Why Windows Surface RT is Doomed to Fail

Microsoft was feeling the heat both in the desktop and the mobile segments. It was then that they bet big on 8 & Metro.

The Metro UI tries to bring one UI everywhere: Desktop, Laptop, Tablets and Phones – Windows 8 everywhere. Isn’t that great? Wait there is a catch.

Although all flavors of the Windows 8 share one single kernel -the heart – the experience is no where identical on each of the device. Each device has unique hardware/architecture which varies the end mileage of the software. Windows RT, which is ARM version of the Windows 8 family, is a broken dream.

We identified how Windows 8 stacks up against Windows RT, mentioning the key differentiators. The whole Windows 8 paradigm seems confusing — On one side, Metro is not really suited for the desktop/laptops, on the other side Windows RT doesn’t live upto the promise: The software is broken, its half-baked and can’t run Desktop apps.

Don’t get us wrong, Windows Surface has a great hardware, its durable, sexy and made to last and appeal.

Plug-in a 64GB USB pendrive and all your stuff is on the desktop immediately. Flip the Kickstand and unfold the keyboard, you’re all set for the action. However, there is a problem, the kickstand was made only for Airplanes, its not just suited for all desks. Its way too steep if your chair isn’t high enough. I would welcome a Surface RT 2 design where kickstand can stop at a number of angles.

But hardware is great, overall. The ugly side is the Software. Microsoft has a track record of screwing up its operating system, and this time they did it at their best. Except for the home screen, and native Microsoft Apps, everything is ugly and super slow. Their party apps from Windows Store are ugly and horrible at times.

Windows RT is Slow

It almost kills the user if your wordprocessor can’t keep up to the speed of the typing. How ugly would you call a word processor that understands your typed words after a delay of few seconds? Its a shame that Microsoft’s own MS Word lags a lot while typing. Checkout the video:

Its not just MS Word, even the Official Email app has glitches. Loading times were huge (of the order of 10seconds) and blank screen after that. I had a hard time figuring out what this device was upto.

Its a Tablet, not a Desktop/Laptop OS

For starters, Microsoft itself screwed the pooch by rolling out its own self-built tablet, versions of which will run both the ARM-optimized version of the new Windows 8 operating system and the x86 version.

If it was desktop, I should be able to run pre-Windows 8 apps on it, but I can’t. Its nothing more than a Tablet with Keyboard docked. Its confusing for the user that if it is Windows, why can’t one install Desktop apps. Microsoft has made a stupid step by locking it down and not explaining users that its not the same Windows they used to know.

If you need all that features like USB, keyboard dock and productivity tools, you can get them using Android tablets like Asus Transformer Prime, and at a much better display resolution.

No Apps

The first thing you do on a tablet is launch the app store and check for new apps. Windows Store on Windows 8 / RT is like looking a ghost town. You can’t have the app you want just because it isn’t there yet. Comparing it to Android and iOS is a far dream. With only close to 100 usable apps available on store, you immidiately realize that the platform isn’t mature just yet.

Verdict

Windows RT tablets will be lacking in apps and legacy Windows functionality while carrying price tags that defy logic given current market realities.

Don’t buy Windows RT surface or any other RT device just yet. This platform isn’t mature just yet, and won’t happen in next 1 year. Also, the Surface Pro comes out in a few months.  The hardware design is very similar, but heavier, thicker, and with a “real” processor that requires a fan.  Yes, those are drawbacks, but they come with a very, very powerful advantage: the Surface Pro will run real Windows 8. Most of the problems should go away.

The Surface, with an obligatory Touch Cover, is $600. That’s a lot of money. Especially given that it’s no laptop replacement, no matter how it looks or what Microsoft says. It’s a tablet-plus, priced right alongside the iPad and in most ways inferior.

There’s a lot of money and muscle from ARM, Nvidia, Microsoft lurking to assure the platform sticks around. Microsoft, a company with deep pockets and a track record of building developer ecosystems that’s second to none, is in this for the long haul, with some key allies very much on board. But its a race Microsoft landed-in-late. It would take a lot of time before I would recommend buying this device.

Surface RT runs only Metro apps, and honestly, this device isn’t worth even 200 bucks today. Save for now, spend it on something better like iPad 4 or Asus Transformer TF700 / other Android tablets like Nexus 7 or wait for new Android Nexus devices.

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  • If only Microsoft had the brains to make those silly and simple gadgets form Windows 7 and Windows Vista available to that Surface. Those gadgets were not even real programmes but more something like a web-page. They must make it interchangeable and visa versa operable.

    Or what would have been wrong to use Android Apps? It’s not rocket science!!! (Three exclamation marks, to express that I really mean it)

    It still can be done, rescue Windows 8 and keep the surface alive, by adding an Android Apps player to Surface. Android is nasty, you don’t have to take it as an operating system, I guess deep inside it’s the same kind of puzzling garbage as Windows. Why haven’t they solved the problems that follow computing for the last 20 years? Why is there still no barrier between the operating system and user programs? Why are there still possibilities for malware and viruses? It’s because they can’t think!

    By putting an Android player in a box they would have solved two problems at the same time, the virus and malware problem by shielding off the real operating system and the biggest problem for Microsoft the total absence of software!

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  • Alfred Wimberton

    Exactly this is correct and when I ran down it was the tree that wanted to stop and get a drink. I guess I should just let it happen you know?

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  • blinkdt

    Article written in Oct 2012. Verdict as of May 2013? Awesome! No lags, not slow, plenty of Apps, and getting better every day.

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