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Is there life for Surface RT in education?

Patrick Budmar | Aug. 7, 2013
In June, Microsoft announced that its Surface RT tablet would get a discount of more than 50 per cent for Australian education institutions.

"Windows RT has too many limitations for work related use and it lacks the appeal of a thriving apps ecosystem," she said.

Verma explains that the Surface RT is "caught between many worlds" and "suffers from a lack of clarity on its positioning," adding that it falls short of being a PC or a tablet, as well as a productivity or entertainment device.

"It isn't broad enough to be a generalist device and not deep enough to be a specialist device, and the pricing did not help either," she said.

As for the education discount, Verma said targeting the tablet at the education industry is a wise move and it will aid in clearing inventory.

However, she does not expect the education discount to be enough to turn the device's fortunes around.

Instead, Verma recommends that the vendor's education channel partners should be roped in to push the device into the schools, colleges and universities.

"Retail channels will help to push the device to students only," she said.

"To position the device for the education industry vertical, Microsoft needs relevant apps and tools for teaching, learning, collaborating, and not just a cheaper version of Microsoft Office."

Verma adds that a lot more than pricing will be needed to gain traction in the education vertical in Australia, as is "fairly evolved" when it comes to technology usage.

"It's one thing to say that the device is great for the education industry, but it's quite another to actually demonstrate it through relevant apps to teachers and a closer tie in with academia's existing online tools," she said.

For those reasons, Gartner expects Windows 8 to have better prospects in the market than Windows RT, particularly when battery life and performance improves on Intel's Atom Bay Trail chips.


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