We’re still weeks (if not months) away from seeing the first consumer device running Windows 8 and Windows RT, but as more and more details are revealed I’m beginning to anticipate the launch less and less.
Rich Adin, writing over at An American Editor, has uncovered another restriction in Windows RT which could possibly discourage some from using the OS.
Windows RT is going to be a less expensive and less hardware intensive version of Windows 8 which Microsoft is hoping will compete will against iOS 6 and against Android.
Given the reduced hardware it makes some sense to also limit the apps which can run on the OS, which is part of the reason why Windows RT won’t support apps created for earlier versions of Windows. But not all of the restrictions are as obvious, and some will seriously impact whether you can get work done.
Rich reported today that the version of MS Office running on Windows RT will lack a number of features, including:
- Macros, add-ins, and features that rely on ActiveX controls or 3rd party code such as the PowerPoint Slide Library ActiveX control and Flash Video Playback
- Certain legacy features such as playing older media formats in PowerPoint (upgrade to modern formats and they will play) and editing equations written in Equation Editor 3.0, which was used in older versions of Office (viewing works fine)
- Certain email sending features, since Windows RT does not support Outlook or other desktop mail applications (opening a mail app, such as the mail app that comes with Windows RT devices, and inserting your Office content works fine)
- Recording narrations in PowerPoint 2013 RT
- Searching embedded audio/video files, recording audio/video notes, and importing from an attached scanner with OneNote 2013 RT (inserting audio/video notes or scanned images from another program works fine)
While I don’t use more than a couple of the items on the list above I bet there are any number of long-term Windows users who rely on at least one feature from this list, if not more. They’re going to be in for a shock the first time they use MS Office and the needed feature isn’t available.
To be fair to Microsoft, Windows RT has always been described as feature limited. Some of the limitations might be a surprise the first time we encounter them but Microsoft did offer some warning. They have even shared a fair number of details on the OS and the apps running on it, so it’s really up to the users to find the info before it’s too late.