Windows ARM Software News
I upgraded my Surface RT to Windows RT 8.1 RTM tonight. It's not as easy as a regular Windows 8.1 upgrade, and it has some risk associated with it. You could definitely brick your Surface if you do not do this properly. I am not responsible for bricked devices.
At a high level, it may sound like Microsoft’s $7.17 billion deal to buy Nokia’s Devices and Services business is similar to Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola in 2011. As such, Microsoft will still be licensing its software to hardware partners, just as Google does, right? Not so fast. Although Microsoft still hopes to do so, it’s not going to happen.
While Microsoft continues to promote Windows RT, the version of its client OS designed to work only with software offered via its Windows Store interface, third-party support is fading fast. Other than Microsoft's Surface RT, try finding anyone else who offers a tablet with Windows RT. I swung by my nearby Microsoft Store, Best Buy and Staples, and the only Windows RT device I could find was the Surface RT.
Microsoft, in hedging its tablets bets between the Windows RT it believed people readily wanted and the Windows 8 it believed it could get them to accept, doomed both Surface tablet lines to failure. That reality became apparent this week at it cut the price of the Pro by $100 after having cut the RT price earlier.
Windows RT is the locked-down version of Windows 8 for ARM computers, as seen on Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet and a few other Windows RT devices. Unlike the standard version of Windows 8, Windows RT doesn’t allow you to install your own desktop programs.
Things aren’t going very well for Windows RT, Microsoft’s new operating system developed specifically for tablets equipped with ARM chips. Sales have so far been pretty disappointing, so several large companies decided to completely abandon the product and focus either on the full version of Windows 8 or switch to Android.
What if Microsoft (MSFT) merged its struggling Windows RT and Windows Phone operating systems into a single software platform for tablets and smartphones? That concept, which Mary Jo Foley proposed toward the bottom of a recent blog, makes a ton of sense for Microsoft's partners, developers and customers. Here's why.
Summary: Windows RT was a massive gamble for Microsoft that didn't pay off. But with a few tweaks here and there, the platform could be great for those looking for a version of Windows that doesn't come with all the associated Windows hassles.
Microsoft recently revealed some sorry Surface tablet numbers. Its latest quarterly filing disclosed earnings of $853 million (£560 million) in revenue from Surface tablets, but it wrote down $900 million (£590 million) because too many were built and the unwanted surplus units are now stuck in a warehouse. Indeed, Asus is also dropping Windows RT.
People think I “hate” Windows RT because I’ve been critical of the platform. Truth is, it’s simply not there yet, and almost a year later, the Metro content ecosystem has not evolved enough to take on the iPad or Android. But Microsoft already has a mobile platform with a thriving ecosystem. It’s called Windows Phone, and I think it makes a far better choice for general purpose tablets than does Windows RT.
I know, I know; everyone has declared Windows RT dead and is having the grave dug as you read this. No one wants it, needs, it, or has any use for it. Personally, I have a lot of tablets and the one that currently sees the most use is a Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 LTE (I’m a fan of the Samsung mobile devices). I never even bothered to purchase an RT device because I couldn’t see any need for it in the way I work.
Okay, Microsoft. You had your fun fling with ARM processors, serenading your newfound love with glitzy dubstep ads full of creepy dancing schoolgirls. Thin and light tablets packing a--gasp!--free version of Office? Freedom from Intel and AMD's x86 processors? Sanctity from traditional Windows malware? How dreamy.