Plenty of Apps Will Be Ready to Run on Windows RT Units

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2012-08-13 Print this article Print

The difference is that while Microsoft won't own the market share for Windows RT devices, it has a very good chance of building market share much faster. Ultimately, when there are five or six companies all selling Windows RT tablets, each with slightly different features, different sizes, different weights and different physical implementations, Microsoft ensures that there are plenty of reasons for people to buy Windows RT devices and plenty of choices.

The picture for Windows 8 tablets is slightly different. Microsoft won't be shipping its Surface for Windows 8 until early in 2013. Other manufacturers, however, plan to start shipping tablets running Windows 8 Professional Oct. 26, the day that Windows 8 ships. The ThinkPad Tablet 2 is one of those.

Lenovo is already saying that the Windows 8 version of the ThinkPad Tablet 2 will have a full version of Microsoft Office, for example, which is something that you can't get with Windows RT. The Windows 8 tablet should also be able to run nearly anything that can run on any other Windows 8 machine, which means most Windows 7 apps. While the user interface for Windows 7 applications won't be as touch-friendly as dedicated Windows 8 apps, they should still work fine.

Equally important, most of the Windows 8 apps from the Microsoft application store should run properly on Windows RT.

What's perhaps most important is that Microsoft seems to be on schedule in working toward the release of Windows 8 and Windows RT. According to Sinofsky, Windows 8 and RT have been released to manufacturing. In addition, Microsoft has sent about 1,100 prototype units of Windows RT tablets to manufacturers to help with the collaborative process.

All of this, of course, leads to a big question. Will Microsoft actually be able to take on the iPad? That question is hard to answer for a couple of reasons. First, the Surface and other Windows 8 tablets are ultimately aimed at a different user base than the iPad. While there will be some competition between the iPad and Windows RT tablets, it's not clear just how much. The Windows 8 tablets are clearly aimed at the enterprise, which has never been a great fit for the iPad, despite all those apps.

But unlike all those other tablets out there, the Surface and the other Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets bring a level of choice that Apple doesn't offer. You want near-field communications? There's a Windows tablet for that. You want a built-in USB or Secure Digital (SD) card port? You can get that, too. But perhaps more important, Apple has a focused, well-funded, committed competitor, and that's good for both companies.

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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