You’ve probably seen this abbreviation in reference to a type of computer processor. Windows computers have always used a central processing unit traditionally referred to as an “x86”-type. The operating system and applications are written to operate on this specific type of processor.
Now, a new type of processor, produced by ARM Holdings, is being used in certain portable devices such as tablets and phones. This processor is perfect for these types of devices because of the rather efficient way it consumes power while still offering performance comparable to an x86 processor. This results in much longer battery life, which is something you want in a portable device. ARM processors also allow for thinner designs.
ARM processors are different enough that they require a special version of the operating system. That’s where Windows RT comes in. It is a variation of Windows 8 built to run on an ARM device and take advantage of its special features. Windows RT offers almost all the same features found in Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro, which are used on x86 machines.
The big difference is that, since the processor is different, the applications that we have always used on x86 computers won’t work. However, for many people, that’s no big deal. Windows RT includes special versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote that are optimized for ARM devices. Additionally, Windows RT users have access to the on-line Windows Store where thousands of apps can be found for download. All that should meet many users’ needs.
So, if you are looking for an economical portable computer for average day-to-day use and that offers long battery life, consider one with an ARM processor running Windows RT such as the Microsoft Surface RT.
John Busey, Techspert