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It’s hard to see Intel’s battery-sipping Haswell processors as anything other than the final nail in Windows RT’s coffin.

Microsoft’s cut-down version of Windows for tablets with weedy processors was always a difficult value proposition. In hindsight it looks like no more than a holding strategy to keep Windows in the tablet game while hardware makers prepared their next generation devices.

RT’s one saving grace was that it allowed Windows tablets to work all day on a single charge. Intel’s new chips can do that and deliver enough power for a real tablet operating system.

Few hardware brands have stuck with RT. The devices haven’t been a sales hit despite competitive prices and preloaded Office applications.

Microsoft’s marketing of RT was missing in action, I don’t remember seeing any promotional material except while at product demonstrations arranged for journalists.

Windows RT may limp on, making it into smaller – that’s below 10 inch – tablets.

Typically an RT device is two-thirds the price of a tablet running the full version of Windows 8. Microsoft may sharpen its pencil to lower the price of RT on smaller tablets.

Even that may not be enough to save the tablet operating system. It’s now just a matter of time.

2 thoughts on “Last nail in Windows RT coffin?

  1. It’s not just battery life, the other advantage that Windows RT on ARM processors has over Haswell-based versions of Windows, is that the processors don’t require any active cooling. I’m not sure if any Windows tablets running Haswell processors are going to ship with just passive cooling, but I’m guessing not – at least not yet.

    Microsoft’s big problem is the Desktop – Windows RT still offers the desktop, but really only so that it can run Office 2013 which is not yet Metro. Windows RT would make a lot more sense if it dropped the desktop completely and became a true, touch-only, tablet.

    Here’s my thinking…. there should be one version of Windows that’s called just “Windows”. This version would run on phones, tablets, computers as well as any other devices (Xbox etc) – which is kind of what Mircosoft is angling towards anyway. The big difference is that “Windows” would completely drop the desktop – the only apps that run on “Windows” would be the new modern apps. So it wouldn’t matter what processor you’re running – you’d have thin and light ARM-based tablets, and you’d have gruntier Intel-based devices. If you needed the desktop, then you would buy “Windows Pro” – this would be the version that power users and businesses buy so they can continue to run legacy apps and would be similar to what Windows 8.1 looks like – with boot to the desktop, etc.

    Unfortunately for Microsoft, they are getting themselves into a tangle with all the different versions of Windows – though this is no different to what they’ve been doing for the last ten years, so it’s no surprise

  2. @stuartm – An interesting idea. It’s not too different from mine. I’ve long thought Microsoft has one Windows too many. It would make sense to drop RT and let Windows Phone 8 become the low-end tablet OS, leaving full Windows 8 for everything else. Low-end users can live with the Office web apps.

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