Hewlett-Packard’s computing division has been very indecisive as of late, so it should come as no surprise that the company is once again making some odd choices. This time, it’s the decision to opt out of Windows RT tablet and instead solely manufacture tablets running the traditional version of Windows 8.
This decision, the company claims, is based on customer feedback. “The robust and established ecosystem of [Intel-based Windows] applications provides the best customer experience at this time and in the immediate future,” said a company spokesperson.
This is actually true, from an application compatibility perspective. Windows 8 is based on Intel architecture, so it is fully compatible with legacy desktop applications like Office, Photoshop, etc. Windows RT, on the other hand, does not support desktop apps, encouraging the use of Microsoft’s new Metro-style apps on Windows 8 tablets. This might seem like a disadvantage, but ARM-based tablets which support Windows RT will have a longer battery life, faster performance, and do not require the use of fans to cool down the machine. In other words, they’re like an iPad or Android tablet, rather than your traditional tablet PC.
HP’s decision is both good and bad, depending on how you look at it. The optimal route, however, would be to sell both types of tablets. One aimed at consumers who want a true tablet experience and the other aimed at people who want the best of both worlds: full backwards compatibility in a tablet form factor. This is the route Microsoft chose to go with its Surface tablets. That’s not to say that HP won’t create a Windows RT tablet – the company just won’t have one right out of the gate.