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Microsoft's Tablets Re-Surface With Hardware Bump; Same OS Issues

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By William Peacock, Esq. on September 24, 2013 1:08 PM

Last year, Microsoft released two tablets: the Surface RT and the Surface Pro. The latter was a competent machine, with top-of-the-line specs and an installation of full-featured Windows 8, capable of running desktop tablets. It was also quite pricey, and had poor battery life. The former was cheaper, based on low-power ARM processors, and ran it's own operating system: Windows RT.

Both flopped, but the RT tablet flopped so badly that Microsoft had to take a $900 million loss on unsold inventory, and slash prices to empty their warehouses. We warned you to stay far, far away from these tablets with limited utility.

And then yesterday, Microsoft released the sequel, which in all likelihood, will be just as bad as the original.

The Problem With RT

Anyone who has watched the Windows circus progress can diagnose the issues with Windows RT. Engadget does a full recounting, but here is the short version:

  • There are no apps for the RT version of Windows, yet it looks exactly like it's full-featured counterpart.
  • The marketing has centered around mocking Siri and the iPad, or clicking on a keyboard, but hasn't shown hasn't what the tablet's strengths are -- built in Microsoft Office. It's a $450 word processor, to put it simply.
  • There is no need for a half-functional Windows RT anymore, as Intel has released new processors (Bay Trail) that are efficient enough to run full-featured Windows.
  • Every other company that promised to release Windows RT-based tablets has either cancelled plans, or canceled products after release.

Surface Resurfacing

Two new Surface tablets were announced yesterday: the Surface 2 (RT) and the Surface 2 (Pro). The former got thinner, faster, and a better display, but still runs an operating system with no apps, and costs $450. The Pro model is a fully-functioning computer, with truly great specs, at $899, and might be worth considering, as it runs actual Windows.

If you're in the market for a budget machine, perhaps for when you're traveling, or checking cases in the courthouse, or for your child at school, we'd recommend waiting a short while longer. With Intel's new Bay Trail architecture, the previously slow and moderately-thirsty Atom chips for netbooks have become quicker and incredibly efficient.

In a few months, you could get the all-day battery life, and decent performance, in a machine that costs only a few hundred dollars and that runs actual Windows and all of your existing applications.

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