Windows RT/ARM – Does It Offer Nearly As Many Benefits As X86?

When I’ve talked about Windows 8 on the tablet, I’ve had mostly positive things to say, that being said I’ve also focused a great deal of my points on how Windows 8 x86 tablets have a lot to offer compared to options like iPad and the Android tablet market. What about Windows RT and ARM though? Where do they stand?

I recently made a list talking about five ways that Windows 8 will appeal to tablet users, I’m not going to repeat these reasons, since you can just read them for yourself. That being said, one of my key points was that a Windows tablet runs WINDOWS.

It has application backwards compatibility and can use a large array of Window-based accessories. It also can play many of today’s lower-end PC games without hitch, using a wireless keyboard and mouse.. BUT that’s x86 again. What about ARM?

I’ve been a little critical on the ARM version of Windows 8, aka Windows RT, saying that it doesn’t have as much to offer and is like ‘restarting’ since you won’t be able to use any Windows legacy stuff. It isn’t that a pure Metro experience is a bad one, it just takes away the biggest advantage that Window 8 has going for it – Windows application support.

Really thinking about it though, Windows RT tablet could truly be game changers, and it’s taken until now for me to wake up and see this.

Why?

They can be much cheaper for one thing. While x86 tablets are basically full Windows PCs without keyboard/mouse attached, an ARM tablet will likely have a price tag that is several hundreds of dollars cheaper, and perhaps as low as around $300 for basic units. Okay, but Android has that, and if rumors about iPad Minis prove correct, so might Apple.

What neither now offer though, is multi-user support or nearly as robust of a Family Safety system as Windows 8. While I still love PCs, more and more ‘casual’ users are finding that tablets are great for families. Today, many families pass around the iPad or, like in my family’s case, an Android tablet. Unfortunately, these devices were more like cell-phones, in that they are really designed with one user in mind.

Windows is truly a multi-user experience, allowing each of the kids/adults in your family to have different backgrounds, apps, and even files. You don’t have to worry about your three year old accidentally deleting something from YOUR profile. While this might not be as big of a problem when tablets were just for multimedia consumption, more users are actually creating on their iPads and Android devices.

So you can have a family friendly Windows RT tablet for around $300, or get a similar ARM device for roughly the same that is more locked into one user. Which do you choose? As a parent, I’d say the multi-user experience.

The trick for Windows tablet success, ARM and x86 alike, isn’t in the technology. The technology and features are EXCEPTIONAL in Windows 8, even if you aren’t a Metro fan. Where the war will truly be waged is in advertising and consumer relations.

If Microsoft can clearly paint its device as family friendly, gamer friendly, enterprise friendly and so on, well then I foresee them doing pretty well in the long run.

What about you?

Do you plan on getting a Windows 8-based tablet?

If so, ARM or X86? As always, share your thoughts below.

Please Leave Your Comments Below...

  • http://reflectionspn.wordpress.com/ Pratyush Nalam

    x86 FTW

  • Lason1864

    I will not be getting a Windows 8 or Windows RT tablet.  Why?  Because it is Micro$oft…

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5WJGC7242GFDP2QXANKF5WTMEA Rex

      I think you are stuck in the 90s.  Unless you havent noticed, Apple has surpassed MS in the Dr Evil zone.  In this century, we dont worry about such things, otherwise how else can we accept Apple’s anti competetive measures and still consider it so cool?

    • donzebe

      Been using windows 8 consumer preview will upgrade to windows 8 Pro and will be getting a windows 8 Pro laptop and Windows RT tablet. Why? Because it is not Apple and approximately 9 in 10 people are using Microsoft.

      • http://twitter.com/Tech_Gone_Wild Ezekiel Carsella

        you are telling the truth and i can not wait for Windows 8 and plan to use either or both.

    • Lason1864

      My concern is the hardware of this device and its counterpart Windows 8 tablet. Will the Win8 tablet contain a hard drive like the laptops and desktops or will it have solid state memory? How does one install of the Windows legacy desktop apps onto the tablet? Will this tablet begin to slow down as the hard drive fills up? Will the OS use virtual memory on the hard drive? If the OS is like the desktop version, will it be running anti-virus and anti-malware software?
      Will the WinRT tablets have a hard drive or solid state memory? Will have to run anti-virus and anti-malware software? Will it slow down as well?
      If the Win8 tablet has a hard drive, expect it to crash! How will it get replaced?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5WJGC7242GFDP2QXANKF5WTMEA Rex

    If it has a good RDP client, (I think I heard somewhere that this is only in Professional, hopefully Im mistaken), Windows RT is a good choice.  I will have a Windows 8 Pro Desktop running as a basic home server.  A tablet then doenst need access to the software directly, as long as it has access to the data and Metro Apps.  Consistency, persistent presence on any windows 8 device make the environment pretty hard to beat.

  • techblogger

    I’m a fan of the platform so yes I’ll own several when they finally show e up. I like my customer preview and admittedly it did take a few minutes of adjustment but now, I’m all over this.

  • http://twitter.com/burntham77 Robert Burnham

    The more I read about these Windows 8 tablets, the more I think an x86 Windows 8 tablet will be the way to go. One thing Windows brings to the table is freedom. Apple and Google tend to regulate their devices heavily. 

    However, Windows 8 x86 on a sleek Surface tablet might be just the right thing. Perfect for consuming media (books, magazines, comics) and still having the option to run regular Windows software, even older games and games made for netbooks (like Torchlight). For example, the desktop version of the Zinio app has a much larger selection than either the Android or iPad versions. To me, that’s valuable.Heck, I am this close to just buying an Acer Windows 7 tablet for these reasons.

  • Majid Vahidi

    Thank you.