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  • ideal_invst ideal_invst Apr 25, 2012 2:14 PM Flag

    The premature demise of Windows 8 on ARM, courtesy of Intel’s Medfield

    I think Microsoft is going to mess up its brand (whatever it has!) with this Windows RT. Both with OEMs and the consumers.

    - Savvy buyers will go with x86 Windows 8 for the assured app-compatibility

    - Folks who don't get the app-incompatibility issue will kick and scream when
    some apps don't work, they will blame Microsoft or even worse, the OEM.
    If the latter is more likely, it should give the OEMs cold feet to even use
    Windows RT in the first place

    - I think Microsoft should have created a tablet-like device without giving any
    sense that it is going to have an open OS like Windows (sort of the xBox / Kinect

    I think they messed up big time in going with the Windows name for the Windows-on-ARM offering. It is going to be very interesting to see how this unfolds.

    From the article:

    Therein lies the crux: Windows for ARM (or Windows RT in marketingese) is completely crippled compared to Windows 8 x86/64. Windows for ARM does not support Storage Spaces, Windows Media Player, BitLocker, or file system encryption. On the enterprise side of things, Windows for ARM does not support domains or group policies — your WoA tablet won’t play nicely with your office network at all. Windows for ARM won’t act as a Remote Desktop host, either.

    Most importantly, though, Windows 8 ARM tablets won’t be able to run x86/64 software — while, on the flip side, every legacy program will run on an Atom-powered tablet, as will every new Metro app. At launch, while there might be a few thousand apps for Windows 8 ARM tablets, there will be a few million apps for Atom tablets. It’s hard to overstate how important this difference is. For the same price, you can either have an x86 tablet that replaces your desktop, netbook, laptop, and iPad, effectively ushering in age of ubiquitous mobile computing — or you can get a Windows for ARM tablet that replaces nothing, and will probably have significantly less apps than the iPad.

    It makes me wonder why Windows on ARM was developed in the first place. I mean, giving consumers more choice is usually a good thing — and there will certainly be some bargain basement ARM tablets that are cheaper than their x86 counterparts — but that’s a steep price to pay for fragmenting the world’s most popular software ecosystem.

    It will be very interesting to see how the OEMs handle the x86/ARM schism. Samsung, for example, will almost certainly sell a Windows 8 ARM tablet and a Clover Trail tablet and Core i3/i5/i7 Ivy Bridge tablets. Somehow, OEMs like Samsung will have to differentiate between ARM and x86 tablets that have almost identical feature sets, and yet one is completely new and untested with relatively few apps, and the other is tried and tested and has the support of the largest app and developer ecosystem in the world. I don’t envy Windows RT.

    • Another possibility is that the customer will be told the reason their tablet doesn't run their legacy Windows apps or play nice with their network is because of the ARM processor. Neither MS nor the OEM will take the blame.

      While almost no consumer knows their Smartphone uses an ARM processor they will learn the reason their WoA tablet doesn't work like they expected is because it has an ARM CPU. Ironically, for most consumers their first association with the ARM brand will be of failure.

      What irony!

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