One of the side effects of Intel starting to ship fourth generation Haswell chips for tablets is that it could kill off Windows RT.
Haswell, Chipzilla’s fourth-generation Core i3 processors, use as little as 4.5 watts of power in specific usage scenarios. This puts it into fanless tablets and laptop-tablet hybrids, bringing longer battery life to the devices.
This cures the Microsoft Surface Pro which offers good performance but poor battery life which negated the basic use of a tablet. It also means that the Surface RT, which had better battery life, but which needed to run the cut down version of Windows to organise its ARM chip is surplus to requirements.
Windows RT tablets were awful anyway. Asus, Samsung and HP withdrew completely from Windows RT based products. But until Haswell, Microsoft still needed ARM chips to provide something where battery life was longer than five minutes.
Haswell is supposed to have 50 percent better battery life as promised by Intel for Windows tablets. Microsoft would be hard pressed to find an OEM which would want to come out with Windows RT based tablets and hybrids anymore.
Last week Nick Reynolds, the marketing chief for Lenovo in Australia, admitted that low-power Haswell chips have removed the choice between long battery life and high performance for Windows 8 based portable devices.
If Windows RT had come out soon after the tablet craze started, it would have made sense. It would have given Microsoft a way of getting into the mobile market. However, the Vole was late and by the time RT appeared, Intel was not that far from putting Haswell into the shops.
Windows RT is a heavily dumbed down version of Windows 8, with only a handful of applications being available. This takes away any point in using a Windows device, namely that there is a lot of software available.
Haswell promises a day-long battery life and that a full spec version of Windows 8 will run on it. Why on earth would there be any point propping up Windows RT?
It does explain to us why Chipzilla did not really moan that much about Microsoft breaking the Wintel alliance by moving to ARM. Intel knew that once Haswell was released, Microsoft would be sheepishly back and never mention ARM ever again.