Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Rumor: Microsoft To Yank Desktop From Windows RT, Metro All The Way

By - Source: Myce | B 29 comments

Even as the Windows 9 "Threshold" debut appears imminent, Microsoft is reportedly seriously altering Windows RT as well, by removing the Desktop environment from the OS. That would leave the Metro interface as the only means of interacting with Windows RT devices, thus effectively rendering them touch-only (or at least touch-primary) tablets.

On the one hand, this is a smart move that Microsoft should have made long ago. Having two environments in Windows 8/8.1 was confusing enough for users on PCs and notebooks, but it was awful on Windows RT tablets -- even devices that docked into dedicated keyboards such as the Dell XPS 10 (pictured). In that sense, going all-Metro is a no-brainer.

On the other hand, killing the Desktop side is a weak and futile attempt to save Windows RT. As strictly a tablet, Windows RT was a virtual rounding error in terms of market share when compared to Android and iOS. The relative unpopularity of Windows 8 among end users (which trickled down to Windows RT) combined with a woefully unpopulated app store doomed these devices, and to make matters worse, the ARM-based tablets couldn't run any legacy Windows applications.

The saving grace was that Windows RT included the Desktop environment, which came with several free Office applications. You could pair or dock a Windows RT tablet with a keyboard, and suddenly you had a budget laptop and access to Word, Excel and more. Without that functionality, what value does Windows RT bring to any consumer?

Windows RT has become an albatross for Microsoft, and we suppose Microsoft should get some credit for going down swinging. Really, Redmond doesn't have much to lose by radically changing a terrible product.

It's a bit unclear from the report, but it appears that Microsoft isn't going to roll out a drastic update that will affect current Windows RT users but will instead actually push out new devices sporting the revised Windows RT. (Whether this new version turns out to be "Windows RT 9" remains to be seen.)

Whatever Microsoft is doing with Windows RT on mobile devices, though, it begs the question of why the company isn't simply leveraging Windows Phone instead.

Follow Seth Colaner @SethColaner. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

Discuss
Add your comment Display all 29 comments.
Top Comments
  • 12 Hide
    therealduckofdeath , August 22, 2014 1:11 PM
    Makes sense considering it's not compatible with desktop apps anyway.
Other Comments
  • 12 Hide
    therealduckofdeath , August 22, 2014 1:11 PM
    Makes sense considering it's not compatible with desktop apps anyway.
  • 0 Hide
    Lutfij , August 22, 2014 1:31 PM
    For ease of access and maneuverability the metro interface is meant to be handled with a touch screen and thus would be rendered useless if you used them in keyboard environment, ie as a tablet. Smart move and perhaps this would mean developers at Microsoft can allocate more effort in places where it is needed...? No?
  • 1 Hide
    red77star , August 22, 2014 2:21 PM
    Problem is that Metro doesn't bring anything as well in fact platform completely sucks.
    So from what i gathered Microsoft will combine Windows RT and Windows Phone under one umbrella called Windows Phone which means combined market share of <2.5% in other words a joke. I wonder what Microsoft is going to do with Surface Pro? A device itself is expensive and again it fails to be a good tablet or a good laptop?
    I have to say that Windows Phone name makes no sense because it has nothing to do with Phone. This is a great chance for Microsoft to rename Windows Phone OS to something else, also a great chance for Microsoft to gtfo Metro from Desktop Windows. Reality they won't do any of that again bottom line Windows 9 Eco System will be another flop. One of the reasons is decision by Microsoft to push Metro within Desktop, useless float Metro Apps. WTF are they thinking? Windows 8 failure wasn't just because of lack of Start Menu but whole Metro environment being on Desktop.
  • 1 Hide
    red77star , August 22, 2014 2:22 PM
    When i said I have to say that Windows Phone name makes no sense because it has nothing to do with Phone, i meant it has nothing to do with the concept of Windows.
  • 3 Hide
    warezme , August 22, 2014 2:37 PM
    Windows RT to me seemed more like a proof of concept someone decided to make commercial. I mean look, how cool would it be if we could create a Windows OS compiled to work on an ARM (phone) processor. Cool, let's do it, and we could make an apps store to build on this OS. Neat concept but they may have done to good of a job with the OS since it pretty much looked and behaved very much like Windows x86 native OS and people not understanding the difference between an X86 compiled OS and an ARM compiled OS couldn't tell the difference and wanted to run all their windows programs on the RT device. Plus it was cheaper so it was assumed to be a better deal. Wrong.
  • 8 Hide
    southernshark , August 22, 2014 2:49 PM
    Quote:
    I wonder what Microsoft is going to do with Surface Pro? A device itself is expensive and again it fails to be a good tablet or a good laptop?.


    The Surface Pro is a good laptop and decent tablet. I have no idea what your impression of it is, but it is totally off base.

    For professional people who have to move around a lot, make presentations etc... it is great. For someone who either sits in their living room all day checking face book, obviously there are better options....
  • 0 Hide
    kickmeinthenuts , August 22, 2014 2:53 PM
    "Whatever Microsoft is doing with Windows RT on mobile devices, though, it begs the question of why the company isn't simply leveraging Windows Phone instead."

    No, it does not. You don't know what "begging the question" means. It does not mean "to raise the question". You have the internet, please look it up.
  • 4 Hide
    Blazer1985 , August 22, 2014 3:47 PM
    Bought a surface rt for my parents and I find it way more usable than an ipad for web browsing - office editing. Instead of relying only on apps you can easily move and open files from the desktop interface. The full size usb allows you to connect anything from a mouse to a hub or a printer and just use it. The mini display port allows you to connect a bigger screen and the touch cover is good enough for light typing. Now we all know that windows rt was a flop... But I, personally, can't see why :-D
    Unless tablets are only used for slinging birds or making them fly... In that case rt sucked having fewer games and apps.
  • 1 Hide
    edwd2 , August 22, 2014 5:19 PM
    pathetic. you can buy a Windows 8 tablet with better specs at the same price point of the Surface2, unless the RT devices go cheaper than $150-250 chromebooks and android devices, no one is going to buy it. M$ seriously needs to redesign their ugly, poorly customizable metro UI.
  • 1 Hide
    alextheblue , August 22, 2014 5:28 PM
    "The saving grace was that Windows RT included the Desktop environment, which came with several free Office applications. You could pair or dock a Windows RT tablet with a keyboard, and suddenly you had a budget laptop and access to Word, Excel and more. Without that functionality, what value does Windows RT bring to any consumer?"

    Excuse me, Mr. Colaner... what's your opinion on Microsoft's upcoming Office "Gemini"? What's that, you've never heard of it? :p 
  • 4 Hide
    Zeroplanetz , August 22, 2014 6:14 PM
    Damn it all to hell. I use desktop side all the time on my surface rt. I use it to download files and transfer them to a USB for clean file moves if I need. Not only that but I use word with the keyboard as well. If it does change I won't be updating my tablet anymore.
  • 4 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , August 22, 2014 6:32 PM
    Windows RT isn't needed, Intel made mobile x86 chips already. Throw out this garbage and use normal Windows on all devices, MS, don't waste your time and resources.
  • 1 Hide
    Solandri , August 22, 2014 11:08 PM
    Quote:
    Windows RT to me seemed more like a proof of concept someone decided to make commercial. I mean look, how cool would it be if we could create a Windows OS compiled to work on an ARM (phone) processor. Cool, let's do it, and we could make an apps store to build on this OS.

    Close. Windows RT was Microsoft hedging their bets. You have to remember that about the time it came out, people weren't sure how far ARM was going to go. ARM processors already dominated tablets and phones. Would it spread to convertibles and eventually laptops and desktops too? Would Intel improve Atom and x86 enough to stave it off? Could they make inroads into the tablet and phone market?

    Nobody knew if it would go one way or the other. Microsoft needed a version of Windows for ARM just in case ARM began encroaching into the laptop and desktop market. If they hadn't made RT and ARM had begun cannibalizing laptop sales, Microsoft would've had one foot in the grave. So they had to make RT, just in case.
  • 0 Hide
    coolitic , August 23, 2014 3:05 AM
    BS rumor.

    Author just trying to get more clicks for article.
  • 1 Hide
    Girl_Downunder , August 23, 2014 4:36 AM
    Thank goodness for Microsoft & it's odd handling of it's own technology! If it weren't for MS, a whole lot of techs would be unemployed (not to mention AV co.'s, etc...).

    It's a shame, though, that at the outset, MS immediately crushed/bought out competitors-- leaving only Apple in the commercial OS field. I think we'd have had a broader field had they not, imho.

    The obvious answer is choosing one of the supported Linux OS's & simply freeing yourself from the tyranny completely. Then, donate to the OS group & apps you use.

    Try Linux Mint Mate. I guarantee you'll be amazed. Cheers
  • 0 Hide
    Blazer1985 , August 23, 2014 6:38 AM
    "pathetic. you can buy a Windows 8 tablet with better specs at the same price point of the Surface2, unless the RT devices go cheaper than $150-250 chromebooks and android devices, no one is going to buy it. M$ seriously needs to redesign their ugly, poorly customizable metro UI."
    Well.. Not exactly. For the same price point you have an atom with 720p screen and plastic body (still an asus device but the plastics of the body are not hi quality plastics). Surface 2 has a good full hd ips screen and the body is made from magnesium alloy. Which, you know, doesn't come for free :-)
  • 0 Hide
    NeatOman , August 23, 2014 9:01 AM
    yeah, i always wondered why the hell they ever had a desktop option too. I don't think thet should ever come up unless you have a keyboard and mouse/pad
  • 1 Hide
    hannibal , August 23, 2014 9:21 AM
    Quote:
    yeah, i always wondered why the hell they ever had a desktop option too. I don't think thet should ever come up unless you have a keyboard and mouse/pad


    The desktop option was the only feature, where RT was better than opponents when RT was released. Now there are so many apps that RT has a fighting change of its own. Only metro version of office would keep it interesting enough. Now it is very useful as a hybrid option. Cheaper than Atom based tablet, more vertisal than Android or iDevice options.
  • 0 Hide
    Pro74 , August 23, 2014 3:54 PM
    I don't think this obsession with killing the desktop will help Microsoft in any way.
    What killed the microsoft mobile products was the awful battery life they had at the beginning and the inevitable comparison with the laptop and the desktop products(the same price, even less expensive and orders of magnitude more powerful).
    This and the fact that the apple/google gang managed to sell the idea they offer actual personal computing in a really mobile form with great battery life, while in fact they offered a severely limited appliance designed to offer them the most with laughable apps from a decade back. Microsoft must try sell such an appliance with whatever front end or "os" they think appropriate. It only has to last between 10-15 hours on one charge when surfing or watching videos. Stick an image of an oriental guru on it, have it advertised by madonna and they are set.
    They should try to offer their big guns when they are ready, not when the market says so. Trying to force the pc to an appliance form is like trying to take the Sequoia supercomputer and confine it to a desktop. But I will not blame the supercomputer because it can't naturally fix in a box. I will wait for the technology to catch up. Which brings us to another black spot of today's tablets. They should actually be much cheaper for what they offer.
  • 0 Hide
    Andrei_316 , August 23, 2014 5:21 PM
    Microsoft should take out RT itself and keep pushing the Windows 8 Tablets...
Display more comments
React To This Article