Despite not being mentioned at all during Microsoft Build keynote yesterday, Windows RT is still alive and kicking, and will receive most of the updates coming to the full fat x86 version of Windows 8.1. Despite its status as a vestigial stump, the Desktop remains and you still can run anything other than a handful of Microsoft approved Desktop apps. Some changes, such as the ability to side by side apps and the beefed up Metro Control Panel, make Windows RT more usable but in reality, these updates are meaningless until some updated, faster hardware arrives.
Windows RT is a version of Windows that, as far as we can tell, is an ARM port derived directly from the x86 Windows 8 code base. At a glance, both Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 look identical. If you look a little closer, though, it is clear that Windows RT lacks so many features that it isn clear why you would ever opt for a Windows RT tablet over a conventional, x86 powered Windows 8 tablet. (Read: Windows RT explained.)
With the preview of Windows RT 8.1, Windows RT now gets a Start button but as you can install Desktop apps, you probably won ever need to use it. Likewise, timberland boots you can boot to the desktop in Windows RT 8.1, but you won ever need to. The improved Lock screen, with the ability to slideshow your photos, means you can now use your Windows RT tablet as a digital picture frame. Improved side by side app snapping should make your Windows RT tablet more useful, too.
The main problem, though, is that Windows RT 8.1 continues to be really slow on the Tegra 3 SoC, which powers the Surface RT, which is by far the most popular Windows RT tablet (and that not saying much). Microsoft has released a few updates over the last nine months that have made the Surface RT a little snappier, but Windows RT 8.1 is nothing more than another incremental update if you have a Surface RT tablet, it will still be very sluggish. In some places, such as the updated Xbox Music app, or loading apps in general, Windows RT really struggles.
On the plus side, Windows RT 8.1 built in Office suite will now include Outlook 2013 RT (pictured above). There no word on whether the rest of the Offic timberland boots e RT suite has been uncrippled to allow macros, plug ins, and screen recording, but we wouldn count on it.
As it stands, we still not sure why you would ever opt to buy a Windows RT tablet when there are similarly priced Atom powered x86 devices that run the full version of Windows 8. Some Windows RT tablets with updated hardware would help, but with Intel Bay Trail being released this fall, that probably be too little too late for Windows RT.
The Windows 8.1 RT preview should be available to download this week for Surface RT and other ARM tablet users to install. If you have an x86 laptop or desktop, go ahead and install the Windows 8.1 preview it an in place upgrade that doesn affect your apps or settings.
Now read:How to run normal x86 Windows apps on your Windows RT tablet
Tagged InOnce again you miss the point of what the surface RT is all about. It makes a great travel notebook/consumption devise. Excellent battery life to go along with it. The biggest 8.1 improvement is the integrated Skydrive sync that allows choosing of files/folders to sync with the device. The next biggest improvement is Outlook RT, although so far it seems to only download emails back one month. Not sure if that can be extended as of yet. Along the way, it seems a bit quicker in performance and ending up using a little less room on my drive, even with those editions.
If you want it to replace a laptop completely, you looking at the wrong device.
First of all, the Surface RT runs like a champ. I have yet to own an HP product with which I was happy in the long run.
Second of all, the Surface line is a metal vapormag case (hard, rigid, virtually indestructible). This is huge for field reps who tend to abuse their tablets by the nature of their job. I had my Surface RT for nearly a year now and it still looks like new, is not scratched up, and doesn look ratty like all those plastic case tablets that I see. Even the screen seems more resilient. After a year of continual use there not even a surface scratch. My iPad screen started showing surface scratches within a month.
When you visit web site or install an app that exposes you to malware. Also over time it doesn experience the same kind of performance degradation because it better manages background tasks. Some people need a device they can screw up. The average cost of RT devices are less as well, though it should be cheaper.
I was going to swap my Surface RT for a HP envy X2 when it went on sale but when I got the X2 though faster it was way more buggy, so I returned it. I think poor driver support is why Microsoft didn make an Atom based Surface. Atom devices can even install 8.1 yet because of drivers issues. I also preferred the Surface unique form factor and the unique use cases it provides. I found this to be more important to me then poorly performing desktop apps. Not until there exists an atom device with the Surface form factor and decent drivers would I consider it to be better.
As for the desktop I rather keep it. I don think offering a user the choice of different environments for different usage to be a disadvantage, as Windows has done this for ages. The desktop is a place to do things that haven yet been very well optimized for touch on any platform so I appreciate this flexibility. It isn as functional as x86 but I think it better than not having this functionality. There are a wealth of admin features that may never get ported. If you don like it just unpin it, metro office and file explorer are coming soon enough, so no one is forcing you to use it.
I don know of any x86 tablets that are as durable and as small as the RT. I own a Surface RT, have a laptop with Win8 Pro, and a laptop with Win7. I have held several x86 Win 8 tablets. I have played with the Surface Pro. Looking at specs it seems they would be similar enough to not really make a difference, but the Pro is heavier and bulkier, it doesn feel anywhere near as nice when holding it something the iPad still beats them all on. If I could only have a laptop or a Surface I would get the Surface Pro. But since I already have a laptop the tablet factor is important. Since the Surface Pro is too heavy and thick and the other x86 tablets I have tested don have the quality build or responsive screen I am sticking with my RT for now.
RT is locked down and is more of an In an IT shop, we have both Atom and RT devices. We have to install our corporate AV (SEP), our conf. mgt. app (BMC CM), apply GPO and login scripts, lockdown the internet with Websense, etc. We also have to scan it to ensure license adherence. With RT, we do none of this because its practically uninfectable and even if it does get infected, you just reset it. All the above software require seat licenses and they slow down the Atom device greatly. You also cannot install unlicensed apps on RT.
x86 devices are still the wild west.
Late to the party, but that easy: Students, non techies and elderly people, all of whom benefit by having a device that runs an OS that gives them the ability to do emails, web browsing and MS Office document creation, along with whatever apps tickle their fancy from the Windows Store (over 120,000 right now). Given that RT is, so far, immune to all malware (or put another way, no existing malware is compatible with Windows on ARM), and that just drives up the utility of the device for that segment of the market.
Windows RT is clearly not for power users it DOES have a legitimate place in the market. What it hasn had so far is the right price in the market. $349 seems to be changing their fortunes, and the far faster Surface 2 at $449 is a decent deal as well.
I have handed out RT tablets and iPad tablets to my kids instead of x86 devices because they can mess them up. Every Windows or Mac x86 device I have given them eventually ends up on my desk being reloaded. The RT devices don get infected and are far less vulnerable to accidental misconfiguration. I am a 30 year IT pro and I use one everyday as well. I still use my laptop at my desk at the office, but I never take it home any more like I did when I used iPad for a companion device. RT is not a replacement for x86 computing but its the be companion device I have ever used. It bests iPad in that I can consume everything iPad allowed me to PLUS things like typing when I want to and using remote control apps like logmein to access my workplace systems (something that is possible but ridiculous on my iPad). Propping it up in bed to watch a movie with no heat or noise is another small but meaningful advantage.
I love my Surface RT tablet, I owned Ipad and changed it for Galaxy Note and now this one is great, no extra apps, all clean intefase, does what I need to do, makes my camera backups via USB to my micro SD card in the tablet, Is not slow for me at all, the multitasking is Impressively clean, split screen skype and browser is great, no need for more things, maybe someone more geek yeah they need a lot more, but in the end this will work for who has less needs, is not for everyone, no, but it does the things I want it to d timberland boots o, Im happy with it.
Windows RT is for my wife and kids. They don use desktop applications other than office, and they have a knack for messing things up. It cheaper and closed off. That what it good for. If you a techie, then it not for you, but it great for the vast majority of computer users. I would also recommend RT to my mom. Just another example. Also, I not really used the Surface R timberland boots T much, but the Asus RT device my wife and kids have isn slow or laggy. It also has far more capability than their droid tablets. What it does lack is apps. It a first the chicken or the egg problem. When there are more users the apps will come, but there can be more users until people see the value now.
lol I only have a Surface RT because the company where I currently work (as a temp that been extended) had a big event in Europe recently and MS was there they gave away over 3000 Surface RT tablets free, and for those of us who didn go to the event (our HQ is actually small, takes up only 3/4 of a floor in an office tower in NJ, and there are many empty desks) they shipped home extras with their show materials and we all got one as a reward for our participation in the success of the event. It does bother me you really can do anything in Desktop mode other than run office, and that the only browser you likely ever have on it is IE (Mozilla and Google see no reason to bother writing versions of FF and Chrome for RT) but for something like playing a game once in a while and using it as an IE test device for my work on my website, it not all bad I guess. I just not a tablet user I prefer the traditional Win7 desktop and all it full fledged Applications to Metro UI and micro
All OS venders such as Apple and even Linux distros are going the route of app stores. I personally do not find touch useful in my work but I like it when I am on my feet or simply not sitting at a table with a laptop/desktop.
I actually agree with you about Metro only because it does not Windowize my running apps and I like having a taskbar that I can switch between apps with one click. Even the browser, I like to have each browser session visible and running on the taskbar.