dalens phone was lost/stolen last night so now hes struggling with my first gen windows RT tablet that was never fit for public sale or use
The Windows RT Demo

Watch the video at the bottom of the post. Just look at The Verge’s Ross Miller try to use that thing. Now imagine a normal, everyday consumer using it. Yes, this is the *final* build of Windows RT.

I’m believing more and more that we’re watching a total fucking nightmare for Microsoft unfold before our eyes.

Why all the hate around Surface RT and Windows RT?

Seems every day I read some industry analyst saying how bad Windows RT is, how much of a failure it is, how unrecoverable the product line is.   And my main question is… Why?  I know technology analysts get paid to really just be hyperbolic about companies to generate page clicks.    Today Microsoft is the whipping boy, and the focus has been RT lately.   It was a bad launch, and awful commercials.  But the hardware and the software are on-point.

I’ve been using a RT for months now (I have  Surface Pro, and 2 RTs),  my wife has even given up her Lenovo T520 laptop for a Surface RT for daily use as well.   For something light, small, and dynamic in what it can do, this thing blows away an iPad I had(and sold), is more portable and easy to carry than my Samsung Slate I had(sold), and is a perfect companion to my PC and Surface Pro. 

I’ve been using the RT daily when I am around the house or when I travel to the RC track to keep up to date with work, bring up OneNote to work on notes and setup sheets I need, bring up Excel spread sheets, update Power Point decks, work in Outlook.

One of the primary misconceptions is how “weak” the app store is.  I’ve found Windows 8 “Metro” Apps to do everything I ever wanted to do on the tablet.   “Metro” IE plays Flash websites just fine (something Apple cant do still), and the ability to work with any kind of data makes things just so simple.

With the Windows 8.1 update, I find these tablets to be the ultimate windows devices.   My surface pro is pretty much something I only use when I want to use a legacy piece of software like some old Garmin mapping tool, or play a PC game.   

I am wondering if the Surface RT will be “Betamax"ed.  A clearly superior product, tanked by improper marketing, and talking heads not understanding and not wanting differ from the "bash MS” party going on right now.

For the pricing the RT is going for these days… if I didn’t have 2, I’d buy another!

Fix Windows RT?

Windows RT hits a new low: just $300 for Dell’s XPS 10 convertible | The Verge

Microsoft’s Surface notwithstanding, Windows RT hasn’t yet been the success that Microsoft has hoped. Samsung seems to be distancing itself from the operating system, and many PC manufacturers have yet to bite at all. However, Dell has publicly committed to the OS, and this week it’s making Windows RT more accessible than ever before: it’s cutting the price of the Dell XPS 10 tablet to just $299

Today’s version of Windows RT and its accompanying devices are because of obvious reasons not flying off the shelves. Who are they for and why? What and what not are they capable of? What are they in relation to “full” Windows 8 devices? Why are they better than competing iOS and Android products? It’s all very unclear. RT may not seem to be worth saving but MS need a strong product in the ARM universe. And what if Windows RT was done right? What if the underlying idea with Windows RT isn’t totally bad, and would it really take very much to make Windows RT a much more attractive proposition? The original Surface RT was announced in June 2012 and a huge corporation such as Microsoft should be able to address all of the below points for the next iteration:

  • Faster next-gen ARM based hardware.

  • Better multiple windows/app management for increased productivity. The same goes for Windows 8 of course.

  • Include a super clean new native Modern UI styled Office suite instead of today’s bundled desktop styled version, which is only available in the quasi Windows RT desktop mode. If MS want other companies to build high quality Modern UI/Windows 8 apps, the company should of course lead the way.

  • Make RT devices Modern UI only and skip the old desktop mode entirely. Windows RT doesn’t support third party legacy apps anyway and the desktop mode makes the product unnecessary confusing.

  • Until hardware and software catches up and prices are lower, I believe MS can wait with retina screens for another year or so. But 1080p instead of 720p should  be a done deal. At least for the more premium offerings.

If addressed, these points would enable modern, fast, slim and affordable Windows RT machines with great battery lives. Products that can stand up against Windows 8 devices as well as iOS and Android tablets. To only use the Modern UI would make the user experience more cohesive and increase the differentiation from “full” Windows 8. A few hit Windows RT devices would also spur development of quality Windows 8/Modern UI apps, which would benefit both Windows RT and Windows 8.
Compromising On "No Compromises"

Tom Warren on Office 2013 RT for Windows RT (which sounds as ridiculous as “C++ for You++”):

To optimize for Windows RT, Microsoft has made the decision to remove a number of features from its Office 2013 RT release to ensure battery life and reliability are not impacted on tablet devices.

Windows chief Steven Sinofsky, a year ago talking about designing for Metro (a codename all along, we swear):

Our design goal was clear: no compromises.

He’s technically making the argument as to why Microsoft decided to include the don’t-call-it-Metro component alongside the more traditional desktop component in Windows 8. But isn’t it a little odd that Microsoft is so adamant about “no compromises” (he goes on to say it four more times, with exclamation marks!) and yet, with WIndows RT, it seems to be all about compromises? 

For good measure, Sinofsky further down:

Windows 8 brings together all the power and flexibility you have in your PC today with the ability to immerse yourself in a Metro style experience. You don’t have to compromise!

Right. Unless you buy a Surface or any of the other ARM-based tablets. Then you will have to compromise!

I continue to believe this is going to be a giant mindfuck of confusion for consumers.

Revisiting the Surface RT

Has the 8.1 update made any difference?

Let us deal with the Elephant in the room, yes I am referring to the much ridiculed Windows RT.  Windows RT is hated by the press, tech enthusiasts and lots of other people who haven’t actually used it. It certainly doesn’t help that Microsoft had to take an embarrassing 900 million dollar write down based a price adjustment in an effort to move unsold RT devices. It doesn’t help matters further that every other OEM have abandoned the fledging OS in favor of full Windows 8 powered by Intel’s low voltage atom chip.

Despite all this, I firmly believe in the Windows on ARM strategy but not necessarily in the way Microsoft and OEMs were pricing their RT devices. Look at Chrome OS – a simple lightweight OS that really is just a browser with limited native app support, no compatibility with any major x86 apps like iTunes or Spotify. These are the very same limiting factors of Windows RT yet for some strange reason Tech reviewers seem to love Chromebooks and forgive the Chrome OS shortcomings simply because Chromebooks are cheap.

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