Revisiting the RT

Discussion in 'Netbooks, Tablets, Slates and eReaders' started by LandSurveyor, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. LandSurveyor

    LandSurveyor LandSurveyor

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    Why not an RT?
    First: the price. Even the current reduction to $349 doesn't go far enough.

    Next, this guy's article tells a lot, although I don't always agree with his slant on it:
    http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33153_7-57593758-10391733/why-i-wont-be-buying-a-surface-rt-even-for-$349/

    I don't think it's valid to ding the RT for not coming with a keyboard unless he compares it with something like a Samsung 10" tablet with an accessory keyboard.
    I do agree with him that it's tacky for MS to boast of its internal memory when only part of it is usable.

    It does come with a first-class basic suite. It does have a card slot. It does come standard with something I haven't heard of in any other tablet: a full-sized usb port, which MS says can be connected to an external hard drive, thus avoiding cloud dependence.

    MS can make this work if they'll bite the bullet on price.

    I knew when I bought this $100 Touchpad that it was doomed already. I don't want to buy into another doomed device unless (maybe) it's at another fire sale price.
     
  2. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

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    I think $349 is a pretty darned good deal for something that comes with MS Office, including Outlook, which sells on its own for $200. And that has an excellent-quality magnesium-body case with plenty of connectivity. It's a 10" device with good build quality that's selling for $20 more than an iPad Mini and $150 less than a 16-gb iPad.

    My wife and I are thinking of snatching up a Surface RT for her in the next month or so. Her main computer is dying and we don't want to spend a ton on a replacement. The build quality and screen quality are so far beyond what we can get for $450 at Best Buy, and there's nothing she does on a PC that can't be done with Windows RT (MS Office, email, web-based stuff).

    I don't think it's a "doomed device" because Windows 8 (x86) and Windows RT share apps. It's not like Blackberry where if the OS doesn't go anywhere soon, app developers have no reason to pay attention. The selection of Metro apps is expanding regularly because not only do they run on Windows RT devices, but they run on Windows 8 touchscreen devices like my Duo 11 and the flurry of other touchscreen devices currently going on sale.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2013
  3. LandSurveyor

    LandSurveyor LandSurveyor

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    Those are points in its favor, certainly.

    Unfortunately, people do compare on price without paying as much attention as they should to the details.

    In my case, I recently bought a full Toshiba notebook running Windows 8, complete with 16.5" screen, numeric keypad, and optical drive for about $320 OTD. It's hard to consider paying about that much for a "lesser" device.

    Still, I'm glad to hear its survival prospects are good. The pundits had me convinced otherwise.

    Will you be considering the Touch or the Type Cover?
     
  4. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

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    That could be said of any premium-quality hardware compared to any bang-for-the-buck spec-sheet-oriented product, regardless of the price point. I can't count how many times people on NBR have compared what $1200 gets you from Sony or Apple compared to what $1200 gets you in terms of a specced-up HP Pavilion or an MSI gaming rig. Sure, you get great specs, but you also get a heavy device with a creaky case, etc etc etc. The Surface RT can't compare to the specs of that Toshiba 16" you got, but the screen is excellent quality (unremarkable resolution, but excellent viewing angles, color, etc), the case is solid and pleasant to hold and flex-free, etc.

    Well, the Surface RT in its current form is on its way out. But what ten-month-old PC isn't? That's what some people are missing. It's on its way out because there's a Surface MkII in the pipeline, not because Microsoft is shutting down the Surface line.

    If I can talk my wife into getting one before they're all gone (I subscribe to "replace something when it's starting to break down"; she subscribes to "replace something when it's totally dead"), I think the type cover. I think she'd struggle with the feel of the touch cover.
     
  5. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

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    Also, don't forget that the Surface RT isn't the only device out there. Dell is currently selling the XPS 10, its 10" Windows RT device, for a whopping $299...80% of the price of the Nexus 10 and 60% of the price of an Xperia Tablet Z.
     
  6. Drillbit

    Drillbit Mobile Deity

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    Microsoft took a massive $900 million writedown on the Surface RT inventory. Does that mean all the existing stock will be put into some firesale?

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-57594612-75/funky-friday-more-than-$32-billion-in-microsoft-stock-value-wiped-out/
     
  7. LandSurveyor

    LandSurveyor LandSurveyor

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    I think that's the adjustment they had to make when they marked them down to $349.

    And now a gripe: Why do people whinge about RT devices not being able to run regular Windows apps but they don't seem to require Ipads to run Mac apps?
     
  8. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

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    The idea of some-but-not-all really chafes some people. Because there is a desktop and it can run the MS Office suite, some people are offended that it's otherwise limited to mobile apps. But if you think of it as a well-built media tablet with added functionality, not a PC with reduced functionality (glass half full instead of glass half empty), it's a smokin' good deal at $349.
     
  9. Drillbit

    Drillbit Mobile Deity

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    Lenovo just cancelled their Windows RT device, the Ideapad Yoga 11.
     
  10. headcronie

    headcronie Greyscale. Nuff Said. Super Moderator

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    I have no idea of the mindset of others. However, I know that my mindset is that these devices, along with Android, and iOS are pathetically weak devices. Yes, they may be fun and if there is an app, that works as I want, may be usable. Oooh, there's an app for that... Angry Birds!!

    However, when presented with the option of a 'does it all' device, for darn near the same price... why would I bother with a limited device. If a device with the same size exists, and does it all, you'd be off your rocker if you think I'm going to buy the 'oh, you can't do that' device.

    This doesn't surprise me. Funny to recollect all the OEM's throwing a fit over not being selected for the initial roll-out of RT, and now the OEM's are tossing it in the dumpster. While the platform deserves some praise, it still is a disaster and a failure.
     
  11. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

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    Sure, for $349 you can get a small HP Pavilion that runs all x86 software...but it's not going to remotely compete with a Surface RT (or other media tablet) in terms of lightness, battery life, build quality, or screen quality, or the ability to use it while standing or walking. If you value x86 compatibility over those other factors, sure, get the entry-level Pavilion. But there's definitely a reason why media tablets exist for people who don't value x86 compatibility over those other issues.
     
  12. LandSurveyor

    LandSurveyor LandSurveyor

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    This is an article discussing the "why" of RT.
    Did we all just witness Windows start to die? | ZDNet

    Boiled down:
    1. The PC market is mature, even losing ground because...
    2. A lot of people don't want or need a full PC, just something to get access to the internet, something as unsophisticated as possible.
    3. MS has to be able to adapt or die.

    Hence the RT, which is a tablet, not a full computer, more like an Ipad (which is not a Mac).

    Their problem, largely because of their unnecessary Metro skin on the real computer, as well as the keyboards on the RT, is that they made the real computers and the tablets look too much alike.

    They should have, as the above author states, made the tablet look more like a phone (in other words, call the tablet a Lumia tablet, not RT). They can and should still do that. Otherwise they will have a problem similar to Google's, with their Androids and Chromebooks.
     
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  13. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

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    I think the keyboard covers on a media tablet were a stroke of genius. My wife's objection to replacing her dying MBP with a media tablet is not software compatibility, but the need for a physical keyboard. Sony has also offered a keyboard cover for the Xperia Tablet S, for the record, and Asus of course has had a ton of exposure and praise for the keyboard docks of their Transformer tablets. Available physical keyboards for media tablets are a good thing.

    I agree that "Windows RT" is a bad name--doesn't explain what it is and it's easily confused with WinRT--but the Lumia name belongs to Nokia, not Microsoft.

    I'm glad that Windows RT isn't more like a phone OS. The emphasis on physical keyboards and split-screen multitasking (particularly with its improved functionality in Windows 8.1) are real benefits over iOS and Android tablets. The one exception--where Windows RT would dump you into desktop mode for the control panel--has been addressed for the updated version of RT that will accompany 8.1. You can change all system settings in the touch-friendly metro menus.
     
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  14. LandSurveyor

    LandSurveyor LandSurveyor

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    Oh, I thoroughly agree that the keyboard (less so the Typecover) is a good thing. In fact I roundly curse every time I have to enter more than just a few letter on my tablet. My next device for this purpose will have a physical keyboard of some sort. I was just making the point that with they attached keyboard, it looks too much like, say, an ultrabook.

    About the Lumia thing, I missed that detail but the ZDNet article above, I think, was saying Nokia should build tablets. I hope they will.
     
  15. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

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    I think that's true of the Asus Transformer-style keyboard dock, but I think the Microsoft Surface's covers (what the Xperia Tablet S ripped off) are a good solution while still being obviously a "tablet" and not a "PC" to an uninformed buyer.

    Nokia tablets have been rumored for nearly a year now, with nothing actually showing up. I wish they'd get on it. Early last year, someone (not affiliated with Nokia) drew up a concept of what a Nokia Windows RT tablet could look like, and it was stunning.

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. LandSurveyor

    LandSurveyor LandSurveyor

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    I can attest from a recent visit to the local Best Buy that you will not find an RT device there. Nor at any of the other local places. It looks like any buyers are in danger of getting orphaned like me with my Touchpad.

    The actual merits of a particular piece of technology are moot once it receives sufficient bad press. MS made a fatal marketing mistake. Not so wild about full-blown W8 either, myself. My particular unit does not come with MS office. It's at least a $139 add-on. Or Office 365 for $99/yr.
     
  17. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

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    Nvidia has announced that they're working on a second-gen Surface RT with a Tegra 4. So even if the OEMs are (justifiably) wary of Windows RT right now, the plug has not been pulled.

    I think Microsoft should de-bundle Office Home & Student from Windows RT for three reasons:

    (1) It jacks up the price for all the buyers who don't need Office on their tablets...the Surface RT would have sold very differently at a starting price of $375 instead of $500.

    (2) Many of the people who would want to use Office on a tablet already have a license. Like me. Why pay for it twice by buying a Windows RT device whose price includes an Office license?

    (3) It creates the expectation for other Windows 8 buyers that they'll get Office for free too. Which has never been how it works. But when you buy a $900 Surface Pro or a $1400 Vaio Duo 13 convertible tablet, and you don't get Office, but the guy who buys a cheap ol' Dell Windows RT tablet for $300 gets it for free, you feel a bit cheated.
     
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  18. Adama D. Brown

    Adama D. Brown Brighthand Reviewer

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    Actually, I think they shouldn't, but they SHOULD learn that they can't charge $125 for a tablet office suite anymore. These days a "full" Office suite, as opposed to the simpler versions available on Android, is useful to fewer and fewer people. Microsoft should take the hit of realizing they can't fleece tablet users the way they can desktop sales.

    That said, although they're talking a second generation, I think without a serious change in direction Microsoft is throwing good money after bad. Windows RT is in an awkward spot of not being "real" Windows, but also being much more expensive and desktop-esque than most buyers need. They should either come up with a lighter, simpler tablet OS that's on the level with iOS and Android, or else--and arguably the better option--focus on full Windows 8 tablets as a premium item. They would cede the consumer market largely to Android and Apple, but they might be able to eke out a nice niche of premium sales for people who really want/need an actual PC on the go, like IT pros and enterprises.
     
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  19. LandSurveyor

    LandSurveyor LandSurveyor

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    I think the inclusion of Office on the RT was intended to be the differentiator and offset the small initial app market. The main problem is that they didn't sufficiently differentiate between them and the regular laptops. Bad mistake.
     
  20. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

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    @adama--

    The decoupling of Office from RT was assuming they keep RT at all. I don't think they should. With ten inch tablets, I think they should go x86 only. Haswell had been great and Bay Trail should be as well. And even with my first gen Duo 11, when lawyers using iPads plus keyboard docks see what I'm doing, they generally react with awe and envy.

    And then MS should open up WP8 for 7 inch tablets. Windows RT just doesn't work well on smaller tablets, as the recent 8" Acer proves. A WP8 Nokia tablet to poach iPad Mini sales with hipsters would be GREAT, and an Xbox Surface as well to target Xbox folks (both the gamers and the NFL fans).

    From what I've seen, nowadays most people use 7 inch only for content consumption, and a lot of people who still pay for 10 inch models use them for more than just that. Microsoft should capitalize on that distinction.

    Sent from my Galaxy S III using Tapatalk 2.
     
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