Windows RT

The part of Microsoft tasked with marketing good products badly has gotten its clutches on Windows 8, whose ARM tablet incarnation will henceforth be known as "Windows RT". Just sit there and think how much time, money and human effort—months of planning, hundreds of thousands of dollars, dozens of people—went into ensuring that their hottest product, widely associated with the buzzworthy "Metro" name, would instead sound like something for 1990s-era cash registers. [PC Mag]


  1. To be fair, it shouldn’t really matter much what it’s called because you’ll never see it on a store shelf. You can’t install Windows RT on hardware yourself, it will only come preloaded on tablets, notebooks, and other devices. 

    Then again, the same thing is true of iOS, but people still obsess over each minor update to that operating system. 

    1. Well, with iOS, you can always *not* upgrade. My son still has his (hand-me-down) iPod Touch on iOS3, and has never updated a single app. He’s never cared, nor never needed to care, about all the spiffy new iOS features. (Not that he does much more with it than watch YouTube and browse Reddit.)

      1. Sometimes that’s the best way to go. I made the mistake of upgrading a 2nd generation iPod touch to iOS 4 and it’s much, much slower now. And Apple doesn’t offer an easy way to “downgrade.”

      2. It’s not really true to say that you can simply choose not to upgrade, when the upgrade process can not be rolled back or undone in any way.

        ‘My phone works great. Just – DON’T. PRESS. THAT. BUTTON.’

  2. 1990’s cash registers will be the next cool thing in two years when hipsters get tired of the 80’s.

    1. I went to a pretty hipsterish dance party last week, and for fuck’s sakes, the music was all backstreet boys and hansen remixes. Hansen! As dance music! What you allude to has already happened.

  3. Can someone explain to this non-American what the association with cash registers means?

    Also, my understanding was that Metro was about the design philosophy (especially for the mobile phone OS) and never the intended release name for Windows 8.

    1. The reference to cash register in the original post just means something that you’d buy in the 1990’s i.e. something that would pass a cash register i.e. something for a cash register.

      The reference to Metro was simply stating that they had nice, creative names for the technology in Windows 8 but when it comes to the final product they landed on Windows RT.

      Any other questions? I’m here for the next 5 minutes!

  4. Since I normally associate “RT” with “Regional Transit”, I’m curious about Microsoft’s foray into urban transportation.  I guess that I should have seen this coming though: “Where do you want to go today?”

  5. The United States Patent and Trademark Office reports 2146 trademarks containing the word metro. What are the odds that one of them relates to computers and/or operating systems?

  6. I associate RT with the “request tracker” from Best Practical. Used for Techsupport and bug tracking. So for me it makes perfect sense. 

    Windows RT. pronounced ‘Windows art” clever.
    Windows NT. “Windows not?”
    Windows XP. “windows zip”?
    Windows ME. “windows meh”?

    1. yeah, that is actually the correct pronunciation for Windows ME.  the “meh” is truth in advertising.

  7. I don’t know why my first association was “Windows retarded”. I know a lot more uses for RT than that (Retweet, etc.) and it doesn’t even work very well.

    1. Well hey, Android version names are desserts! “Ice Cream Sandwich”. “Gingerbread”. “Cupcake”. I can totally get behind that. How about “Windows Parfait”?

      I agree with the gist of what you’re saying though. After all “Wii” was pretty much the worst name for a tech product ever, and it was still the hottest thing on store shelves for like 2 years straight.

    2. And it is unlikely that Windows RT is going to be a customer-facing brand. It won’t be for sale, it will be on devices. Do average consumers know the name iOS? Windows CE? Most likely not.

    3. I dunno, Linux often has pretty happening names.

      I’m running an OS based on ‘Squeeze,’ that’s pretty cool. The specific version I am using is called ‘Jayaben Desai,’ after a fiery Indian/British labor activist..that’s a pretty inspiring name :)

  8. “Good products” is a matter of opinion. What I’ve seen of Metro- which, I grant, was an early version- would give Gnome 3 Shell haters a coronary.
    (Said with the caveat that I may very well be approaching “too-old-to-operate-this-new-fangled-whatsamahoosit” stage.)

    1. Use a Windows Phone. The UI is a revelation. The future of mobile computing is about simplification and integration  rather than dozons of separate apps not interacting with each other. In my opinion.

  9. Geez, reading this thread brings flashbacks of high school. “Everything is stupid. Only a conformist would use [xyz]. Me and all of my friends use [abc]. Everybody else are sheep and stupid.”

    Bashing Microsoft to be one of the in crowd is the American Spirit cigarettes of today.

    1. Yes, in that Microsoft and Altria are two of the worst corporations in the world, and it’s useful to tell people that there is a choice of how they vote with their money.

      Smoking and buying MS products are both giving your money to a bunch of unscrupulous bastards. The difference is, it is much easier to simply avoid smoking than to avoid using a computer.

  10. What’s the one good use of a tablet other than browsing? Oh yeah, playing video. Which feature’s missing? Sure enough….  From the article: ”
    Windows RT won’t be upgradeable from any edition of Windows 7, obviously, but it also won’t get Windows Media Player or Storage Spaces.” – this is a particularly spectacular failure, even more so than the name. Nice one Microsoft.

    1. Yes, because the fact that it won’t get a version of the WMP desktop app clearly means it won’t be able to play video.

      1. It’s more that straight out of the box it will be unable to do one of the most basic functions the hardware is used for. Like an iPhone without a default camera app even though everyone uses Instagram anyway.

        1. Windows RT comes with music and video apps, just not the desktop WMP. The apps included are touch-centric Metro apps, and include access to the Zune Marketplace (though it’s not branded as such).

          1. Ah, my mistake – that’s not the impression that mentioning it doesn’t have WMP gives me, which is all the previews seem to say. 

  11. Oh.  I thought this was going to be a historic piece about a specialized version of Windows that I had somehow missed, like maybe the OS for this beastie: .

    And we need a different name why?  To confuse people as to whether or not it is Windows 8?  IMO, if it won’t run native Windows PC software, then it’s not Windows.  So I guess the new name really is a good idea.

    Aaaand, if  they really do fork off the tablet OS, maybe they can give “real” Windows 8 users the option to turn off Metro, which I find very irritating when used with a keyboard & mouse.

  12. This name takes me back to RT-11. That was introduced for the PDP-11 back around 1970. I used to use it for real-time data acquisition. So long ago…

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