Information workers want Windows-based tablets, despite Surface's troubles

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Information workers would prefer to have a Windows-based tablet, despite problems with Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Surface tablet.

According to a study by Forrester, one-third of information workers said they want a Windows operating system on their next work tablet, up from a current 2 percent using a Windows-based tablet.

Forrester surveyed 9,766 information workers in 17 countries, according to a report by CIO magazine. Overall, the number of tablets used at work is predicted to reach 905 million by 2017, according to Forrester.

But the Surface has been receiving some negative reviews recently. As noted in a previous FierceMobileIT article, the Windows RT OS, which runs on the cheaper Surface tablets, is not compatible with earlier Windows apps.

"The new [Windows RT] 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," said Current Analysis analyst Charlotte Dunlap.

Windows RT runs on an ARM chip, while Windows 8 runs on an Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) multi-core processor; this difference heightens the app compatibility issues for the two operating systems.

The ARM-based Windows RT tablet was "DOA," said Neil McAllister of The Register.

"The problem is that Microsoft chose to launch Surface based on an ARM processor running Windows RT, a misguided stab at a tablet-centric user experience that hoped to capture something of what made Apple's iPad so successful. Instead, Redmond delivered an oddly hobbled OS that's neither fish nor fowl, one that falls somewhere between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8--but with the advantages of neither," McAllister wrote.

The pricier Windows 8 Pro Surface that comes with an Intel chip, which is being released this week, is supposed to solve the ARM-based problems with Windows RT, but at a much higher price point--$899 without a keyboard.

But that too has been getting some bad reviews.

Mary Jo Foley with ZDNet said: "I keep scratching my head over who Microsoft expects to buy the Surface Pro. It's not as good of a tablet, in terms of weight/battery life, as the Surface RT is."

So while information workers want a Windows-based tablet, Microsoft does not seem able to deliver one that will attract those workers.

For more:
- see CIO article
- check out Foley's blog

Related Articles:
Analysis: Why Windows RT was doomed from the start
Windows RT app incompatibility could be Surface 'buzzkill'