With Microsoft finally offering its Surface with Windows RT devices for sale, some readers are having second thoughts after an initial bout of enthusiasm: Is Windows RT right for them, or will its limitations prove problematic? But deciding between Windows 8 and Windows RT doesn't have to be hard.
As a backgrounder, Windows 8 is of course Microsoft's new operating system for PCs and devices. The versions that run on traditional, Intel-type, x86-compatible PCs are known as Windows 8 (Core) and Windows 8 Pro. But there's also a new version that runs on the ARM platform: This is called Windows RT.
Microsoft ported Windows to the ARM architecture for one reason, primarily: The company wanted its flagship product to run well on thin and light tablets and other mobile devices. And while Intel-compatible chipsets provide amazing performance and good battery life on a wide range of device types, only ARM provides them with the ability to compete, point by point, with devices as thin and light and power-efficient as the iPad.