locked in silly brands fight. If a company needs to have a write off and the product does not make a dent in the market you do not need a Master to understand that there is an issue. Btw the subject of the thread is the Surface RT not the whole Surface range of products…. Decent try though.

          • Bugbog

            What has the conversation got to do with “fan boys?” And the comment is in reference to the RT line, which has been superseded by the Surface 2.

            Essentially the main thrust of your argument is sell big, immediately, or go home? I don’t believe that is the way competition works.

          • Fritzly

            Not at all, I have used a Tablet PC since 2002, way before everybody jumped on the boat but I would never bought an ARM based one, regardless of the brand. Just compare sales of Surface Pro against the Surface, all very empirical indeed because MS does not release sales figures, and you will see which one sells…
            Again if you have to take a 900 millions write off while the other model is out of stock….. the market has spoken.

          • Bugbog

            And I too have been using PDA’s and Tablet PC’s from the same era and actually purchased the Surface RT, and I Still want another RT tablet!

            So the the only thing I’m ‘hearing’ from the market is where is our Surface Mini [RT] tablet.

  • Wieland

    They ruined RTs start over their product strategies. The main advantages of ARM – light weight, long lasting batteries, smaller form factors and especially low priced devices – have not even rudimentally been utilized.
    Surface was way too expensive too succeed!

    • Joe_HTH

      The iPads are anything but low priced. In fact, they’re ridiculously priced. People like you expect Microsoft to give you the world for practically nothing. The 10 inch Surface 2 with premium build quality, specs, and performance, was appropriately priced at $450. Expecting a device like the Surface 2 to be sold for $300 is idiotic.

      • perfectalpha

        I disagree Joe, the iPad has proven that it is the only tablets consumers will pay over $400 in large amounts. The Nexus 10 was $399 and that was a bust too. All the large screen Samsung devices are a bust, including their 12″ device. No one is going to pay $399+ for an Android tablet, so why would they pay $399 for a windows tablet without the apps they have come to expect on iOS.

  • MoeHD7

    As an early adopter of the first surface RT I gotta say I’m highly disappointed. It runs soooo sluggish even with all the latest updates. At the very least you would expect it to have a browser that lets users surf the web using only touch and yet both the metro and desktop IE work poorly on sites that use those ” mouse hover event menus” like WalMart.com NBA.com and many more. I think RT needs to go away Microsoft should make a tablet version of windows phone cause at least it would be more responsive.

    • rockuz

      I’m an early adapter too, and mine runs fine and I used it to troubleshoot network issue. Thank god for the desktop.

    • http://leonidam.wordpress.com/ leoniDAM

      But a tablet version of Windows Phone is Windows RT.
      Windows Phone is built on the same code base of Windows and Windows RT (that are the same OS except for the support of the Win32 APIs), the difference are only in the more features of Windows RT.

      • MoeHD7

        I just wish RT would run quicker… I like the features I think its more capable then an iPad but not as snappy and lacking alot of apps. I think Windows phones are pretty snappy( even on lower end hardware), have office, OneDrive, has better app support…ect so I think the WP os would be a better user experience on a surface then RT IMO. at this moment I can’t think of anything I would miss from RT.

        • Bugbog

          You should be aware that there is nothing inherently wrong with RT? It’s just that version 1 hardware (Tegra 3 CPU) was underpowered!

          This has been rectified with the Tegra 4/Qualcomm 800 processors used for the Surface 2 and the Nokia 2520, which are the equivalent of the Intel Atom 3740/3770 chips used in the current crop of 8″ & 10″ detachable’s and mini-tablets.

        • http://felixwong.com FelixWong.com

          Here are three tips that have GREATLY improved the performance of my Surface RT:

          1. Used Disk Cleanup to make sure there was more than 4 GB of free hard disk space. (Cleaning out system files in Disk Cleanup particularly freed up a bunch of space.)

          2. Activate Tracking Protection in IE, specifically the EasyPrivacy and PrivacyChoice tracking lists. (Procedure: Desktop IE Settings->Manage Add-ons->Tracking Protection->Get a Tracking Protection List online.) This prevents ~80% of all ads from loading, hugely improving web page loading times and minimizing resuming times for going back a web page.

          3. Use the Bing Wikipedia app instead of the official Wikipedia app for Wikipedia searches. The former is much faster than the latter.

          Doing all of the above has made my Surface RT feel like a brand new machine performance-wise.

          • MoeHD7

            True I did run disk clean up and defrag and notice an improvement in performance…but that said I don’t want to have to worry about running that stuff on a tablet!! I just wanna pick it up and it be snappy and response like my phone.

        • http://leonidam.wordpress.com/ leoniDAM

          Windows RT has full Office (for free) base OneDrive.

      • Vương Vi-Nhuyễn – 王微軟

        That’s completely true, but Windows R.T.’s features aren’t based on tablet P.C.’s but on desktops, Windows Phone still has the ”touch-advantage”…

        • http://leonidam.wordpress.com/ leoniDAM

          No, Windows RT is based on WinRT and on ModernUI that is touch-first stuff

    • Abraham Soto

      What do you expect from a Tegra 3 ?! A miracle !??

      • MoeHD7

        Lol!!!! I guess I did especially for that premium early adopter price tag lol. Honestly I just assumed that cause now Microsoft was in control of the hardware that went in the surface it would have been appropriately match so that RT would run buttery smooth.
        Lesson learned.

  • already decided

    RT’s future has been pretty much already decided by Microsoft. It will merge with Windows Phone. Only thing is that the statement could mean multiple things.
    1. WP is for phones and tablets. RT is gone.
    2. RT is for phones and tablets. WP is gone.
    3. A merged new OS is on phones and tablets. Current WP and RT are both gone.

    • http://leonidam.wordpress.com/ leoniDAM

      What do you want to merge?
      There is nothing to merge because Windows, Windows RT and Windows Phone and also the OS of the Xbox are already merged!
      All the incarnation of the OSes have the same code base, the same development tools and, with WP8.1, the same frameworks.
      The only difference is in the UI, for to fit the different form factor, and in some features that don’t make sense to support on some device

      • perfectalpha

        We want one OS then. One where the apps you download on your phone are available on Windows 8 and vice versa. Right now, there are plenty more apps on Windows Phone that aren’t available on Windows 8 (and vice versa).
        Also, let’s get a look at the big software companies such as Autodesk, Adobe and even the Office team release Metro versions of their software. It is 2014 (almost 2 years after launch). It is about time.
        The problem with Windows 8 is even though folks will be allowed to upgrade later on, it feels like a beta OS like Windows Phone 7. The framework is there for A LOT of nice things, however you can clearly tell this is not a fully realized modern OS either. No notification panes? No voice assistants? Minimal continuity between devices. It sucks we will have to wait until next year before the beef is delivered.

        • Vương Vi-Nhuyễn – 王微軟

          Exactly, and the worst part is that despite the fact that the Windows team ”stole” the Windows Phone team’s design, Windows 8 was literally just ”a lame clone” of Windows Phone when it came out, there is no continuity, it only ”looks similar”, meanwhile Apple has ”real” ”continuity” between ”their” ”devices”, it’s just ”sad”, for ”Micro”soft, I really hope that we’ll see Skype ”upgraded” and better”features”…

          • Vương Vi-Nhuyễn – 王微軟

            Oké, I overreacted a bit. (>_<)

          • http://leonidam.wordpress.com/ leoniDAM

            Windows is not a UI clone of Windos Phone.
            But Microsoft is trying to unifying the experience between Windows and Windows Phone, with WP8 we have seen the unification of the core of the system (kernel, driver model, the CLR, and other stuff) with WP8.1 we have the unification of the developer platform (same framework, Universal App, etc.) in 2015, maybe with Threshold, we will see the unification of service (maybe Cortana, Office, and some other)

        • Bugbog

          A lot of what you keep harping on is merely “me too” features.

          The O.S. function greatly for the manner in which it was designed! It’s only after the clamour for these features that have been popularised on the more populated OS’es that Microsoft is gradually placing them there (Hence the “slow” aphorism). Not because they couldn’t, but because they initially saw no need!

        • http://leonidam.wordpress.com/ leoniDAM

          And with WP8.1 you have what do you want, you can have the same apps on PC, notebook, tablet, phone and in the near future also Xbox.
          You have a notification pane in Windows, and Cortana comes in the near future.
          How you can say that there is minimal continuity between device? Maybe you can say that there is minimal continuity with smartphone, but also here WP8.1 is the answare.

        • http://leonidam.wordpress.com/ leoniDAM

          And with WP8.1 you have what do you want, you can have the same apps on PC, notebook, tablet, phone and in the near future also Xbox.
          You have a notification pane in Windows, and Cortana comes in the near future.
          How you can say that there is minimal continuity between device? Maybe you can say that there is minimal continuity with smartphone, but also here WP8.1 is the answare.

    • Vương Vi-Nhuyễn – 王微軟

      merger is the best option, there are some exclusive Windows Phone features that Windows R.T. could use, and there are some Windows R.T. features that Windows Phone could benefit from, but Windows Phone already has years of support in it, and Windows C.E. + Windows Embedded have decades of mobile development in them, merging ”small windows” with ”big windows” will mean that Microsoft can use the same developers to make both desktop and mobile applications, features, settings, and support, there is absolutely no reason to abolish either Windows R.T. or Windows Phone, a full merger (¿Windows Phone R.T.?) will make Microsoft more competitive, and they’ll be enabled to release more features for both faster, both teams working together, putting ((the) THE FORMER-)Windows Live-team inside the Windows Team made great Cloud-integration, OneDrive is now directly in Windows.

      Now imagine Wi-Fi Sense, Battery Saver, Storage Sense, Cortana, Wallet, Etc. on Windows P.C.’s and the ability to link accounts to your device + features from your P.C. on your phone (¿Pocket-P.C.?) Microsoft would lead the market.

      • http://leonidam.wordpress.com/ leoniDAM

        What you don’t realize is that the best part of what you ask is already here with WP8.1

  • Bugbog

    Anyone who thinks the so-called ‘failure’ of WinRT was entirely down to Microsoft (be it due to arrogance, app-gap, under-powered hardware or price) is missing the big picture!

    That RT has not taken off anywhere near what it should have is entirely due to [either?] disparate or concerted efforts by major portions of the wider computing industry; from the Tech Press to the OEM’s themselves. Consider:

    OEM’s: If RT takes off it will cut into their profit margins: no more shareware/trial software bundling! (Anti-virus, browser add-ons, etc, as these aren’t available [mostly] through the Windows 8 Store). Additionally if a substantial portion of the computer buying public want these hybrids most of them wouldn’t be able to compete as they are/were not geared up for the design and release of these devices (not to mention that they will no longer be able to bulk purchase certain parts cheaply from myriad vendors, and so on).

    Intel: Because they don’t make ARM chips/chipsets! Are not currently (or in the short-term future) geared to compete with ARM chips, and if Microsoft’s vision of RT took off the same way full Windows did then a substantial portion of their profits would be affected!

    Tech-Press: There is an innate hostility against Microsoft for myriad reasons; from issues stemming from their anti-competitive behaviour from over a decade ago, to their championing of Apple/Google platform hardware/software, to just plain inertia! It is now practically, as someone put it, a cottage industry to ‘hate’ on Microsoft! regardless of whatever it is they do, or how well they execute it!

    There is such a “bi-polar” disorder of reasoning against Microsoft and it’s products that it may well require a bank of Super Computers and an entire research team to fathom any way to get past it.

    • perfectalpha

      I see what you’re saying, but you need to be honest with yourself…these are excuses. If Microsoft is looking to be a leader in the game, they need to quit the BS and deliver an undeniably great flagship product at a price consumers will agree to pay for it. Obviously, the package of the Surface 2 with 32 GB (even with a free year of Skype calling and 200 GB of OneDrive for 2 years), did not get folks lined up to purchase.
      I don’t care how you spin it, the Surface 2 is a good product, but it is not an undeniably great product either. There is too much functionality missing from a modern OS, fewer accessories, significantly fewer apps/games, and hardware drawbacks.

      • Bugbog

        What I’m saying is, hardware & pricing aside, there was a concerted effort to discredit RT! When have you ever seen OEM’s do “one” and quit? (i.e. their efforts to promulgate RT!?). Ever?!!

        And all this raging against “no-apps” blah-blah-blah! Please show me any other company that has managed to build up over 200,000 apps in less than two year?!

        To quote the oft flogged phrase “Rome wasn’t built in a day!” Even the much vaunted Apple doesn’t have more than 30,000 apps in their Mac Store after over four years!

        If Microsoft were just resting on their heels I’d accept your critique of blind faith, however with their Universal apps API and the new Windows licensing, I doubt there are many other Humongous paradigm shifts they can perform to bolster support for the Windows/RT platform!?

        Yes everyone acknowledges that Surface RT was underpowered, but they did fix that with Surface 2. Sure Surface 2 is a tad on the expensive side (still not approaching Chrome Pixie level though), but Microsoft’s tablet/hybrid brand recognition and marketshare is still waay above that of their OEM’s given the disparity in organisational focus and expertise!

        So yes. They can always do better. But to say they haven’t done ‘a little’ well enough? Well, that’s just being negative.

        • Bugbog

          P.S. A large percentage of the accessories that you point out are ‘missing’ for the Surface line aren’t exactly missing!

          Consider: 95-99% of the accessories for the iPad are things meant to fill-in the missing functionality or inherent design flaws of the device itself;

          Tablet case: Surface doesn’t require one due to it’s Magnesium build and Gorilla Glass

          Tablet stand: Surface doesn’t require one with its built-in [one, two and 150 degree point] kickstand!

          Tablet keyboard: Surface comes with multi-coloured Touch/Type cover keyboards, with unique thinness, flexibility and light/sensors.

          Tablet adapters: Surface doesn’t require any (many?) with it’s built-in full USB 2/3 port and mini-HDMI (not to mention the Desktop hub for the Surface Pro line)

          Pen? Surface Pro comes with a Stylus (and is sold separately as a replacement part), and cheap stylii are readily available.

          What else is there?

          • perfectalpha

            I’d like to see legit stylus support for RT. I would like to see more keyboard options (namely a magnesium option, which folks would like to see on the pro version).
            To follow up from your last post, the Surface RT (gen 1) failed in an epic way because the hardware was about 1.5 years too late to the market. The iPad 2 was the equivalent in my opinion, and Apple was already on iPad 4 when gen 1 Surface came out.
            The Surface 2 closed the gap, but not enough. Microsoft has done some great things, but the Surface 2 isn’t the best consumption or productivity tablet on the market. I still ding Windows 8.1 for not having a notification center. It simply isn’t good enough to say it is a better product.
            Truth is this is Sinofsky’s fault. He set Microsoft back by three years with his ridiculousness. I understand they are undoing a lot of the madness that was created with Windows 8, but the bottom line is folks are having to live with it. I was hoping we would have been much further along by now.

          • Bugbog

            Whilst I’d be the last person to claim hat Microsoft was the quickest tech company in the industry, neither would I state that they are the slowest.

            This is one of the blinkered views (and do note I’m not accusing you of “hatin”) wherein the belief that Microsoft is ‘behind’ rules.

            In terms of functionality, practicality and design, Microsoft has done more in two years than Apple has done in five years!

            Consider, apart from weight and thinness, the essential iPad design hasn’t changed since its introduction, five iterations ago!

            Whilst the Surface, in two years (and three iterations), has already improve the quality of it’s Kickstand and Keyboardtwice!. It’s also changed its the screen size and ratio of it’s Pro line too.

            What has the iPad done? Well they will be putting the Touch-ID button on it later this year!

            You might say Microsoft is/has been late to entry. but at least they got the essential foundational basics right before plunging in! (Unlike others).
            So in terms of adaptability, functionality, scalability, integrability, etc they are well-placed to deal with any lacking features, which they are continually updating.

            So, again, rather than looking at the one or two items the iPad has, how about looking at the 100 items that it doesn’t have!

            (And yes, the Surface is nowhere near as popular as the iPad. But as long as Microsoft keeps at it, it IS successful in its own rights!)

          • perfectalpha

            You can argue Apple has taken the opposite approach almost…have software built out and then advance the OS once they have a better idea of what folks are using it for. iOS8 doesn’t look like it sets the world on fire, but if they add multi-window and the ability to reply to messages without having to leave an app…that is pretty powerful stuff and will allow folks to take care of 3 things at one time. That looks pretty good to me. Of course, we’ll see if Apple releases this unicorn.
            I don’t want you to think I am poo-pooing on RT, I just don’t feel like it was a fully realized vision (let’s be honest though, no OS is when it is released). When I can safely get rid of my PC, then the tablet OS’ have arrived. Until that happens, I will keep bitching about all of the OS. Especially Windows 8 because (even though it may not look like it) I am a HUGE Microsoft fan.

          • Bugbog

            As I said earlier, you have a very strong “other side” view.

            There has been no “build-out then advance” vision for IOS. In it’s first four iterations, maybe. But not since the iPad’s launch. Since then it’s just been station-keeping, with layer-after-layer of cruft being added on top. Sooner or later they are going to have to raze it down to rebuild. (But judging by their timidity over the last four+ years, they are just going to continue building upon the shaky platform).

            And once again, for some reason, you are pointing out features on IOS (which aren’t even really extant on the platform itself yet) as desirables that Windows either should have or must have?!

            - Reply to a message without leaving the screen? Technically you aren’t leaving the screen, but with a somewhat opaque overlay over it, you aren’t exactly doing anything on it either, are you?

            What else? Continuity! Receive or dial a number from your PC. And…?

            I shouldn’t need to tell you that Windows Phone/Windows 8 is already doing so much more, should I?!

            OneDrive integration
            Universal Apps
            Share Charm
            Bing/Cortana engine
            Azure back-end syncing: from individual apps to the whole O.S!

            Please, I get that Apple has finally enabled to “Continuity” features for it’s users between the iPhone, iPad and Mac, but it doesn’t hold a candle to what Microsoft currently has, much less what is already planning/developing on it’s roadmap!

          • perfectalpha

            I find it amazing you make these claims. I genuinely like that idea. It was one thing (when I was using Android devices once upon a time) that I genuinely enjoyed my SMS going to my tablet, so when at home I didn’t need to pull out my phone.
            Hell, if you asked me, “would you like to receive calls on your Xbox One from your phone?” my answer would be a resounding “YES!” Would I like text notifications? Yes I would.
            Here is the deal, you can think whatever you would like to think…OneDrive is great, Universal Apps are great, Share charm is great…all the things you mentioned are great.

            But they don’t matter if everything doesn’t work together man.
            I own an Xbox One, a 1k+ $ gaming PC, a Surface 2 and a Lumia 1520. Nothing wrong with any of that hardware, its all fine. They don’t function together as much as I would like them to. Sorry if you think I’m being naïve because I expect more. I think if the core functionalities were brought over on some, it would be nice.

            Trust me, I agree with you a million percent, it will be GREAT when Cortana is working on everything. It will be GREAT when there are a lot more apps that are universal. All that is great. Every OS is limited, but RT is behind in the software department. You can’t tell me apps aren’t important….it is added functionality. You know what one of my most used apps on the Surface 2 is? Remote Desktop because I need some of the functionality that the iPad has in app form. I am not saying I need complex desktop apps, nor do I even need 1 million apps either…but I want my products to work together when I am at home a bit better. Again, you can’t tell me I am wrong because it is how I feel when I have all these devices. They don’t work as they should, and another company is thinking of these things, and it pisses me off because they seem like things Microsoft could just turn the switch on for.

            P.S. I am not championing Macs, I think Mac’s are overpriced for what you get. If you want to use Apple’s services, that is great. The second you step into the productivity world, Mac’s get left in the dust and I don’t have time to be playing games or looking for solutions. The iPad Air is pretty slick. You can dismiss it all you want, but there is some pretty snazzy things you can do with it. Not saying the Surface 2 isn’t special in its own right, but you too easily dismiss the iPad and what you can do on it. The Surface 2 has its own benefits. When it comes to the software however, the real standout is desktop Office being included. I think once you get past documents however, the iPad is pretty capable for a mobile product.

          • VARUNGUPTA1992

            I don’t understand why are people crying for that stupid notification center (only thing Android bring new, lest some is all Samsung efforts to get new, later implemented on orignal android), when u have a live tiles, for the apps which you care a lot, pin it… Even notification center is a big mess, with large set of notifications. It is not a big deal..

          • perfectalpha

            I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want it? It find it VERY nice for prioritizing what notifications I need to get a look at and ones I can discard. One place, take care of everything, and done. I am not saying have notifications for nothing like Android does at times with some of these apps, but let me be able to organize everything better. I personally do not want to look at 7 different tiles for notifications.
            This is like folks saying, “I don’t know why you need a file system for iCloud?” So I can view the files in one centralized location. Sometimes, things just make sense. I strongly believe this is one of them, and nobody would complain about having it.

          • VARUNGUPTA1992

            Well… It may b of use for many (mostly on smartphones) but as my pc goes, I wont care for notifications more. On phone yeah.. And they have got one… In wp.. (whch also needs a bit of improvement)
            I need noti for messenger, WhatsApp, sms and missed calls.
            Tablet/PC is more work, play and productivity. I don’t have WhatsApp, sms and call in that, perhaps I don’t want it on tablet, I have phone for same.
            Lets c what kind of notifications can v have on tablet?

            1. Email notifications.. Live tiles works better.. In a day I get so many mails, it will already fill may notification pane. Or better say it will give a summary in case of android, what live tiles already give.

            2. Facebook notifications/ social updates
            Again somemany… Better open the app, and do a clean up .. I keep it off on phone, as it just cluters the shade.

            3. Games notifications

            May b ur list may add some more, but I guess this all what v c on most Android and iOS devices.
            Untill v get a good way to handle notifications… Something which android couldn’t do,in 5 years. Else its a mess and more equivalent of not having one.

            Again its my opinion…. Now I guess if at all MS implemens it.. It must be something better than iOS and Android counterparts.

          • http://leonidam.wordpress.com/ leoniDAM

            The live tiles are all in one place and you can organize them as you want

          • MoeHD7

            I used to think the same way just pin the tile and get notified no big deal. But after upgrading to WP 8.1 with a notification center I must admit its a huge improvement IMO. Having toggles for Bluetooth, rotation lock, is faster than tile shortcuts (hopefully they’ll make WiFi a toggle and not a shortcut as it is now) plus you can see notification from anywhere! No need to exit what you doing, unlock the phone( if setup that way) to look at the start screen. Plus now I can just keep apps I want on my start screen saving me start screen space. Instead of apps I don’t want to miss a notification for.

          • VARUNGUPTA1992

            It’s a boon to WP, but v r talking about Windows 8 (tablet/desktop OS) :)

          • MoeHD7

            Actually I thought we were talking about Windows RT here(as was I). I was just trying to say adding a notification center to WP (which shares a few similarities with RT) was an improvement to just tiles on the start screen. I don’t think one could argue a notification center on RT wouldn’t be an improvement. MS could even just add it to Windows 8 period and call it a day and just let it be enabled for users on touch devices kinda like how users can now close a metro app by clicking “X” if a mouse is present for non touch devices.

          • Vương Vi-Nhuyễn – 王微軟

            This is true, but putting a ”full featured” device on the market will make people think that ”it’s inferior” because it has ”less choice”, I’ve heard this ”logic” (being) used before.

          • http://leonidam.wordpress.com/ leoniDAM

            And Windows RT support an enormous amount of USB peripherals

          • NGM123

            True, but sadly not much else.

          • NGM123

            What else? Apps!
            Hear what your saying but the dearth of apps is an embarrassment and it doesn’t matter how good the product maybe, RT is seriously gimped by a disgraceful lack of apps making the RT good for typing on forums, emails and reading the news, and that sadly is about it.

      • Rikkirik

        It’s funny to see you bash Microsoft for its first generation tablet because it does not measure up to the third or even fourth generation tablet from rivals like Apple (IPad), Google (Nexus) or Samsung. Real fair of you (not really). But Surface offers a more complete package than Android or the IPad have ever offered.

        Argument 1. First generation products do have limitations compared to later generation product versions. I remember the first Nexus tablet I held in my hands, laggy as hell. Never would I touch a Nexus again. Apple’s own maps we’re desastrious, weren’t they, but are slowly getting better. The first IMac was also crap, such that Apple nearly went bankrupt. But let’s look at the facts. In one year Microsoft share of the US tablet market rose to 8%. That’s a nice achievement and tells us something about the adoption of the Surface tablet by consumers. Surface realised a revenue of nearly $2 billion in 2013, that shows strong growth. Apple global market share of tablets has dwindled down from more than 30% to 14% last year.

        Argument 2. Furthermore,whether Surface RT will be a succes (this is more likely when looking at the facts) or not, it does not really matter, because Microsoft is betting on 2 horses, Surface RT and Surface Pro. This strategy is a wise one. People who opt for a Pro hybrid, usually replace their tablet (mostly an IPad or Android tablet) and PC with a Surface Pro hybrid. Ipads or Android tablets do not offer you the convenience of being a two in one product. Surface mixes business and pleasure, Android tablets and Ipads cannot be used for both economically, effectively or efficiently. A lot of businesses and consumers are beginning to realise this.

        Argument 3.Microsoft is an Enterprise and business first company, meaning that developing a tablet will take much more time than developing a consumer oriented tablet (like say the IPad or a Nexus tablet). Security and integration (of Surface with Microsoft’s other software and hardware products: Office, printers, keyboard, Windows Azure for business, business applications, CRM software, Xbox etc) is taken into account when developing Surface and this takes time. Don’t forget that Surface RT and Pro we’re developed simultaniously and that there are more than 400 million business application that work with Surface Pro. If we look at these facts, we should ask ourselves what functionalities are Android and IPad tablets missing, a hole lot, so much so that Microsoft has to plug the most (important) of them on the IPad and Android tablet. Even Samsung is working with Microsoft when it comes to Azure, Security and Office. IPad uses Bing for example, Office etc.

        Argument 4. Ipads and Android tablets rely on a lot of third party or even inferior applications for their products to work properly, effectively and efficiently.
        With Windows Surface that is rarely the case, Surface is a complete product, they may miss some important consumer oriented apps, but that’s it.

        Argument 5. Microsoft, these past 2 years, has stepped up the development with Surface 2, Surface 2 Pro and Surface Pro 3. That’s a lot more developing than has happened with the IPad or the Nexus in the last 5 years.

        Argument 6. Affordable prices are a question of time. Why do you demand this when it comes to a Surface tablets while Apple has been overcharging comsumers for the IPad for years. But the Surface 2 is already a lot more cheaper than Surface 1 ($200 to $300 dollars compared to 499 for the Surface 1) and the Surface Pro 3 is also a lot cheaper than the Surface 2 Pro. But heck why should Microsoft strive to be as cheap as crap products like Google Chrome or as expensive as the IMac or IPad. Microsoft and market forces will decide what’s a reasonable pricing eventually.
        So stop wining about Microsoft and give them the credit they deserve.

        • Bugbog

          Well said.

          • LexicoRed

            Thank you Bugbog

        • LexicoRed

          Argument 1: it is fair to compare current products offerings to each other. Surface coming late should have been more refined rather then less.

          Argument 2: it goes to show even Microsoft is not committed to the product by hedging its bets with 2 Lines.

          Argument 3: You are correct and make a great argument that MS should stop wasting resources on a hardware strategy.

          Argument 4 : Your position is convoluted at best, myopic at worst

          Argument 5; to make excuses gor Surface being less refined product because of it being early generation then saying it seen more development ( trying to reach market leaders refinement) is counter logical.

          It is wrong to say Apple is over charging if the product sells. Customers will pay what they feel the product is worth. It only if they don’t can you infer the price is to high. This is basic economics.

    • Vương Vi-Nhuyễn – 王微軟

      This is true, Windows R.T. was loathed from the beginning, I remember being against it myself, I still can’t see it as anything positive mostly whenever I mention it people will say ”that’s VistaBob on steroids” or something in that direction, even the most hard-core Win8-fans and WinRT-fans still ”HATE” and ”loahte” and ”loathe” Windows R.T. due to the negativity that surrounds it, the same goes for Zune (Xbox Music + Xbox Video) and various other Microsoft products, the truth is that merging Windows R.T. with Windows Phone shall make it instantly more popular, many people felt the disappointment from bad marketing by O.E.M.’s and tech-stores to note that Windows R.T. can’t run Win32 applications…

      • Bugbog

        But see, there in lies the dichotomy against which Microsoft [ideas] constantly rail!; RT is Windows 8 O.S., but streamlined to run on ARM hardware, with instant on, and use only Modern apps from the Windows 8 Store. However just about every vested interest poisoned the well.

        No one complains when they purchase a laptop that they can’t play Crysis (or WoW) on full graphics settings, because they know/acknowledge/realise that it has limited hardware. How is that any different for Windows RT? That it is designed to run touch-first should be the first clue.

        The limited number of OEM’s that produced (one) RT tablet each, all the while complaining that RT was “confusing the customer” and wasn’t “full Windows” are now the very OEM’s that are trying to churn out Chrome laptops! Chrome, that barely has 50% of the functionality of Windows RT much less ‘full’ Windows itself!

        What possible use case scenario does Chrome cover that Windows RT fails at?

        Chrome doesn’t even win on pricing! (Although the ‘zero’ license for Windows only covers devices under 10″, this is waived, to a degree, if the device is sold for under $250).

        So anyone that has ever denigrated Windows RT but is now praising Chrome should officially consider themselves hypocrites!

    • TheSecondGunman

      Or maybe it just was a bad idea…no it couldn’t be that it had to be a vest multi party conspiracy against Microsoft.

      • Bugbog

        A bad idea to have Windows on ARM?

        That’s bad because….?

        • TheSecondGunman

          RT = Failure = Bad idea = MS Fault

          • Bugbog

            I see I need to tag the ‘handle’ of TheSecondGunman with LexicoRed.

            Adios.

  • Bob

    WRONG “Microsoft’s own WinRT Office application suite has still not been delivered either


    It launched with Office! Surface devices have always had full Office for free (including the real desktop Outlook).

  • tofferne

    RT will in the future be phone and tablet in one, MS will go away from all these different platforms, asap. I think it’s the reason they call it ONE in the future, we will discover major steps forward.
    And in the discussion about Microsoft, they have done a major job everywhere, think about first iPad and Samsun devices, and not forget all other. MS have done a much better job quicker.
    I agree, like with all other devices and companies, there is pace for more, but it’s actually also what we have seen they have done in the past 6 month, working hard and every day to do it better.
    And it’s great Nokia is away, they could only make old quality things, they was really a problem for MS. We are in 2014, no place for slow and old Nokia technology. What we need now from this side is less low end phone and some high end phones, and only one WP- OS, not these down scaled OS like in 520, 625. People need to know WP is a real WP. And kick out this new X / android sh!t.

    • big_Stefano

      The OS on lower end devices like the 520 haven’t been scaled down in any way. The “problem” itself is with the device since it only features 512mb RAM, but having used a 520 for a month, and I now own a Lumia 1020, I can say that the 520 is no slouch and the OS on that hasn’t been scaled down at all. If you want, you can even download the Developer Preview and install on these low end devices just for you to see that the OS is the same across the board.

      • tofferne

        OS on my 625 is down scaled, absolutely not the same like my 920 and 1520 in WP 8. They need to make devices WHO is simular and having power enough to manage the day.
        It’s very bad marketing with all these low end devices. When people open a new phone, it needs to be the same everywhere, and a full WP – OS – they don’t need to install the half OS or other things later.
        They only need one low end and one high end phone, and so they can make specialized top models like 1020 and 1520.
        This way people can understand what device to choose, and the retailer cant avoid to have all. I most of the world retailers only sell 520, 625 and other low end phones, it’s always difficult to go and buy the high end phones in Europe where I live.
        By the way, I love my 1520, amazing phone.

  • tirinti

    I don’t think so.
    Before Intel released Bay Trail there was a place for ARM Windows, but because of late start and lack of applications, the first Surface RT should be sold with big discount just to make the platform popular. Microsoft should make WinRT free for all OEM from the start.
    The chose of another Tegra for Surface 2 was another mistake, because Snapdragons are better and would be more compatible with WP8.
    But now Microsoft should release something with Atom in both 8″ and 10″ sizes.