There are increasing indications that Microsoft is currently gearing for a possible release of a new Windows edition. Suggestive of this is evidence found on the Windows SDK and in product key configuration files that points at something called "Windows Cloud."
Amid speculation of a new Windows 10 edition, however, a new report suggests that the evidence could be pointing to the comeback of Windows RT, a Windows 8 edition built and designed by Microsoft as a mobile operating system.
Microsoft To Bring Back Windows RT?
The report comes from ZDNet, who specifies Windows Cloud as an iteration of Windows that's able to install apps from the Windows Store only.
Windows RT made its debut with Microsoft's ARM-powered Surface; it wasn't simply a Windows version compiled for ARM — it was that, but additionally, it was restricted to running, at least in an official capacity, apps that were installed through the Windows Store, or apps that were approved by Microsoft itself. Third-party desktop apps were basically out of the question.
Windows RT's Failure
While it sounds very limiting, this certain ecosystem had at least an advantage in terms of platform security and reliability. Windows Store apps are locked down, so to speak, which gives them a sort of smartphone-ish feel: less daunting and more user-friendly than conventionally designed apps.
The problem was, most Windows apps are created under the Win32 API, and with apps like these gate-kept, the OS itself becomes less versatile. Windows RT's restrictions, coupled with a scant number of useful — and desirable — Windows Store apps made the OS less appealing, and eventually a market failure, as per Ars Technica.
ZDNet's report states that Windows Cloud would be configured similarly, as in it'll only be able to install software written for the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), which are, as it stands, still quite scant.
Microsoft Could Turn Things Around With Windows Cloud
By the looks of things, Windows Cloud could, if indeed poised to be wired the same way Windows RT was, suffer the latter's fate. There is, however, a glimmer of hope: Windows Store can now be used to distribute Win32 desktop apps, which are not strictly sandboxed as UWP, but can still promise clean installation and uninstallation. If Windows Cloud allows this, it could become a more desirable OS than Windows RT ever was.
In spite of Windows RT's failure to corner a sizable chunk of the PC crowd, locked-down Windows versions do have their advantages, at least conceptually. Take Chromebooks, for instance, whose software obviously won't hold a candle to far more powerful PCs, but are enough for certain productivity tasks, proving that Chromebooks are a fine balance of productivity and simplicity, without all the added bells and whistles casual PC users probably won't need much.
In addition, the Windows Cloud moniker appears to suggest that the alleged platform will be cloud-based, like Chromebooks. If Microsoft is indeed targeting Chromebook audiences with Windows Cloud, it might very well undo the Windows RT misfire.
What do you think? Should Microsoft resurrect Windows RT? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!