Despite market research reports that consistently show a poor reception for Windows RT and even lackluster interest in its big brother, Windows 8, Dell is taking a stand for Microsoft.
Dell still plans "future generations" of its Windows RT tablet, the XPS 10. Neil Hand, Dell vice president, said the new versions would be lighter and faster, but no details or release date was given.
Those plans come despite the fact that Microsoft has its own Windows Surface RT tablet. That's despite reports that Windows Surface Pro tablets were cannibalizing Surface RT models. And that's despite overall slow sales of Windows tablets.
Is Dell making a mistake or will the decision pay off?
Where's the Muscle?
Roger Kay, a senior analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates, said RT was supposed to allow Microsoft to push a modern, updated system that boots quickly, doesn't crash, offers a small footprint and is lightweight.
"So far, Microsoft hasn't put its muscle behind RT. It may get folded back into the main OS, and that puts Microsoft right back where it started," Kay told us. "Within Microsoft, the adage has always been, 'We can't do anything that harms Windows.' Well, if you come out with a lightweight OS that starts to take off, that would do damage to Windows."
Windows RT has much the same look and feel of Windows 8, but is a new operating system for thin and light PCs and tablets using ARM-based processors. But there are elements missing from Windows RT, namely Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center. Outlook is also noticeably missing. And RT will not run legacy Windows apps, so that software you bought for your Windows 7 PC will not run on an RT tablet.
A Missed Opportunity
According to NPD Group, touchscreen laptops account for only 4.5 percent of Windows 8 sales. NPD also reports that the consumer electronics market in general is in a downward cycle, which doesn't help Dell's chances at stellar success with the future XPS 10 tablets.
Windows RT could make a comeback. The software comes with several built-in apps like Mail, People, Messaging, Photos, SkyDrive, Music and Video. Windows RT also comes with Office Home and Student 2013 RT, which provides users with touch-optimized desktop versions of the new Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. But Kay is not convinced.
"With Windows 8 Microsoft really interrupted their momentum," Kay said. "Windows 8 was designed to compete against Apple's OS but it wasn't really a lightweight operating system. Windows 8 gave Microsoft the opportunity to rebrand but it was a change in the usage model and you didn't get the benefits of iOS because RT didn't take off. Instead, you got an old OS reskinned without a Start button. There was confusion, and everyone backed away from it."
Posted: 2013-04-16 @ 12:55pm PT
Poor Dell. They are in a damned-if-they-do/damned-if-they-don't situation, just like Nokia. Microsoft's ambitions to compete with Apple by preying upon the good-will of their own loyal customers will be the undoing of both Dell & Nokia.