Months after the release of Windows RT (for ARM tablets), we take a look at what has come of Microsoft's slightly less loved platform.
Microsoft had launched three major platforms in 2012: Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows Phone 8. Two of them are doing well in their own spheres while the third, not so much. If web usage statistics of the last 6 months are to be believed, Microsoft's Windows RT is barely a blink on the map of devices running different OSes. If NetMarketShare's usage statistics are to be believed, Windows 8 based touch browsing is almost non-existent at 0.02%. Windows RT doesn't even get that much. Now we wouldn't believe every percent to dot in the pie chart above but this does paint an accurate picture of the whole scenario.
Windows RT runs on the ARM chipsets like Nvidia's Tegra 3 and Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4. Costing upwards of most Android tablets due to the OS license itself, Windows RT hasn't really appealed to the users as the ecosystem simply limits what Windows 8 can do, and hence people end up going for the higher end x86 devices with Windows 8 inside.
Lenovo Think PC and Visual category manager believes Windows 8 RT "isn't what businesses want." Simon Kent of Lenovo Think PC goes on to say that "Even Microsoft has started to review the RT path they have gone down."
Microsoft's own Surface RT tablet is still listed for $499 (although Asus has slashed its Vivo Tab RT to just $358 from $599). At this price Google's Nexus 10 (or god forbid, Apple's 4th generation iPad) simply offers far more value than the Surface RT could (despite the optional keyboard accessory being real nice). And we haven't even get to the part where the apps ecosystem and support for the Android and iOS is just… light-years ahead!
(Microsoft calls its Surface RT "a tablet with laptop capabilities" – right…)
What does Microsoft really need to click with Windows RT? Well nothing. It's a lost cause and instead of spending more marketing dollars on confusing TV advertisements, they should devote to making $499 full-fledged Windows 8 tablets instead using low power Intel Atom (Bay Trail) or upcoming AMD Temash quad core SOCs. This makes a ton of more sense than creating another new platform and keeping it on life support, even while Windows Phone 8 still has a long way to go before establishing itself firmly.