Windows RT Restrictions: Deal-Breaking or Worth A Look?

2012-Apr-26 | Tags: analysiscompatibilitysecuritytablet

Windows on ARMThe Wintel marriage fell apart. The Intel/AMD x86 family of chips is no longer the only hardware architecture supported by Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8. The next-generation OS will also run on low-powered ARM tablets (as well as upcoming desktops and laptops based on ARM).

But it's not an easy choice. Microsoft drafted some tough restrictions – both on the hardware and software side — that might backfire in the end. Other Microsoft-defined requirements are crucial to a perfect user experience. Let's look closer.

Desktop Apps Won't Run – Is That Such a Bad Thing?

This one's a well-known and (for many) a deal-breaking factor: Windows 8 for ARM devices (or as Microsoft confusingly calls it, Windows RT – for Windows RunTime) will run Metro-style apps only. Traditional desktop apps won't work – and that includes your line of business (LoB) applications, many third party admin tools you've gotten used to, and a lot of collaboration tools, such as Skype. Only Metro-style apps written for the Windows Runtime (WinRT) environment are supported – hence the name Windows RT.

That means: On ARM devices, the Windows Store is the only way of acquiring new applications. There will be a way for enterprises to roll out LoB Metro-style apps, but that process hasn't been specified at all.

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Windows on ARM - Windows RT