Surface RT: Microsoft should have waited

The first reviews for Surface RT are in and, while there seems to be an appreciation for its hardware features, including its various keyboard covers, most reviewers are disappointed with its software selection, advising readers to wait or at even pass. As I noted in my most recent Switched On column, Windows RT is the tougher test of the appeal of the Windows 8-style environment as it lacks backward compatibility with most desktop-style apps.

Surface RT is making the same mistakes the HP Touchpad and BlackBerry PlayBook did.

One way to look at Surface is Microsoft trying to get ahead of the market and making a validation statement: “Windows RT is viable, and here is how we’re supporting it.” But perhaps Microsoft really expects Surface RT to have an impact this holiday season. In that case, the Surface RT paradox is that Microsoft, far behind in the tablet market, needs to make up ground quickly and that Surface RT is not yet a compelling option from a software perspective. Arriving before Windows 8 has an opportunity to build volume, Surface RT is making the same mistakes the HP Touchpad and BlackBerry PlayBook did.

The difference is that things won’t stay that way. Had Microsoft held off, say, a year on releasing an ARM version of Windows after allowing enough time for a critical mass of “Windows 8-style” apps to build on Windows 8, then Surface RT would be a much more compelling product; that will surely be the case next year.

  
Posted in Operating Systems, Tablets and Slates | Tagged , ,