SOFTWARE HOUSE Microsoft has said its upcoming Windows RT will be loaded on laptops and tablets, claiming it is the "most compatible" ARM operating system.
Microsoft's Windows 8 will be the first time the firm has launched a desktop operating system that supports the ARM architecture, albeit with the Windows RT branding. Now the firm has said that laptops and tablets will feature Windows RT and called it the most compatible ARM operating system.
Erwin Visser, senior director of Microsoft's Windows Commercial Business Group said, "Windows RT devices in tablet and laptops will run all the apps from the Windows store. It will also include [Microsoft] Office components like Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Onenote and support a large amount of PC peripherals through in-box class drivers. Relative to other ARM offerings in the market, Windows RT will be the most compatible ARM offering on the market."
When The INQUIRER asked Visser what he meant by "most compatible" Visser replied, "Taking into acount ARM is a completely new processor architecture and what we're focused on is a couple of things to help enterprise customers embrace Windows RT. [...] All the Windows 8 apps that run on x86 will also run on Windows RT." Visser also cited inclusion of in-box drivers for PC hardware, something that is largely missing from both Android and IOS devices.
Visser also said users can side-load applications on Windows RT devices, meaning the Windows Store isn't the only source of applications. When we asked whether this could be a security risk Visser said, "In the case of side-loading apps, the app will be certified through the enterprise IT organisation."
As for why Microsoft will allow side-loading applications in Windows RT, apparently that is what big business wants. Visser said, "If you think about apps that are used internally, so not apps that are built by enterprises for their consumers or customers but apps that support internal processes, customers do not want to put those apps - because they always have some competitive advantage - in the Windows App Store, which is a public place. So they want to keep those apps within their own infrastructure and [with] side-loading they can still load them on Windows x86 and Windows RT systems."
Microsoft's history of not relying on a central app store in its operating systems could be just the flexibility firms want rather than being shackled to app stores run by Apple or Google.
However Microsoft has to hope that its device partners will create Windows RT devices that people actually want, because - despite Apple's uncooperative nature - IOS and Android devices have already made their way into the enterprise. µ