Microsoft may put Windows RT out of its misery soon

Toshiba 50L1350U 50' 1080p 120Hz LED HDTV

Betting pools on when Windows RT will officially be killed off are now open, tech fans. Microsoft's ready to acknowledge that three consumer operating systems is at least one too many.

That's what Microsoft Devices lead Julie Larson-Green told the crowd at a recent technology conference. 'We have the Windows Phone OS. We have Windows RT and we have full Windows,' she said. 'We're not going to have three.' Obviously, Green didn't specify which OS was on the chopping block or when it was going to happen, but it's pretty clear that Windows RT is the odd OS out.

Windows RT was built for tablets, of course, but not for all tablets. Just those running an ARM processor. It was a bold move by Microsoft, and one that was supposed to yield some truly amazing devices that provided most of the Windows experience while still offering battery life that rivaled the iPad and Android tablets. The first generation of x86 Windows 8 tablets couldn't compete when it came to endurance, but that's no longer the case. The second-gen Haswell processors and Intel's much-improved Bay Trail Atom have made it possible for OEMs like Dell, HP, and Microsoft themselves to offer up the full Windows experience on a tablet without sacrificing battery life.

They're also able to do it at competitive prices - just look at the Dell Venue 8 Pro. It's priced well below the iPad mini at $299, and Dell has managed to pack in a 1.8GHz quad-core Atom, 2GB of RAM, a 10-hour battery, and Microsoft Office Home and Student. Tablets like this are only going to become more common, and there's no reason manufacturers should continue confusing their retail customers by selling crippled Windows RT tablets alongside their Windows models. Not when Intel-powered tablets have matched their ARM cousins for price and endurance while still trumping them with full-blown Windows 8 and legacy app and game support.

If Larson-Green sticks to her word, we'll see Windows RT headed to the same dark corners where Microsoft eventually tossed the Kin.

Now read: Future Surface tablets may have touch-sensitive bezels and rear casing


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