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Microsoft thinks people want ultra-portable headaches

Android dudes
Android dudes (Image credit: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central)

A while back I mentioned that having a third company make a big splash in mobile was sorely needed. Apple and Google holding all the chips isn't good for anyone except Apple and Google. It was clear then, and still is now, that only one company can afford to keep trying — Microsoft. But their latest news about putting Windows 10 on ARM-powered tablets and convertibles, and rumored to come to phones, is just another way to spend money building things people probably won't want to buy.

To be fair, they have to do something. Intel is done building low-power (and low-performing) chips designed for always-on mobile things. The future will move away from the desktop model we currently have (Steve jobs' computer equals truck analogy will come true, just much later than he thought) and Microsoft's history of trying to reinvent themselves in mobile has been less than spectacular. Windows as it exists on a phone or tablet, as well as Continuum, are ideas nobody asked for. I don't have an answer and don't claim to have ever had any. Luckily, guiding Microsoft's mobile ambitions isn't my job. Critiquing them while unable to do any better is. But I do have a pretty good idea of what the consumer buying public-at-large is spending their dollars on, and more of the same from Windows on a small touch device doesn't fit in with it.

This was a bad idea in 2011 and it's a bad idea now.

This was a bad idea in 2011 and it's a bad idea now.

If people really were jonesing to run full blown desktop Adobe photoshop on a touch screen tablet, Adobe would be making it for the iPad (and iPad sales wouldn't be shrinking.) Adding a detachable keyboard and calling a 10-inch tablet something besides a tablet doesn't change that. Shrinking the experience down to 6 or 7 inches and telling people they can use a keyboard, mouse and HDMI cable certainly doesn't improve anything. Having a very expensive and very nice slim laptop with a great input pen that can run Photoshop the way it was intended makes sense and people who need Photoshop at that level surely appreciate the experience on the new Surface the same way they do on the new MacBook. The same goes for Turbo Tax and Quicken, Microsoft Access 2016, AutoCad and any of the other crazy things that have been touted as something people want to do and make the new new Windows portables the best ever. (I stopped reading comments and Tweets when someone said Visual Studio.)

The Codeweavers app lets you run Photoshop on an ASUS Zenfone if you want to — and nobody wants to.

Right about now, half of the people reading this disagree and are ready to express that in the comments. I get it, but people who visit tech blogs on weekends are hardly a representation of the average consumer. Folks still buying tablets as well as people buying phones are looking for something more simple than the computer they left at the office Friday at quitting time. Instead of Steam and Civ 6, they want Temple Run with Mario when it comes to something small they hold in their hands. The same goes for Photoshop — the experience for iOS and Android is good but it can get a little complicated. Yet it's miles away from what you would see on Windows 10. People are buying devices that are cheap and easy to use. Apple and Google see this and are trying to make things even more simple. The things that tech-savvy folks think of as dumbing down are the very same things that let people not worry about how to do things and instead, they can just do them.

I don't know what Microsoft should do to prepare for the end of the desktop cash cow. But I know what isn't likely to sell.

I'm not saying this is a good thing, but it is a thing. I don't want to see OS X turn into MacOS (for example) but Apple isn't making products that Jerry wants to buy; they are making products that most people want to buy. Marshmallow did some things better than Nougat does for this power-user nerd. Microsoft hanging on to their legacy of desktop software to drive a new mobile strategy may be cool to some of us, but I think an iPad or Chromebook is going to be a better choice for most people because they are simple and do all the things most people want.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • This article makes it sound as if Windows is nothing but headaches. If that's so, why is Windows the dominant operating system for PCs? Why would being able to do the same things on your mobile device that you can do on any desktop/laptop PC be bad, or a "headache"? This article is the ONLY one I've seen ANYWHERE that has a negative opinion on this subject.
  • Amen. I was just getting ready to reply with the exact words. What Microsoft has accomplished is nothing short of amazing and to say that no one wants this is just ridiculous.
  • Well jerry is an electric engineer and has most of his time spent in linux, so that is why he comes as a android lover, as that is what he knows best and what he likes so I believe windows would be a headache to him. Plus on the phone where things need to be simple (he said he mostly uses phone as a phone) I guess windows would be complicated.
    But that said I do definitely want to buy one to test it.
    It's should be better than win rt.
  • I agree, RT was a disaster. I respect his choices and opinion but to say Windows is a "headache" and "it's holding on to it's last" is a little foolish. If anything Linux to a normal user is a headache. I'm not attached to any company and or product but I see the future with this and to imagine using my phone on the go and then connecting it to a dock that increases it gpu power, adds more ram, and connects my keyboard / mouse would be amazing. Again, I'm simply criticizing his (in my opinion) narrow view on this.
  • I'm using a Windows computer right now. I use one regularly when it's the right tool for the job.   I didn't claim Windows on the desktop is a headache (some think so, but nothing pleases everyone). It's not my favorite way to computer, but it's a fine desktop operating system.  It should stay as one. nothing on this computer would be a good experience on a mobile device. nothing on this computer was designed to be a good experience on a mobile device.  Microsoft should use this chance to reinvent the future like they did with Windows 3.1 and the Xbox instead of trying to shoehorn their existing products into a new space.
  • Well said
  • Exactly
  • It seems your assuming x86 support on ARM means people will be using desktop apps on the small screen. That's not the point of x86 support. It opens the door for technologies like Continuum and users like pro-consumers and the Enterprise. But in my opinion (and I'm no expert) it opens the door to emulation - think about the development tools Microsoft has aquired. And then think about the possibilities of emulation and projects that were cancelled on Windows Phone in the past... As for your statement nobody asked for it, well, nobody asked for Apple to make the iPhone. Nobody asked for Facebook. And nobody asked your opinion but we got one...
  • "If I gave people what they wanted, they'd all be riding around on faster horses." - Henry Ford
  • I respect that point of view Jerry, Microsoft is trying to put whatever ace it has on the table so they can expand on mobile. But I don't think Jerry is getting the point that Microsoft is trying to make (or this maybe my reading/thinking into it). MS is looking at the future as in the movie Her where the same OS is all the devices and interconnected and with all your data. There is no discrimination in computer sizes, but instead in screen sizes, depending what you need you use the computer for. Plug in a tv for a big screen. In a monitor as a desktop working station and etc. But Jerry sees them all different and wants it to be separate. Whereas I believe in the future there will only be a single device with different screens to connect to depending on what you want to do.
  • Almost. I see one OS that runs somewhere in the cloud and the right way to interface with it is based on how you're doing the interfacing. A touch-friendly interface from a small handheld. A simple menu-driven interface when using a game controller. An event and menu interface when using a mouse and keyboard. A predictive way to interface when using your voice. The same data and results need to match the use case. We'll be there in 10 years at the most.
  • Well Microsoft is the closest to it with Windows 10 than either Apple or Google. So I don't know why you dislike Microsoft for doing this. Microsoft is wanting to do that with Windows 10 in Xbox, phone, computer, tablet and IOTs. And it's the same OS as a core, not forked. After they do this with Windows 10 then maybe they'll goto cloud OS.
  • To Jerry's comments, if there's anyone that has had to navigate a Surface tablet outside of the touch friendly shell without a physical mouse and keyboard, they can understand how painful it is. The on-screen keyboard is erratic and disappears at random. God forbid if you have to get into control panel, administrative settings, registry, command line, you get the point. Windows still doesn't have everything in the touch-friendly environment accessible to the user without jumping into regular Windows view to accomplish those tasks.
    So yes, when Photoshop for Windows tries to fit everything on the screen within reach, the icons and anything else clickable are impossible to touch accurately because they are so tiny. You can use the stylus, but that's not what Jerry's original piece is about. One major point of the iPhone never having a stylus or physical keyboard was to show that we can move forward with touch technology using only your finger.
  • Isn't a smaller, slower "horse" exactly what Microsoft is trying to sell on mobile though?
  • I don't disagree with all of your points, but you really did ask for his opinion just by coming to the site and clicking the post...
  • That's the best reply to an AC article I'v read in a long time. It just makes Jerry's article & his opinion as truly ridiculous as they are.
  • You really think Microsoft has the right approach and their spiral into irrelevance will be halted by emulating x86 programs on ARM?
  • Microsoft's "spiral into irrelevance"? What planet are you living on?!
  • I couldn't agree more. Although windows 10 is an improvement, it's still a very mouse and keyboard OS. The moment you try use a normal win 32 app on a touch screen device, it is painfully obvious. Touch isn't precise enough to navigate some menus designed for a mouse. Windows 10 is still full of those legacy menus. You compare it to an OS designed for touch, and the difference is amazing.
  • Windows 10 is still very much a mouse & keyboard driven operating system because that's what consumers demanded. They "revolted" when Windows 8 was released, and its sales plummeted compared to Windows 7.
  • Clearly you don't understand UWP. Android makes for a horrible mouse and keyboard OS. Microsoft's problem in the reverse. Scaling up or down for the screen size isn't Microsoft's play here. Business is still and will be for the foreseeable future a large screen, mouse and keyboard world. Have you tried using Excel on a small phone touch screen? Do people type up large 20 page reports with graphs and illustrations on a 10" tablet with touch keyboard? For business, using software that is still x86 on a touch preferred interface (or a tablet for that matter) is not the future, else it would have already shifted that way. Touch is becoming more prevalent and will continue to do so. Each device has a use case and should be used when it is most convenient. Windows has both large screen keyboard and mouse, as well as small screen touch covered. (they are even dabbling in VR and AR so that use case is covered as well.) Windows 10 is still a toddler, but it is growing and improving. It is producing previously unconceived devices. Windows 10 isn't a scaled down desktop on small screens. Rather, a similar experience that adapts to the multitude of interfaces types. Now with ARM support, you have less full devices filled with processors, memory, RAM, etc to buy because you won't need a desktop computer, a tablet computer and a phone computer. You only have to carry one computer and connect it to the interfaces that make the most sense at that moment. A tablet screen that mirrors your phone and adapts through continuum for a tablet experience. A screen, keyboard and mouse with a dock for your desktop experience. Microsoft is about adaptation to any interface. Android is still about phones and tablets.
  • Jerry, I think you missed the point with Windows 10. You assume that it is going to be an identical OS ported to a smaller device. When it is just going to be the core code of Windows 10 OS, to keep things easy to manage and update. It doesn't mean the interface is going to be identical for each device forever. Windows 10 is an exceptionally good OS for which to customize each platform. Just like I wouldn't want Linux desktop on my phone. Oh wait, that is what Android is based on. Just like sits as basis for many devices you would never know they are the same. As just one example. Do you review a phone based on pre-released specs and pictures? I didn't think so. Something tells me as this strategy unfolds, there will be hints of Windows 10, but it won't feel the same as the PC version. You are missing the point of MS is doing, just my opinion.
  • Ok then
  • You have to differentiate between the previous windows OS's (7 & 8) which are the dominant operating systems for PCs and Windows 10 and the push for the mobile/tablet market which is in the minority. Designing a desktop app that will work on a phone and still have reasonable functionality will be a major headache and a waste of time. More time will be used trying to get it to work across vastly different devices than will be used designing a quality product. You either have to dumb down the app so that it can work on a mobile device with limited GUI and means of interacting with it, or else design it to be dumb for the PC. You cannot include the functionality that an app can have on a desktop onto a mobile device, without making the interface absurd to use (you'll have to go to menu, after menu, after menu, after menu to get the same functionality). Either it's going to be dumbed down on the mobile device or dumbed down on the desktop, or just really poor quality, take your pick. As a programmer, it sounds like a massive headache to me.
  • Winner winner chicken dinner! Windows is the dominant operating system. Windows 7, not 10.
  • Yes, Windows 7 is the dominant OS, which is designed for the desktop and comes with no world domination type marketing aspects. Windows 10, comes with high aspirations but is in the minority as a desktop OS (and performing poorly in the market place - a substantial number of users didn't want it even for free). Linux/Unix is actually the dominant OS when all devices are considered. Just the way it is.
  • And yet, you don't hear people complaining about Linux being used in smaller devices as the OS, based on the desktop version. Interesting point. Just as a side note, Windows 10 blows Windows 7 out of the water in technical circles. You can hate Windows 10, but if you took the Windows 7 interface and laid it on top of Windows 10 you would like it, plus it is faster, more efficient, and safer. So what you dislike is really just the interface, not Windows 10 itself, which is fine. Just thought I would point that out.
  • "More time will be used trying to get it to work across vastly different devices than will be used designing a quality product."
    That sounds like Android with it's fragmentation issue. From a totally naïve perspective, (I'm not a developer) I suspect the future unified chromeOS will have tighter controls to prevent the rampant problem of fragmentation. If android does it right, it will be a painful transition for android users when that OS arrives because I suspect that android will be leaving people behind just like Microsoft had to when they migrated from windows 7/RT, to windows 8 and 10. (all android apps are made for small screens, with primarily touch interface. The same headache you mention of desktop app to phone only in reverse. Android developers screaming, why would I make my app desktop compatible when Windows and Apple hold 99% of the desktop market.) If not, I suppose chromeOS will just be a watered down desktop OS to be able to maintain the legacy phone apps compatibility. Good enough for consumer, but not powerful enough for business. Android has the same problem Microsoft had only in reverse. I'm not saying Android can't overcome this obstacle, I am saying it won't be painless. Microsoft may be the bigger ship to turn vs a more agile Android, but Microsoft has made the turn already. While android keeps moving down the same path; at least what they have revealed for their future.
  • I think you hit the nail on the head with this article, totally agree. Let's face it Microsoft's shared OS appears to have failed before it even really started.
  • That shared OS that you're talking about actually, caused the irrelevancy of Android tablets and the rise of Windows on tablets. with 16% of market share and a high profitable market and took almost all Android OEMs with it, something that Android suffers.
  • Windows 10 is barely moving as a product. By Microsoft's own standards, Windows 10 has failed in the market (Microsoft estimated that twice as many people would be on Windows 10 by now). There are fundamental problems with designing an OS that runs on devices with huge differences in capabilities. There is no way of solving these problems without dumbing down the applications on the desktop.
  • 400 million people using Windows 10, is an impressive feat, despite not getting 1 billion on time. UWP, is a way for scaling on multiple devices. Nevertheless, Windows Tablets are rising in sales, profits and market share, whereas Android is declining
  • There are BILLIONS of people using Linux/Unix without even knowing it - two thirds of the servers that run the internet are Linux/Unix. Android is Linux, MacOS is Unix (BSD), you are surrounded by devices that are run by Linux/Unix which people are simply not aware of (including TVs and recorders). If Microsoft wants to lump all devices running Windows 10 into one category and boast about it, it comes a really poor second to the number of devices running Linux/Unix. The UWP is a means of attempting to mitigate the fundamental problems associated with designing software across two hugely different environments. The functionality cannot be translated across the devices in any way without making the 'app' practically impossible to use. You either have to dumb it down for the mobile device, or dumb it down for the desktop or just produce really awful software.
  • What does your contention that "BILLIONS of people use Linux without even knowing it" have to do with anything?! You're taking about COMMERCIAL hardware running Linux; this article is talking about the CONSUMER market. The simple fact of the matter is that Microsoft Windows COMPLETELY dominates the consumer market on personal computers, probably FAR exceeding the combined use of Mac OS and Linux.
  • Microsoft is clearly moving towards the idea that there will be no desktop in the future. They seem to envision a world where you sit down at a terminal and plug your phone/tablet/whatever in and can work in whatever way you desire which for a large majority of people right now includes Win32 apps. I know plenty of people well on their way to being sufficient without a desktop.
  • Exactly. I think the author of this article is confusing continuum for running desktop apps on a small screen. Which would never be the case. Continuum is the future. Microsoft phones will still be phones, unless you hook them up to a larger external display, or lap dock.
  • No, he certainly knows what Continuum is. By the time terminals are widely available, if they ever are, x86 will be completely irrelevant and Android will be in a muh better place with a full app store. Continuum functionality (keyboard, mouse and external display support) has been available in Android for years.
  • As far as I am aware the Atrix was the only phone that was comparable to continuum. But it was not even close to the same technology. Certainly a good starting point. But Motorola didn't really push it, at least not in the way MS seems to be.
    Be early doesn't mean better.
  • Continuum is mouse, keyboard and external display support which has been in Android for years. You can even run multiple apps on screen if you enable Freeform and there are other apps that will change your UI. Android is currently superior when it comes to Continuum. If the single device thing pans out, Google will be leading it, not Microsoft. They do not have the apps/developers to make it happen. x86 isn't going to make it mainstream.
  • This article makes no sense. It assumes that MS is trying to be Google or Apple, and that is clearly no longer the case. MS gave up that strategy a couple years ago. MS is actually having huge success in their new strategy. There is a PC market in the business world, with cloud, and creative devices like the Surface, along with supplementing the use of IOS and Android Apps in the mobile market to bring it all together. I see MS building a future, which in the long hall, Google and Apple will wish they had seen. Funny to think that MS is actually the company innovating here, while Apple chugs along with its dated iPhone and Google focuses on Ad revenue with more and more free services that don't really fit the business world or the growing number of entrepreneur's. It doesn't mean MS isn't going to try some odd things and have a few market misses, but that is better then the "Play it safe" role Google and Apple are taking. I think the author needs to update his knowledge of the products MS is pushing out.
  • Wow, not only did you miss the fact that they are specifically targeting the enterprise sector but you are assuming that this is something people won't want. Everyone said the same about the surface line of devices and yet they are doing really well.
    Look, I love my LG V20 and regularly use an ipad but I'm not dumb enough to say that what Microsoft accomplished will not be successful in the future. What they have done is a game changer period. Give them the credit that they deserve.
  • How is running legacy programs a game changer? There are basically no mainstream x86 programs that do not have a mobile version available. x86 won't drive growth, except maybe in niche use cases where you won't want to be using underpowered ARM chips anyways. This is another non-starter by Microsoft. Windows RT 2.0!
  • They've got a lot more things going on than 'the only thing they've got left'. If anything, they're doing more interesting projects than Google, and especially the new 'me-too' company that is Apple these days. This reads like an article of someone clearly embedded in one camp, who only takes a glancing view of what's going on in others. Things can change in tech very quickly, I love products and services from both MS and Google, and only a fool would dismiss a Juggernaut like Microsoft.
  • I like that you took a strong position. I don't agree with it wholeheartedly, but I see where you are coming from. Personally, I don't think Microsoft is on the cusp of another attempt at competing with Google and Apple in the mobile space.
    What i prefer to think of Microsoft's efforts is that they are trying to push enterprise needs forward into new spaces within their ecosystem instead of ceding this space to Google and/or Apple in the foreseeable future.
    I think Microsoft has actually developed a compelling vision for the future of business computing. Whether it impacts Google and Apple's market share is sort of immaterial at this juncture. If businesses can buy a single device, for instance, that is a work phone and full featured computing platform instead of buying two devices to accomplish the same (which is where many businesses are at this moment) then Microsoft has given them cost savings while securing and possibly increasing their own revenue.
    That's a rare win-win scenario and one of the increasing signs of brilliance coming out of them lately.
    Just some thoughts to consider.
  • I agree with your entire post EXCEPT for this last part: "I think an iPad or Chromebook is going to be a better choice for most people because they are simple and do all the things most people want." No, they won't and they aren't. Which is why iPad sales are sinking and Chromebook sales NEVER went anywhere worldwide. People also don't find Windows "complex". In fact, the vast majority of people around the world grow up learning their computer skills on Windows machines. Not on Macs or Chromebooks. There's nothing "complex" about Windows for the vast majority of people worldwide.
    The "complexity" of Windows is equal to that of Android. The "headaches" caused by Windows are the same (or even less) than those caused by Android. Yet both OS's dominate their respective markets.
    People are NOT stupid.
    That's what Apple wants you to believe. And Apple customers, by all accounts, seem to fit that description. They're also an insignificant minority in the vast scheme of things (lest we remind you Apple's marketshare is miserable both on mobile AND desktop? Windows accounts for over 90% of the desktop market and Android for over 80%. Now you do the maths on the "relevance" of Apple's presence). Apart from that, expanding Windows to ANY sort of device makes sense. HOWEVER people (specially at Windows Central, lead by their often misguided Editor-in-Chief) are putting too much hope and too many dreams into this "Windows 10 ARM".
    Microsoft has had an ARM version of Windows. It was called Windows RT and it flopped. Why? Because it was useless.
    It couldn't run powerful programs because those are x86 and, because it relied on the Windows store, it had no apps (just like WP went nowhere). This Windows 10 ARM will NOT be any different. Emulation? Windows RT was able to do that too. In fact, some folks built an emulator for the Surface RT called "Win86Emu". However, because the device was under-powered and locked down, it couldn't expand.
    This Windows 10 ARM will have the emulator built in but the question remains: who will allow their programs to be emulated? Most developers won't likely allow it. IF Microsoft had been able to put full blown Windows 10 unto a portable device, that might have been significant. But then Intel cancelled all of that.
    Eventually they will as tech evolves and if necessary Microsoft will likely build their own chips. Perhaps 10 years from now. THEN, the offer of having a full blown PC in your pocket will appeal to everyone because the "complicated" machine (which isn't complicated to anyone, really, so stop trying to pretend it is) they had at work can accompany them everywhere and transform itself unto a portable device.
    THAT might be appealing to the average Joe who will then NOT have to pay for two machines - a proper PC and a weaker version (phone or tablet or both) - and can have only one device.
    However, NONE of that will be on ARM. Windows is not an OS for ARM devices.The future is NOT on ARM, no matter how hard some people want to believe it is. The future will be more and more divided between dumb-devices (smartphones, tablets) and smart-devices (computers). And ARM is just trying to evolve their chips to make them as powerful as Intel chips. Well, guess what? For that, there's already Intel chips. ARM chips will eventually reach a point that they've become so powerful and expensive that their current advantages over Intel chips will vanish. Then what? Well, then Intel will still have the upper hand as they understand powerful chips much better than ARM does. However, no matter what, Microsoft does NOT understand mobile. That's their biggest problem, shown not only by the failure of Windows Phone but also by how they butchered the mobile experience on Windows 10. The Surface was a 2-in-1 on Windows 8.1. The touch experience was easy then. With Windows 10 it became a laptop with a detachable keyboard.
    And the Windows apps? Still going nowhere, much thanks to Microsoft.
    The UWP is by all accounts a complete failure.
    And this "Windows 10 ARM" and the building-in of the emulator into it just gives developers yet another reason to not bother with Windows apps. What for? They can continue building their x86 programs and be done with it. Oh and worth noting, the World doesn't begin and end with Adobe products. Want a good example of an x86 program? Google Chrome. Which happens to be the most used browser on Windows. Google does NOT offer Chrome in the Windows store. They could do it and have people for example on the Xbox using it.
    So to have a Windows ARM device that might work with consumers, Microsoft will have to make sure they can emulate simple stuff like Chrome. Otherwise it will be just as dead as Windows RT and Windows Phone are. I just don't think it will work out that well.
    Microsoft would do better to continue to try to work things out with Google and other developers instead of finding ways around them.
    Because one thing I can clearly foresee: if the emulation tools are open to anyone, Microsoft might be throwing itself into a sea of legal problems. This is the conundrum that makes Microsoft not succeed outside their existing strongholds. To succeed on mobile currently they either need to bring on developers or all sizes or to be able to work around that with these emulation schemes.
    I doubt any of them will work.
    Microsoft will have a mobile future. But they'll need technology that isn't available yet. Until then, they'd be better off making sure Windows is up to snuff for when that technology arrives instead of waiting for it to arrive and then try to develop Windows around it.
  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but I read where they won't be using an emulation layer on ARM this go around. Also, I strongly disagree with your assertion that Windows 10 Mobile "butchered" the mobile experience. I use an Android phone as my daily driver because of the app gap, but around the house, I go back to my Lumia Icon running Win10Mo. I actually find that OS to be the best of the three, personally. JMO.
  • Blackberry and Blend were the best. It's a shame they conceded at the will of John Chen. Android's lack of native continuity is really a drag.
  • The concept behind what they presented is similar to what they already did on the Xbox One with the emulation of 360 games. ARM processors can't run the normal 64 bit Windows 10 like the Xbox One couldn't run 360 games due to different architectures. However, the emulator built into the OS can. So when Microsoft showed the 64 bit Enterprise edition of Windows 10 running on an ARM device, that was running on an emulator. It remains to be seen how they'll ship any of these devices but they could put them opening directly into the emulator and never run anything other than an emulated version of Windows 10.
  • The way I understand it, any 32-Bit Win32 application will work transparently on Windows 10 ARM just like on Windows 10 x86, nothing at all required from the developer, so it's not a matter of whether a developer will "allow" their software to be emulated. You argue that Windows RT could emulate, too, but the situation is entirely different, as the devices were locked down, even if they could be unlocked in theory, in practice you couldn't expect anyone to and by the time the emulator would have been done, the system was already dead. Windows 10 ARM sets this right by being exactly as open as Windows 10 x86 from the outset.
  • All the legacy applications will run on emulation. In fact, they'll be emulating the entire OS. In the presentation that's what they did. When they talked about applications working transparently, they were talking about them running on the 64bit version of Windows 10 that they were emulating. So, if they ship the devices with the ARM version of Windows 10 only, none of the applications will work. I think they won't do that and they'll ship any device with an emulated version of "real" Windows 10. I don't think they'll be shipping a user-facing ARM version of Windows again like Windows RT.
    However, so far, we know nothing. There are no devices yet, nothing. We can only speculate.
    As for the developers, they'll likely need to consent on the emulation. There are legal issues behind it which Microsoft will have to work on before release (copyright protection laws aren't the same worldwide and emulation doesn't have the same legal status everywhere). But yes, the failure of Windows RT is absolutely due to it being completely locked down AND (and we should remind ourselves of this) attached to stupidly overpriced devices (the Surface RT sold for over 600€ which was ridiculous for such an underpowered device...and the 1 billion loss it made Microsoft sort of speaks for that).
  • Dude, show us on the doll where they touched you
  • Lmao!
  • Chromebooks have outsold Macs. I stopped reading your comment after I realized you're misinformed.
  • You must have misread his comment. He never mentioned that chromebooks did worse than Macs. He only mentioned that they never caught on globally. So, not sure where you are getting he is misinformed from. And this comment makes you sound like an entitled idiot.
  • "Chromebook sales never went anywhere worldwide" It's right there.... They're also pretty high on Amazon "most popular" lists in their respective categories regularly. I probably missed some relevant information in the rest of the comment, but a fanboy or "elitist" or entitled I am not. I'm actually pretty excited about what MS announced.
  • You missed a key word again..."worldwide". The numbers you posted the link for are US only. That's why I was saying you misread it. Chromebooks are successful, but only in the US. They really haven't made a big splash in the rest of the world.
  • His type is what I call a world denier. Honestly believe that, some people that don't think there is a world Beyond America...
  • I would answer you but others have done it already. Besides, I don't see much of a point arguing with someone who can't grasp the concept that there's a gigantic World outside the USA.
  • Hah, I work in the education sector, Windows is plenty complicated, even for those who are supposed to teach others how to use a computer.
  • "people who visit tech blogs on weekends are hardly a representation of the average consumer." We'll, then I'll just **** right off then. But before I go, a few thoughts. What MS is doing isn't for people who can do whatever they need in apps commonly available on an iPad or through Android. It's for people who have to use legacy apps who would like to be able to do that without toting another device. If I can use Word or Excel on large screen with a mouse and a keyboard with the processor available on my phone, and the only take the phone (or laptop with Chromebook-like simplicity and battery life) with me when I'm done, then I'd be interested. It's in line with what MS has been promising all along, but hasn't yet delivered. I'm curious to see what real-world price and performance turn out to be.
  • Your needs for such a device maybe valid. What Jerry is trying to highlight is the fact that the size of the user base with such needs is miniscule. So maybe MS needs to focus carefully on what the larger market is looking for otherwise as numbers erode they will start to lose traction - in mobile.
  • Who do you speak on behalf of? I love my Android phone, but I absolutely could not do without the desktop applications on my computer. Also, nobody wanted Windows on a tablet? Tell the Surface Pro line that. It's probably the most successful tablet lineup at the moment, with iPad sales dying year upon year, and Android tablets near nonexistent.
  • Only Microsoft calls a full x86 device designed for desktop operating system and desktop software a tablet. Originally, devices like the Archos 80 were their answer to the iPad. Terry Myserson made that perfectly clear 3 or 4 years ago when he said Windows tablets are the extension of Windows Phone software running on 6 to 10 inch ARM devices, not the Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2, and that we would be seeing plenty of them. Moving the goalposts afterward doesn't have the same impact on the people who pay attention or the people who bought into those ARM devices.
  • Yes, I suppose there is that. It really is a laptop more than a tablet. I will agree wholeheartedly that a traditional tablet chipset and system is horrible to run Windows on. Btw, thanks for the reply Jerry. Love your work!
  • Microsoft doesn't move that many Surfaces and they are not really tablets. They are laptops that can kinda be used as tablets, if you don't mind a sub-par tablet experience. When was the last time you saw someone with a Surface that didn't have the keyboard? You never have because a laptop without a keyboard is useless.
  • "Desktop cash cow"? This Jerry guy is clearly demonstrating that he really has no knowledge of what MS is or does. He's stuck in the 80s, thinking that MS derives the bulk of its revenue from Windows. I suggest, Jerry, that you might bother to have a look at their last income statement, and you'll see that MS is hardly dependent upon Windows as a "cash cow". What a tool. And if you'd bother to learn about their "retrenching" in mobile, you'd know that they've overtly given up on the consumer space, targeting the enterprise. Nobody asked for Continuum. Nobody asked for x86 apps. News flash, Einstein, they're not innovating in this direction because they think the consumer wants this stuff. ENTERPRISE, ENTERPRISE, ENTERPRISE. Get a clue, Jerry.
  • Stupid stupid article
  • Refreshing to read an article by someone who would rather be disliked than be right.
  • "People are buying devices that are cheap and easy to use. Apple and Google see this and are trying to make things even more simple." Pixels are cheap? iPhones are cheap? Windows 10 is hard to use??! No, Mind you I will grant that Photoshop is hard to use on any platform/device until you get acquainted with it. But who died and made Photoshop representative of anything about "the average consumer's" experience of/interest in Windows or PCs? Photoshop Elements, maybe. But not that monstrous CC 2015.5 bag o' xxxxs.
  • Oh wow, never thought I'd read an article with so much misguided bullsh*t from jerry.
  • There still is a need for desktop applications. Will be for quite awhile. Not everything should be ran via the internet. That can get messy and be unreliable. And not all Internet based apps are made well. Some years ago I had thought Microsoft was evolving to a - code once - run on either the desktop or mobile type of deal. And I seriously thought that was a good idea. Still do in a way. But I haven't done any hobbyist type of programming in awhile, so I'm out of touch. The hardware and code base in mobile devices will have to make several huge jumps before that can become a reality... Taking over the desktop... And I am thinking YEARS. Besides, Microsoft I think did an excellent job promoting and refining their Windows OS over the years.... And Linux took a back seat with all of their fragmentation...
  • wow...the writer of this garbage is really butthurt about something. probably taking out his frustrations of not having hilLIARy elected.
  • I've never seen a comment that sounded so... witless. Seriously, that comment just seems like it came from a 12 year old girl who got offended that her younger sister just beat her at a game of uno... You're too old to be talking like a 12 year old girl, buddy. Grow up.
  • Well to be fair, your comment earlier about "drumpf" wasn't exactly at "genius" level either.
  • why do you like 12 year old girls so much?
  • OK, I "hate" Hillary and I'm extremely glad the demos were defeated everywhere BUT...what the heck does ANY of that have to do with the article, mate?
  • absolutely nothing.
  • While I definitely agree that desktop apps on a small screen in a terrible idea, I do think Jerry forgot the fact that Microsoft is not planning to do that at all. ARM based, continuum-enabled phones will be great. A mobile OS while using it as a phone and full desktop mode when connected to lapdock or larger display. Freedom and choice rolled into one.
  • Agreed, now if only a Chromebook can play DotA on the Android OS platform.
  • You can. It runs great on my Pixel in its own Window through Steam.
  • Yet that is probably streaming via Steam from, guess what, an x86 PC as DotA is not native to Android!!!
  • Hey!! I liked my Atrix and Lapdock! Still have them both, don't use them any more, but still have them!
  • "I don't know what Microsoft should do to prepare for the end of the desktop cash cow."
    They're moving to cloud services (i.e. Office 365). I'm far from a Windows fan, in fact I just got a Windows laptop this past first in years. I think Microsoft clearly sees the end of Desktop coming, and will be well prepared to continue innovating as a cloud/services company. But to defend Jerry (not that he needs my help) trying to shoehorn desktop apps onto a phone is an excruciating experience. Any time I come across a web site not optimized for mobile, I wish I could reach through my phone and smack the developer. And I think we'd all agree that Microsoft's attempts at mobile have been a disaster.
  • Mobile websites are always horrendous.
  • Except this won't be "shoehorning" desktop applications into a device to use on a 5" display. It's designed to be used with Continuum to run x86 applications on a larger display with a keyboard and mouse.
  • Seems the writer just doesn't like MS
  • I work in graphic design and at the office I use an aging Mac mini that works for **** in the corporate infrastructure. At home I use the full creative suite on my gen 1 surface pro connected to my external display. I don't plan on ever spending another dollar on Apple products unless they become innovative again. So I am literally jonesing to run full blown desktop Adobe photoshop on a touch screen tablet and Microsoft has my needs covered.
  • It seems the guys that don't have a need for computing power don't see the other side of the lake, so to speak. It's kind of like - the world is flat type of deal. Running Visual Studio can consume CPU time. Especially if you have a bunch of third party add-ons installed too. But you know, someone will invent an AI that will use Object Oriented best use methods case for web, mobile etc. make it available on line too... And no one will use a desktop anymore... Hah.. Sigh... Those canned apps are extremely limited and not very correct... And slowwwww... Not very efficient... We still need developers... Good ones. OMG... We need good architects. No, great architects...
  • I think you don't understand Microsoft's vision for the future. Imagine you only have your "smartphone" and don't need a PC or laptop, because wherever you go, your phone connects automatically to every screen, without taking your phone out of your pocket. You maybe have one screen in your office, one screen for gaming or a TV and a tablet-sized screen at home. Your phone streams to all these devices without the need of connecting your phone with a HDMI cable.
    All your apps and data are on one device. And when you work in your office and go home, you take your phone without closing all your open apps. Then at home, you can continue to work from the exact same state (if you want to work at home). I doubt that people in the future want to buy and use 10 different devices for every aspect of their life, when their phone is capable of doing all of this.
  • Lol such a huge difference in opinion from Windows Central. I think what I got from the article is that the author doesn't know what Continuum is and is confused into thinking that this feature means you can run desktop apps on a small screen phone. Also, his statement about iPads and chromebooks being all the average consumer needs is false. The market has shown us that your average consumer DOES want to run some amount of desktop apps. It's the reason why Windows RT, Steam OS, and Chrome OS never really gained mainstream traction and ultimately were flops. It's also why iPad sales are slowing down but Surface selling better than ever.
  • I'd be willing to bet that Jerry is at least somewhat familiar with continuum. The reality is that personal computing has been shifting to mobile for years, and it's not just email anymore. Metrics show people have been CHOOSING mobile devices over traditional PC's for online shopping, web browsing, social media, and video consumption (this one surprised me). This is why financial markets have been somewhat tepid on Google's growth--because everything is shifting to mobile where their revenue per stat is lower. I don't think the market has shown anything supporting a desire to move back to desktop apps. Quite opposite in fact, mainstream consumers seem to be drawn to the simplicity and familiarity of the mobile platform.
  • I know exactly what Continuum is. And what it will be if it ever really happens — yet another failure. Everyone Rah-Rahing about whatever Microsoft will do next are the same people who supported what they did last. It wasn't enough. It won't be enough for Continuum. It's not enough for the HP Elite x3 which does it right now that nobody is buying. Microsoft has three great things for the future — enterprise software, corporate lock-in with Office, and the back-end of Office 365. Adapt those so they work great with something they haven't invented yet. Don't tell people how great it will be to use software written for desktop APIs on their tablet or phone or that they can carry around a set of peripherals instead of a Surface Pro. Whether anyone likes it or not, the future is moving to thin client machines and robust back-end servers. Microsoft failed to adapt (not sure why. Windows phone wasn't a bad mobile OS at all) and became irrelevant in mobile. They risk doing it again and losing it all if they don't have the right people working on what comes after Windows. If they do have those right people working on the right things, stop showing videos of x86 desktop software running on portables and telling us that the future is gonna be awesome and everyone will be using it.
  • Your error here is that you assume this feature is being marketed towards consumers. It's not. It's marketed for enterprises and for laptops/tablets first. Windows 10 mobile support wasnt even confirmed or announced yet. That's just an assumption people are making. And finally, I still think you're wrong about the direction of computing. IPad and Android tablet, as well as chromebook sales have proven that consumers want more than just a basic email and web browsing device. And don't forget that other devices that took away the ability to run traditional desktop apps always ended up flopping such as Windows RT and Steam OS. Consumer demand for smartphones to do even more things is ever increasing which is why manufacturers keep putting in even more powerful CPU's laptop levels of RAM and so on. It's all converging to the point where mobile computing will reach parity with desktop computing. It's a simple case of consumers wanting more bang for their buck. The more features crammed into their device (including the ability to run x86 desktop apps), the more enticing.
  • You should read Paul Thurrotts article "Remember Satya Nadella’s claim about the “ultimate mobile device”? Surprise: It’s a PC, not a phone. The move to ARM won’t happen overnight. The first devices won’t appear in market until one year from now, in late 2017, and it will likely be 2018 before we see any truly viable designs. The first devices will be ultra-mobile portable PCs, whi