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?