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Microsoft Surface May Be Only Windows RT Left in Market

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  • Windows RT
  • Tablets
  • Microsoft
Last response: in News comments
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September 27, 2013 12:27:14 PM

That and the Nokia tablet being released soon. Its no surprise really, although Windows RT can probably do a lot more than most tablets, if you want a windows tablet you would want one that can run all your programs and not just the extremely limited app store on Windows RT, I'm on the lookout for a Windows 8 tablet that is capable of playing some of my old steam games. Intel graphics is probably capable of some of them, although I'd prefer an AMD if possible
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September 27, 2013 12:33:05 PM

Hey Microsoft, let windows rt join a domain and see it fly off the shelves for schools looking for a cheaper alternative to ipads and other laptops.
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September 27, 2013 12:38:13 PM

They need to get into the 7inch domain I think before they will do well. The 7 inch android tablets are doing quite well, because of size and price. If Win8 could get a well equipped RT for under 300 I think they would sell more. Currently you are looking at over $400 to get in with the keyboard (which is an awesome feature) and that is a bit more than people want to bite off.
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September 27, 2013 12:40:11 PM

the1kingbob said:
They need to get into the 7inch domain I think before they will do well. The 7 inch android tablets are doing quite well, because of size and price. If Win8 could get a well equipped RT for under 300 I think they would sell more. Currently you are looking at over $400 to get in with the keyboard (which is an awesome feature) and that is a bit more than people want to bite off.


Microsoft gave schools (K-12) a discount down to $199 a unit, the only reason my schools isn't getting them, is that they cant join our domain.
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September 27, 2013 12:42:57 PM

will1220 said:
Hey Microsoft, let windows rt join a domain and see it fly off the shelves for schools looking for a cheaper alternative to ipads and other laptops.


I agree, had they not locked Windows and allowed full Windows 8 to be installed on the Surface and priced it below what a basic 16GB iPad Mini runs for, this thing would be FLYING off the shelves. The hardware on the Surface RT is great, way better than Apple A5 / A7, but the lack of the ability to run x86 programs hurts the device and its' potential use in an IT environment.
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September 27, 2013 12:49:18 PM

G-unit... Are you sure about the full Windows 8 thing? To be more specific, is Windows 8 more hardware intensive than Windows RT? Because, I'm actually typing this from my Surface RT and I find the RT's hardware to be sufficient for what it does, but none too much. You still have a bit of delay loading apps, you still get a bit of lag loading up web pages. I do not get the feeling the RT's hardware would run a more demanding OS well.

Besides that, wouldn't a Tegra 3 be outright unable to run x86 applications, and isn't that exactly what the Surface RT has?
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September 27, 2013 1:12:34 PM

I think g-unit meant replace the ARM chips with something like Intel's Bay Trail or AMD's Temash for x86 support.

That's a big problem with RT, it really isn't much more optimized than full Win 8 which is why it is sluggish on ARM chips. If it were more optimized, and took up a lot less disk space, this article might not exist.

What they need to do is merge RT with Windows phone (much more optimized for ARM) and have it on tablets 8" and under and then full Windows 8 on everything above.

This would likely eliminate the desktop, but does anyone really need the desktop on an 8" tablet?
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September 27, 2013 1:23:11 PM

stevejnb said:
G-unit... Are you sure about the full Windows 8 thing? To be more specific, is Windows 8 more hardware intensive than Windows RT? Because, I'm actually typing this from my Surface RT and I find the RT's hardware to be sufficient for what it does, but none too much. You still have a bit of delay loading apps, you still get a bit of lag loading up web pages. I do not get the feeling the RT's hardware would run a more demanding OS well.

Besides that, wouldn't a Tegra 3 be outright unable to run x86 applications, and isn't that exactly what the Surface RT has?


While as a moderator I can't really mention the process (but you know, *wink wink*) I've seen people find ways around the limits of the RT operating system and be able to run x86 applications on the device. It's not a question of whether the hardware is capable of running full Windows. The hardware is certainly capable of running programs like iTunes and Firefox, any audio applications, hardware drivers, DVD players, things of that nature. It's a question of why did they lock the operating system? Judging from the reviews and articles I've read, and my personal experience with the device, the answer seems to say it was just a lazy decision on behalf of Microsoft's marketing department.

Quote:

That's a big problem with RT, it really isn't much more optimized than full Win 8 which is why it is sluggish on ARM chips. If it were more optimized, and took up a lot less disk space, this article might not exist.


That's another problem I have with RT is that it really is a full version of Windows without the ability to run x86 applications. I'm sure that's more the fault of Microsoft's marketing department than the developers of the device. Theoretically it is entirely possible to build a tablet with the hardware of the Surface and a full version of Windows and still use Tegra 3. You would probably just have to switch the ARM processor for an Intel Atom or another low powered chip. You could also run a far more basic version of Windows that takes up less room - just remove about 1/2 the bloatware that comes with it.
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September 27, 2013 1:29:29 PM

Thanks JD and G, both interesting and informative. I'd assumed that RT, while a disk space hog, would have been optimized to run a little more lightly than a complete version of Windows Pro.

And G... I may take a look around and find a non-mod who is familiar with these dark arts you speak of.
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September 27, 2013 1:54:54 PM

Ironically, this may be a good thing for Microsoft. If it doesn't have OEM partners, it doesn't need to worry about them, which means it can make bolder steps, price it more competitively.
And you can tell - it's now cheaper and offers much better value than the first version.
But I can't see who would be interested in the Surface RT, other than people who just like to try every new piece of technology outhere.

I guess with Office and a keyboard, maybe some businesses would pick it up? not sure.

It's a good product, but just not compelling enough at this price point.
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September 27, 2013 2:12:14 PM

G-unit, I'm not sure it's as simple as you described. x86 apps simply can't run on ARM without being recompiled... I don't think it's something MS could have fixed.
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September 27, 2013 2:36:22 PM

This just in: Various world governments sue Microsoft for having a monopoly on their WinRT platform, hardware, services, and app store. Apple hides behind corner and snickers.
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September 27, 2013 2:36:44 PM

*sigh* doubble post, sorry
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September 27, 2013 2:42:44 PM

godfather666 said:
G-unit, I'm not sure it's as simple as you described. x86 apps simply can't run on ARM without being recompiled... I don't think it's something MS could have fixed.


You can absolutely run x86 on ARM hardware... it is just via emulation which is just a bit slow and painful. Not going to be playing AAA x86 video games on an ARM box, but you can run a bunch of different office programs with minimal issue. Ubuntu OS takes it a bit further running windows applications through WINE to get it run run on Linux, and then via x86 emulation. I have not seen it in person, but it has shown up in a few videos they put out last year. I imagine it runs pretty slow, but it really opens up a lot of potential.
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September 27, 2013 2:46:57 PM

agree on the smaller form factor. and I am VERY in favor of putting x86 to pasture and with arm now having x64 it should be possible, more competition is good and nwo we have intel amd and... well via harly counts at this point until somebody take over but thier lic can't be soel so they are kinda boned anyway. but a switch to arm/x64 would allow other chip makers to compete
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September 27, 2013 2:47:40 PM

will1220 said:
the1kingbob said:
They need to get into the 7inch domain I think before they will do well. The 7 inch android tablets are doing quite well, because of size and price. If Win8 could get a well equipped RT for under 300 I think they would sell more. Currently you are looking at over $400 to get in with the keyboard (which is an awesome feature) and that is a bit more than people want to bite off.


Microsoft gave schools (K-12) a discount down to $199 a unit, the only reason my schools isn't getting them, is that they cant join our domain.


Which is crazy considering all of the iPads that find their way into schools... those things are such a PITA to get to work with domain resources! Still, you would think that the ability to add to a domain would be a huge priority for the release of RT 8.1 for the Surface 2 because it would instantly become the defacto device for use in schools... but noooo. MS has so much potential, but 0 ability to follow through with a complete thought or coherent product!
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September 27, 2013 2:52:20 PM

g-unit1111 said:
I agree, had they not locked Windows and allowed full Windows 8 to be installed on the Surface and priced it below what a basic 16GB iPad Mini runs for, this thing would be FLYING off the shelves. The hardware on the Surface RT is great, way better than Apple A5 / A7, but the lack of the ability to run x86 programs hurts the device and its' potential use in an IT environment.

I'm not sure how you plan to run x86 on an ARM architecture without some type of emulation layer. And then you have to deal with compatibility problems when programs start calling functions that have no direct translation between Win32 and RT. Even recompiling doesn't help if the proper libraries and system functions aren't available on RT/ARM.

The only solution at that point is to have a full x86 architecture on the tablet from the get-go. A full x86 chip, OS, and trimmings on that small a form-factor and all under $500 is pretty hard to pull off. Maybe with Silvermont you can pull it off, and if they do I'd be first in line to buy one.
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September 27, 2013 3:10:12 PM

g00fysmiley said:
agree on the smaller form factor. and I am VERY in favor of putting x86 to pasture and with arm now having x64 it should be possible, more competition is good and nwo we have intel amd and... well via harly counts at this point until somebody take over but thier lic can't be soel so they are kinda boned anyway. but a switch to arm/x64 would allow other chip makers to compete


1) ARM has never been efficient, just low power. ARM has gained in popularity because it is cheap technology to lease and manufacture, and the minimum power requirements have been low enough to get OK performance from portable devices. But minimum power usage just means low power usage, not efficiency. Efficiency is how much a processor can do with a given amount of power, and in that x86 reigns supreme and alone. With x86 processors coming out next year that will have comperable minimum power requirements I think we will see a surge of x86 phones and tablets flooding the market in 2015 and ARM will start to die down a bit.

2) The only company in the ARM community that can compete with Intel on R&D is Apple, and they will not lease their secret sauce to anyone, because they are apple and they never do. So in the future we will see Apple phones, tablets, desktops, and servers with ARM chips in them, and maybe a few other players like Samsung holding on to ARM simply because of the sheer amount of investment they have put in the platform over the years, but then just about everyone else will be running AMD or Intel x86 processors in everything.

Thankfully I think that Apple will be big enough to keep Intel in check with threats that they could start selling their chips to other device manufacturers, and Intel will always make sure that AMD does not go away so that Intel is not viewed as a monopoly. But I don't think that ARM in general will retain it's mobile dominance unless they somehow can compete with what Intel has coming down their pipeline.
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September 27, 2013 3:33:52 PM

CaedenV said:


1) ARM has never been efficient, just low power. ARM has gained in popularity because it is cheap technology to lease and manufacture, and the minimum power requirements have been low enough to get OK performance from portable devices. But minimum power usage just means low power usage, not efficiency. Efficiency is how much a processor can do with a given amount of power, and in that x86 reigns supreme and alone. With x86 processors coming out next year that will have comperable minimum power requirements I think we will see a surge of x86 phones and tablets flooding the market in 2015 and ARM will start to die down a bit.

2) The only company in the ARM community that can compete with Intel on R&D is Apple, and they will not lease their secret sauce to anyone, because they are apple and they never do. So in the future we will see Apple phones, tablets, desktops, and servers with ARM chips in them, and maybe a few other players like Samsung holding on to ARM simply because of the sheer amount of investment they have put in the platform over the years, but then just about everyone else will be running AMD or Intel x86 processors in everything.

Thankfully I think that Apple will be big enough to keep Intel in check with threats that they could start selling their chips to other device manufacturers, and Intel will always make sure that AMD does not go away so that Intel is not viewed as a monopoly. But I don't think that ARM in general will retain it's mobile dominance unless they somehow can compete with what Intel has coming down their pipeline.


Agreed. The only reason ARM is still slightly ahead in the extreme mobility game is because the trend toward power efficiency caught Intel with their pants down. Intel is just so far ahead of everyone else in terms of R&D capabilities and process that it's laughable. Look at how far they've come in such a short time. Bay Trail is already on par with the latest ARM tablet chips in terms of power consumption and crushes them in performance. It's only a matter of time before the same thing happens with phones.

However, from a price standpoint there will always be a need for cheap ARM chips in Low to mid range devices so Intel won't have a total monopoly again, just over the high end.
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September 27, 2013 4:22:37 PM

It still absolutely baffles me that people have so many issues with Microsoft releasing a version of their OS that can't run desktop applications, when that is the EXACT same thing that Apple and Google are doing.
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September 27, 2013 4:27:27 PM

It still absolutely baffles me that people have so many issues with Microsoft releasing a version of their OS that can't run desktop applications, when that is the EXACT same thing that Apple and Google are doing.
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September 27, 2013 4:38:01 PM

Blake, you're missing a few things.

It's not that Windows RT doesn't run desktop apps.

What does matter is that it's poorly optimized for low power CPUs when compared to Android, IOS, and even some versions of Linux. It takes up 20+ GB of disk space vs 2-3 GB for the others mentioned.

Windows RT is simply Windows 8 ported to run on ARM chips. Microsoft needs a true tablet OS without all of the bulk that goes with Win 8 to be successful.

Win RT has all of the drawbacks of Win 8 with no upside because the same battery life and better performance can be had from Intel and AMD chips. Absolutely none. That's why no one other than Microsoft is making devices using it.

Why is MS doing this? Simple. They want a more closed ecosystem to generate app store revenue.

The one OS to rule them all idea doesn't work. That's why Google and Apple both have a separate OS designed to be used with a mouse and keyboard.

Also, it's why Samsung and others are developing (gasp) windowed mode for Android apps to be used on their bigger Android tablets.

It's like we're actually moving backwards where Microsoft is trying to put a full screen tablet OS on the desktop while Samsung and others are tying to put Windowed apps on phones and tablets.


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September 27, 2013 5:27:38 PM

stevejnb said:
Thanks JD and G, both interesting and informative. I'd assumed that RT, while a disk space hog, would have been optimized to run a little more lightly than a complete version of Windows Pro.

And G... I may take a look around and find a non-mod who is familiar with these dark arts you speak of.


Don't even need to do that, I found most of this info through a quick Google search *wink wink*.

Quote:

G-unit, I'm not sure it's as simple as you described. x86 apps simply can't run on ARM without being recompiled... I don't think it's something MS could have fixed.


There was a *COUGH* method that I saw one programmer was able to work around ARM limitations with a few .ini files recompiled and lots of free time. Just do a Google search for it. Again I can't really say the exact method being used without violating board rules nor can I really link to said article, but it's out there on Google.
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September 27, 2013 5:35:36 PM

g-unit1111 said:
stevejnb said:
Thanks JD and G, both interesting and informative. I'd assumed that RT, while a disk space hog, would have been optimized to run a little more lightly than a complete version of Windows Pro.

And G... I may take a look around and find a non-mod who is familiar with these dark arts you speak of.


Don't even need to do that, I found most of this info through a quick Google search *wink wink*.

Quote:

G-unit, I'm not sure it's as simple as you described. x86 apps simply can't run on ARM without being recompiled... I don't think it's something MS could have fixed.


There was a *COUGH* method that I saw one programmer was able to work around ARM limitations with a few .ini files recompiled and lots of free time. Just do a Google search for it. Again I can't really say the exact method being used without violating board rules nor can I really link to said article, but it's out there on Google.


Wait, but, what if we use Bing? *snicker*
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September 28, 2013 12:27:46 AM

this is what happens when you try to kill 'right mouse click'. :lol: 

really, ms builds this p.o.s. for profit instead of sales. they even dropped RT from the device name to scam users into buying it. they don't lower o.s. price to be competitive with the likes of google and apple. then there's storage capacity scam, office rt bundling scam. might as well call it the skimmer or surface SC instead of surface.

MS should learn from the nearly billion dollar middle finger it's been shown.
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September 28, 2013 12:47:35 AM

JD88 said:
I think g-unit meant replace the ARM chips with something like Intel's Bay Trail or AMD's Temash for x86 support.

That's a big problem with RT, it really isn't much more optimized than full Win 8 which is why it is sluggish on ARM chips. If it were more optimized, and took up a lot less disk space, this article might not exist.

What they need to do is merge RT with Windows phone (much more optimized for ARM) and have it on tablets 8" and under and then full Windows 8 on everything above.

This would likely eliminate the desktop, but does anyone really need the desktop on an 8" tablet?


The problem is without desktop, there will not be any killer applications on RT. Because not even Office runs in Metro mode.
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September 28, 2013 1:00:35 AM

CaedenV said:
godfather666 said:
G-unit, I'm not sure it's as simple as you described. x86 apps simply can't run on ARM without being recompiled... I don't think it's something MS could have fixed.


You can absolutely run x86 on ARM hardware... it is just via emulation which is just a bit slow and painful. Not going to be playing AAA x86 video games on an ARM box, but you can run a bunch of different office programs with minimal issue. Ubuntu OS takes it a bit further running windows applications through WINE to get it run run on Linux, and then via x86 emulation. I have not seen it in person, but it has shown up in a few videos they put out last year. I imagine it runs pretty slow, but it really opens up a lot of potential.


Running x86 via any kind of emulation on a slow chip such as Tegra3 will wield very subpar experiences. A much better choice would have been to release an Atom based model. Virtual machines for x86 also exist on Android platform, but few people use it due to it being too slow.
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September 28, 2013 3:37:30 AM

RedJaron said:
g-unit1111 said:
I agree, had they not locked Windows and allowed full Windows 8 to be installed on the Surface and priced it below what a basic 16GB iPad Mini runs for, this thing would be FLYING off the shelves. The hardware on the Surface RT is great, way better than Apple A5 / A7, but the lack of the ability to run x86 programs hurts the device and its' potential use in an IT environment.

I'm not sure how you plan to run x86 on an ARM architecture without some type of emulation layer. And then you have to deal with compatibility problems when programs start calling functions that have no direct translation between Win32 and RT. Even recompiling doesn't help if the proper libraries and system functions aren't available on RT/ARM.

The only solution at that point is to have a full x86 architecture on the tablet from the get-go. A full x86 chip, OS, and trimmings on that small a form-factor and all under $500 is pretty hard to pull off. Maybe with Silvermont you can pull it off, and if they do I'd be first in line to buy one.


It already exists. For example, HP envy X2.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2417564,00.asp

Or Asus:

http://www.amazon.com/VivoTab-Smart-ME400C-C1-BK-10-1-I...

There will be more soon, no doubt.


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September 28, 2013 4:44:03 AM

"It still absolutely baffles me that people have so many issues with Microsoft releasing a version of their OS that can't run desktop applications, when that is the EXACT same thing that Apple and Google are doing."

Exactly.... It's almost as if they just want something to moan about
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September 28, 2013 12:19:48 PM

News Flash! -- Apple is the only manufacturer of the iPad!
What a dumb (and over-used) headline for this article.

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September 28, 2013 1:57:19 PM

damianrobertjones said:
"It still absolutely baffles me that people have so many issues with Microsoft releasing a version of their OS that can't run desktop applications, when that is the EXACT same thing that Apple and Google are doing."

Exactly.... It's almost as if they just want something to moan about


Big difference between Andorid and Windows RT - Windows RT has the exact Windows desktop interface that Windows 8 has. Android is a dedicated mobile platform. Android does not have the Windows desktop interface. If they had taken out the Windows desktop and had it used Windows 8 Metro it would be much different.
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September 30, 2013 3:05:14 AM

Wow, my comment was removed. Is this site M$ biased? Truth hurts is't it, M$ dogs?)
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September 30, 2013 1:30:33 PM

@Keiran Warden:
My current Surface Pro with just the Intel graphics can play Marvel Heroes and WoW just fine. Unless you mean old steam games like Crysis 2, or Call of Duty, the current Surface Pro 2 which is supposed to be 75% graphically faster should be sufficient. Though, gaming on a 10.6 inch screen sucks.
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