New Microsoft Tablet OS Not Compatible with Windows 8, Supports Limited Apps

  • Charlotte Dunlap
    Charlotte Dunlap

    Mass confusion has risen among the Windows developer community over new OS Microsoft RT

  • Microsoft RT is not backwards compatible, so popular desktop apps won’t port to this environment anytime soon

Microsoft is feeding a frenzy of confusion among developers that are questioning the implications of incompatible Windows operating systems (OS) used between laptop and mobile devices. The company is not making it any easier for enterprise developers to fulfill their new mobile requirements because of the limitations of the company’s latest mobile device OS. The trouble is, while Windows 8 will run regular PC and desktop software, Windows RT cannot run those same x86/64 and desktop apps. And Windows RT is the only OS that currently runs on the upcoming Microsoft Surface tablet.

There is a lot of buzz around the new tablet, but Windows RT makes it a major buzzkill. The new OS is a stripped down version of Windows 8, i.e., it’s the same OS, but without backwards compatibility. That’s a real issue for tablet users that want to use their current applications with the device, which has very limited application support. Adding further confusion, the native apps for Windows 8’s Metro (modern) UI aren’t the same as those running under the “classic’’ mode in Windows 8. The new Microsoft RT OS runs on an ARM chip, while the more complete Windows 8 Pro runs on Intel’s multi-core processors. As businesses make strategic decisions on which platforms to develop for, they’ve got to factor in the fact that no single app will run across Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and Windows RS. The only apps available on Windows RT are the ones listed via the Marketplace, and popular desktop and laptop apps are not going to be ported to this environment anytime soon.


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