The Surface RT is a brand new tablet from Microsoft which is expected to launch alongside Windows 8 later this year. It will run Windows RT, a modified version of Windows 8 that is designed to run on ARM architectures. Since it runs on ARM, it isn’t open to “normal” Windows programs, so its success depends heavily on the Windows Store.
Let me emphasize on the word “normal”, the RT will not be able to run the millions of programs your Windows PC can run today. No, it is locked down only to apps in the Windows Store. You won’t be able to download programs like WinRAR or Sony Vegas, as they will not be compatible with the Surface RT.
Look at the Surface RT like an iPad, it is locked down to apps from the App Store, therefore it is unable to run applications developed for Mac. The same stands for Surface RT, although the desktop will be there, it will only serve as a home to Office and your control panel. That’s about it.
So, what would the Surface RT be without a Store, it would just be a tablet with a few stock apps, think about the iPhone when it launched in 2007, it didn’t have an App Store, and therefore it couldn’t run third party apps. The Surface RT will be just like that if the Windows Store didn’t exist, this is why the Surface RT depends heavily on the success of the Windows Store.
If the Windows Store doesn’t succeed, then we can surely expect the Surface RT to fail miserably, much like the HP TouchPad did. Currently, the HP TouchPad stands as absolutely useless when it comes to apps from the App Store, there isn’t anything there.
Let’s be honest, taking a look at the Windows Store today isn’t very interesting, there are very few apps, and most aren’t very practical. If this doesn’t change soon, the Surface RT will defiantly follow in the footsteps of the HP TouchPad.
The Surface Pro doesn’t need to worry about this as much as the RT does, as the Pro can run the millions of Windows programs already around the web. It will just have one useless app, the Store.
If you looking to buy a Surface RT just for surfing the web and checking email, then it will serve you greatly, even if the Windows Store is a failure.
So the Surface RT depends heavily on the Windows Store, this is a very good reason why you shouldn’t purchase one at launch, give it a few weeks to see what people say, and see how the Windows Store develops. Sure, Microsoft probably have a good line of apps waiting for the official launch of Windows 8 and RT, but can we expect an explosion of new, interesting apps at launch?
Further reading: Microsoft, Surface, Windows 8, Windows RT