Windows RT is the stripped down version of Windows 8 designed for computers with ARM-based processors.
We already knew that the Asus Tablet 600 with Windows RT was in the works. But this is the first time Microsoft has confirmed that other device makers are developing Windows RT devices.
Microsoft has also confirmed that Windows RT isn’t just for tablets. It will also support a keybaord and touchpad — which could include tablets with docking stations or traditional clamshell-style notebooks.
Unlike Windows 8, Windows 7, or most earlier versions of Windows, you won’t be able to pick up any old tablet and install Windows RT on it. Instead the operating system will come preloaded — and it will stay there, much like the iOS operating system on an iPad.
Windows RT will look a lot like Windows 8, with the same Start Screen, Store, and other features. But Windows RT devices won’t be able to run older apps designed for Windows computers with x86 processors.
Microsoft is developing a new Windows RT version of Office, and we’ll likely see some other big name apps for the platform soon.
Meanwhile, since these devices will have low power ARM-based chips, they’ll have some features you’d expect to see in smartphones or tablets rather than laptop computers. That includes long battery life for viewing movies, web surfing, or other activities — and hundreds of hours of connected standby time (allowing you to download email messages and other status updates from the internet while the screen is off).