Early on, there seemed to be real vendor interest in Windows RT. Now it’s 2013 and there is barely any Windows RT devices on the market. What the heck happened here? Where did the competition go?

There are two things that have probably pushed RT back into being a secondary thought for developers.

The Announcement of the Surface RT

First, the truth is that vendors only found out about the Surface RT a few days before Microsoft annoucned it to the general public. Imagine already working on your ARM tablet only to find out that Microsoft is going to do the same thing as you are.

We know that when news of the Surface RT first came out, many vendors that were previously entertaining the idea of Windows RT devices ended up backing up altogether. They felt betrayed by Microsoft and were afraid they wouldn’t be able to compete.

Other vendors decided to stick with Windows RT but go back to the drawing board and build a device better prepared to fight against the Surface. Many of these devices are said to be coming early this year.

Microsoft was a Control Freak

Several executives from vendors that were involved with RT from the beginning have anonymously spoke up saying that Microsoft was overly controlling with Windows RT, which probably scared off quite a few vendors.

When it came to the hardware, individual drivers and other aspects like the idea of vendor-specific Windows Store apps— Microsoft had to verify and test it all.

When the Surface was finally unveiled, vendors also became concerned that Microsoft teams working with the vendors on their RT devices were too closely associated with the teams working on the Surface RT.

The end result…

The end result is the lack of Windows RT devices. And in general RT devices aren’t much cheaper than x86 tablets but lack the ability to run legacy apps.

Windows RT isn’t a bad idea, as there are benefits to ARM processors, but at the moment it has yet to live up to its potential. Whether this is Microsoft or the vendor’s fault is probably up for debate for now. The good news is that the few Windows RT devices that did make the cut and end up out the door during 2012 are actually of reasonably high quality.

What do you think of Windows RT? Would you rather have a true Windows 8 tablet or do you see strong potential in RT devices?

[ source ]


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  • Robert Kegel

    Here is the thing I don’t understand. Google owns Motorola and vendors don’t get pissed off when they make a new phone or tablet. I know Motorola is still treated like a separate company, but that shouldn’t matter. Microsoft is just acting like another OEM, but they just happen to be the company who also makes the OS. Besides hardware did Microsoft do anything different with Windows RT than the OEM’s? I don’t believe they did. The same RT OS you get on the Surface is the same as you get on any other RT tablet. The only thing that Microsoft isn’t doing that most others are is Microsoft isn’t putting crapware on the Surface.

    I just don’t understand why the OEM’s are having such a hard time with Microsoft making their own product.

    • Jason Deveau

      I think your right, they’re quite secretive between departments of themselves even.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brenton.klassen Brenton Klassen

    You mentioned that OEMs scrapped their tablets because they wouldn’t have been able to compete with the Surface. If these tablets were scrapped, that’s a GOOD thing! We don’t want any tablets that are WORSE than the Surface. This is precisely the reason Microsoft released the Surface-so OEMs would step up their game. The idea seems to be working.

  • Dan Dar3

    I think this is a bit of a sad joke. Manufacturers making Android ARM tablets for a few years now being afraid to build Windows ARM tablets for being unable to compete with MS? Perfectly fine. How about x86 tablets then? Even longer experience with that, newer technologies from Intel and AMD on that front, x86 app compatibility and W8 being out for public testing for more than a year. Seems like some are looking for an excuse for a half-hearted bet on Windows 8 and a feeling to have missed a train – if they think this is hard, let them wait till Surface becomes a well known product on the market, see how they catch up with that…

    Let’s be honest – they didn’t think Windows 8 will catch on, that would be a big change for users, a new store with not too many apps and playing the waiting game felt safer. That’s all. Throwing cheap, half-cooked devices doesn’t work – there’s plenty Android tablets like that on the market no one wants to buy. Everybody wants quality Apple-like tablets at a reasonably good price. Come up with one and will sell like hot-cakes.