Lenovo is the latest company that seems to be washing its hands of Windows RT. When Microsoft announced it was working on a version of its desktop operating system that would run on low-power ARM-based processors, it was pretty big news.

ARM chips were dominating the smartphone and tablet space at the time (and still are, for the most part), and supported some pretty slick features including instant-on, always-connected devices with long battery life.

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11

But a funny thing happened between the time Microsoft started working on Windows RT and the time it arrived: Intel kind of caught up. You can find tablets and notebooks with Intel Atom or even Intel Core processors that offer around 10 hours of battery life, quick-boot times, and other ARM-like features.

And those devices run the full version of Windows 8, complete with support for desktop apps written for Windows 7 and earlier. So why would anyone choose Windows RT.

It seems like the answer is that they wouldn’t. Lenovo discontinued its one and only Windows RT tablet this summer, and the company says it has no plans to make a new one. Asus has already pulled out of the Windows RT space. And Microsoft took a $900 million write-down on unsold Surface RT inventory in order to lower prices and try to move remaining units.

Here’s a roundup of tech news from around the web.

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9 replies on “Lilbits (9-05-2013): Lenovo’s done with Windows RT”

  1. I could only hope everybody and dog would just drop surface RT, but it seems ms is resurrecting it for round 2…

    1. MS doesn’t have much choice right now if they want to get further into the mobile market. Besides WP, RT is their only other product that will run on ARM.

      So, at the very least they have to hedge their bets and not rely on Intel succeeding in the mobile market to ensure a place for them there…

      Intel is kind of hedging their bets too with Tizen, Linux desktop Support, Android, etc.

      While MS is on record stating they will support RT for at least 3 years… but if Intel succeeds in getting significant share of the mobile market then that may end sooner but till then MS needs to keep its options open and given time they may actually make RT into something people would want… it’s just not there yet…

    1. I’ve heard Lenovo and Asus are dropping RT…everybody else is probably taking a wait-and-see attitude

  2. Really, when you can use Intel, why would you use ARM in a consumer device like a tablet?

    AMD really needs to catch up now.

    1. Same reasons most of the mobile market still uses ARM… So MS doesn’t really have much choice as long as ARM dominates the mobile market…

      Mind, ARM is rapidly improving… we’re less than a year now from when they’ll start making the switch to full 64bit architecture and scaling up performance and capabilities and Intel has yet to show it can maintain a performance lead and still compete on power efficiency and cost with ARM.

      So, it’s not a obvious choice for everyone making mobile devices to just switch to Intel…

      While legacy support will eventually not matter as newer apps take over and ModernUI apps will be mostly cross platform compatible… So there’s a possibility RT may eventually develop enough to overcome its early issues.

      And yes, AMD needs to catch up but they may go the Nvidia route and just license ARM processors and combine it with their GPUs…

      1. Yes, AMD has licensed the 64-bit Cortex-A57 (and A53?) core, to be used in future chips for servers and possibly APU’s as well.

        1. It’s a custom implementation but yes, just a question of whether they’ll push that for their consumer range as well or not…

    2. Why wouldn’t you? Android and IOS are already established in the field, with a large library of software. They are arguably better consumer level OS than windows, OSX, and Linux.

      Pricing is probably better on ARM chips and there are multiple sources that offer a bewildering array of choices of CPU, GPU and radio hardware. Intel doesn’t offer integrated radio hardware yet.

      A reason to use Intel is if you want to create a business-class tablet, something where people are more interested in productivity than media consumption, something with a fuller OS than Android or IOS,
      To take advantage of existing libraries of x86 software that is not easily replaced.

      AMD is catching up with their Temash/Kabini but I’m a little concerned about AMD’s finances and that the architecture is not scaling well. They put out 2 APUs and no word on any others.

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