Dell Drops Windows RT Operating System: No New Products Planned

Microsoft May Remain the Only Adopter of Windows RT OS

by Anton Shilov
10/02/2013 | 11:01 PM

While Microsoft Corp. clearly had the best intentions when it developed a fully-fledged Windows operating system for ARM architecture system-on-chips, it looks like no companies except Microsoft itself are truly interested in Windows RT OS that is incompatible with traditional Windows applications and can only run new apps that rely on Metro UI. Even Dell decided to drop support for Windows RT.


When Microsoft Corp. planned Windows RT operating system, the goal was to create a platform that would feature Windows look and feel and have support for low-power ARM-architecture application processors in a bid to enable devices with a day or longer battery life. Thanks to ultra-low-power x86 microprocessors from Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices, it makes no sense to use Windows RT and therefore sacrifice compatibility with the vast majority of programs ever developed for Windows. Dell, one of the most loyal customers of Microsoft, which has supported almost all efforts of the software giant, decided not to refresh its XPS 10 tablet based on Windows RT and concentrate on devices based on Windows 8.1 instead.

“We are not planning to refesh our current line of RT products. We are really focused on full Windows products. The full Windows experience provides great capability,” said Neil Hand, head of tablets at Dell, in a conversation with Cnet News web-site.

Earlier this year Asustek Computer, Samsung Electronics and Lenovo Group quietly discontinued their products based on Windows RT operating system and never released their successors running the same OS. Instead, all of them have introduced slates and notebook products based on low-power x86 microprocessors and Windows 8.1 platform.

Without Dell, Microsoft’s Surface and Surface 2 media tablets will remain virtually the only devices on the market running Windows RT. Given slow demand towards Surface-series slates, the adoption of Windows-on-ARM will remain pretty low; as a consequence, interest of software developers to design apps exclusively for Metro user interface will be diminishing.

Windows RT is a fully-fledged Microsoft operating system compatible with ARM-architecture application processors and incompatible with the vast majority of programs developed for Windows, something that clearly discourages anyone from using it. Given the fact that it carries Windows name, it confuses many buyers as people expect compatibility with their applications. Many PC makers, including Toshiba and Samsung, decided not to offer Windows RT-based devices early in the lifecycle of the OS so to avoid the misunderstandings. Microsoft is currently working hard to improve software support for the Windows RT platform.