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Microsoft Surface May Be Only Windows RT Left in Market

Dell has stopped selling its Windows RT-based tablet, the XPS 10. There's no indication whether the company permanently dropped the device, or is simply waiting to announce a new version on October 18. However, market watchers have already pointed out that Microsoft is currently the only company producing a Windows RT device with the upcoming launch of its Surface 2. Windows RT partners have seemingly jumped off the Windows RT bandwagon since the end of last year, and Dell is the last manufacturer to bail.

From what we've heard, new Windows RT devices are likely on the way next month. Dell may have simply sold out of its XPS 10, and is waiting on Microsoft to give the green light – this isn't uncommon. But given that Microsoft took a $900 million kick in the pants for unsold Surface RT tablets, you have to wonder what's really going on in the Windows RT market. The updated RT 8.1 is supposedly a vast improvement, but consumers will still face a brick wall when wanting to use their x86-based desktops apps on ARM-based hardware.

Both Microsoft and Nvidia have made it clear that they're not giving up on Windows RT, and Microsoft's Operating Systems division is hell-bent on creating one silicon interface, one set of APIs, one cloud service, and a tailored experience for each form factor. That means eventually we'll see one marketplace that caters to both x86 and ARM-based platforms. As we've seen with Surface 2, Microsoft is already trying to tear down the x86/ARM wall just in name alone.

Check out our Surface 2 coverage below:

  • Kieran Warren
    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
    Reply
  • will1220
    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.
    Reply
  • the1kingbob
    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.
    Reply
  • will1220
    11612913 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.
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    11612886 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.
    Reply
  • stevejnb
    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?
    Reply
  • JD88
    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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  • g-unit1111
    11612978 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.

    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.
    Reply
  • stevejnb
    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.
    Reply
  • godfather666
    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.
    Reply