Windows RT Tablet Demo = Yikes

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Windows RT Tablet change orientation

Oh boy – if The Verge’s recent video demo of Windows RT is anything to go by, Microsoft’s upcoming tablets are going to be a flat out disaster. Ross Miller took a tour around a tablet running what they reckon to be a final build of Windows RT and it makes for horror movie style viewing – all that’s missing is a scary soundtrack.

Miller struggles during large parts of the demo to get much of anything done easily with the supposedly touch interface of the tablet – including when trying to use the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet app. From early on in the demo he mentions things like …

Clearly it’s more optimized for keyboard and mouse.

The touch menus are really not suitable for touch.

Those are always good things to hear when working with a supposedly touch-based tablet.

The tablet has no accelerometer and changing the orientation via a tiny menu item looks like far from a barrel of laughs – you can check that out at about the 2:10 – 2:40 section of the video.

Dear God I hope there’s an easier way of doing it …

Miller repeatedly gets switched to ‘classic mode’ when trying to do something and concludes that if you’re going to do anything even pseudo-serious you’re going to need a mouse and keyboard.

Check out the video (linked above) and see what you think. I think unless RT tablets are going to be near 100% different to this by release time then they’re going to be yet another huge failure for Microsoft in the mobile arena.


Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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14 thoughts on “Windows RT Tablet Demo = Yikes”

  1. Yes, well…

    …actually I think the iPad should be more like OSX and support a mouse and have drop down menus. it would be a lot more useful and usable.

  2. It will be interesting to see how this all falls out for Microsoft. I’m hearing the exact same thing you mentioned about a tablet with Windows RT, but in reverse with Windows 8 and a desktop/laptop. Almost everything I have read about Windows 8 on a desktop/laptop is that it was made to work more like software for a tablet and that the computer experience is horrible due to a minimalist approach to icons/spacing, lack of menu bar, etc.

    Could Microsoft shoot itself in the foot on both the tablet front and the desktop/laptop front at the same time by trying to make a seamless interface between devices, which aren’t totally optimized for either?

    1. I think I’ve seen some of those reports on the Windows 8 desktop experience too. Honestly, I wouldn’t put it past Microsoft to end up with that sort of result. I think they’ve lost their way to a large degree over the last 5-10 years, and certainly when it comes to the mobile space.

  3. This was quite misleading…. desktop mode isn’t meant to be “tablet-mode” – that’s what the metro UI and apps are for.

    Desktop mode is PC-mode, which is obviously better handled with a keyboard and mouse. In tablet-mode, Windows 8 is more enjoyable than my ipad and more useful too, as things integrate better with each other, like a PC.

    I should mention that I have an MSI 110w tablet running windows 8 rp and it includes both an accelerometer (for screen rotation) and a little mouse thingy built right onto the tablet. Just because samsung didn’t include these features, doesn’t mean Windows 8 is to blame.

  4. Even as Apple fanboy trolling goes, this is pretty ridiculous. Trying to use what is clearly the PC-centric desktop mode on a tablet is shock…not going to work very well. Though yeah, looking for honest journalism on competing products from ipadinsight.com is a bit of a wasted effort anyway.

      1. “Ok Fireblade – if it’s such a PC-centric mode what’s it doing on the tablet?”

        Offering the user pc-capabilities! LOL I use my tablet in desktop mode while it’s on a stand on my desk, and I control it with a mini bluetooth keyboard.

        If I’m using it as a tablet, then I simply use tablet apps (“metro ui” apps). The fact that I have an option for a desktop mode makes this the most useful tablet in the home or office.

        1. Fair enough Dan. Sounds like it works quite well in desktop mode, but seriously watch that video and tell me that it works well in what I would call normal tablet mode. It just doesn’t and even the flagship Microsoft Office seems just about useless in ‘tablet mode’. So for what I’m seeing so far this is still MIcrosoft wanting everything to be more of a PC – and my guess is that strategy is not going to work out well in years to come.

          1. The video doesn’t show “tablet mode”… it only focused on the desktop.

            I haven’t tried office as I use google docs, so I can’t comment on that. I can say that office apps made for android and ipad are NOT intuitive or easy to use with a touch interface, and they offer maybe 1/10th the power of MS Office. Keyboard & mouse for any spreadsheet, word processor, presentation project is a must.

    1. @Dan I’d agree with you on spreadsheets – they’re definitely a bit of a challenge to use on a touch interface. Word processor apps I think should be somewhat less of a challenge. Also, Keynote is a spectacularly good app for presentations and it is 110% great to use on the iPad. I’ve created 50+ slide presentations entirely in Keynote and found it an absolute pleasure to use.

      1. Your right… presentations are pretty easy to make on a touch device. Unfortunately, writing multi-page word documents is tedious on a tablet without a keyboard (for many people).

        1. Yup, granted on the multi-page documents, though a lot depends on how much you have used an on-screen keyboard and how good your Bluetooth keyboard is. I’ve seen some terrible BT keyboards with near zero spacing between keys, and of course I’ve got to where I’m pretty quick and comfortable with the on-screen keyboard. I hope the Surface tablets’ keyboards work as well as they looked like they should when first demoed.

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