Best Argument: The Future
Audience Favored: The Future (65%)
It's dead in the waterWhen it was announced, Windows RT seemed like a good continuation of Microsoft's vision of a "reimagined" Windows. By removing the ability to run Old Windows, legacy software Windows RT gained focus meaning that device manufacturers were able to focus on building low-cost, low-power, ARM-based devices that only ran software with a user experience optimised for touch.
What the market got has two problems. Firstly, too much Old Windows baggage has been brought forward into the new Windows RT world. Rather than everything being simple and straightforward, some things are but many other tasks are not. Even users with very basic requirements have to contend with the mental challenge of going from a very simple tablet-focused experience and crashing back into Old Windows that's less touch-friendly. And let's forget Windows RT doesn't run normal Windows software.
Secondly, there's the problem that there is space for Windows RT to grow and establish itself because Windows RT devices are too expensive. Surface RT is prices around the average selling price of a normal Windows 8 laptop. Intel is getting better at making their mobility-focused Atom processors draw less power and create less heat making them more suitable for tablets.
Windows RT's proposition at the moment is pay more money for a device that doesn't run normal Windows software, and isn't as simple as a tablet operating system needs to be in order for it to be competition for iOS or Android. Frankly, it's dead in the water.
A bright futureIf you want to see the future of Windows, grab a machine running Windows RT, like Microsoft’s Surface. Notice I said the future, not the present.
Windows RT-powered devices have been on the market for less than 90 days. Yes, it’s easy to dismiss RT as a platform if you compare it to mature platforms like Windows (25+ years) or iOS (six years) or even Android.
But what look like weaknesses in the current crop of devices are actually the keys to its future.
Underpowered ARM processor? That’s the key to all-day battery life, which you can’t get with a conventional Windows PC.
No apps? The tight control over apps in the Windows store means malware and crapware are nonstarters on RT.
Limited device selection? The strict specs for RT hardware blocks shoddy, cheap devices and means any device you buy is likely to work properly, right out of the box.
The question is not whether RT represents the future of Windows but how soon that future will arrive.