With the coming Launch of Microsoft’s Surface RT and future Surface Pro tablet, there’s been a lot of confusion about which programs, applications, apps, and games will or won’t work on Windows RT. Compatibility is something to seriously consider before making the purchase – as if the switch to Windows 8 won’t be enough to think about. This chart helps it break down and give you less to think about when you’re about to pull the trigger and buy it.
What is the Difference Between Surface Pro & Surface RT?
Microsoft Surface RT and Pro tablets represent the company’s first venture into producing consumer computer hardware as its transitioning to a software and devices company. With the two tablets being so strikingly similar in appearance, including the OS, it’s difficult for consumers to realize what they actually can or can’t do with the Windows RT version of Windows 8.
Windows RT runs on a different type of microprocessor called ARM, while majority of desktop PC’s run on x86 or x64 systems. Because of the different type of processor architecture, some programs that run on x86/x64 can’t run on ARM. The Microsoft Surface RT runs only on ARM processors, and it’s because of that that most programs that you have on your desktop cannot run on Windows RT; they just weren’t designed to.
That means that a lot of your programs, applications, and games that you are familiar with on your desktop/laptop/ultrabook won’t work with the Surface RT. The only types of apps and games that will work on the device are the ones that you exclusively purchase from the Microsoft App Store. Though there is an option to get to the familiar Windows desktop, the only applications that run on there are the ones pre-installed by Microsoft – like Office 2013 RT.
For the Surface Pro, anything that you can use and run on your desktop, laptop, or ultrabook running Windows 8, will run on it. The Surface Pro is basically a laptop or ultrabook replacement, with the same version of Windows 8 Pro as on a laptop or desktop PC. With the great touch or type cover, it’s a very portable and capable platform. You can not only run applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Intuit’s Quicken, and any version of Microsoft Office (not pre-installed), you can play any games that you do on your desktop or laptop.
This is a new way of thinking for Microsoft products. The adoption of Windows 8 will surely be huge since it is Microsoft Windows, but the Surface tablets might have a harder time making a dent in the tablet space against the mammoth Apple iPad or even the flood of Android tablets. Avoiding confused customers in this transition should be a focus for Microsoft and so far, that hasn’t been very clear – especially not for the Surface RT and Windows RT versions of Windows 8.
There are other limitations for Windows RT as well, namely networking and enterprise related, but that wasn’t the audience for this product, and neither is this article 🙂