Surface RT Price Cut Shows That Niche Hardware Doesn’t Fly

I’m a big fan of the Surface… Pro. It is, in short, one of the most original Windows machines I’ve ever used and is far more fun to carry than anyone gives it credit for. However, the Surface RT – in this incarnation – was pretty much a dog.

Now it’s a less expensive dog.

On Sunday the RT model – running Nvidia’s Tegra 3 – dropped $150 to $349 while the Surface Pro remained solidly at the $900-$1,000 range. The RT runs a truncated software catalog because not all programs compatible with Windows 8 are compatible with Windows RT.

The machine could get a Qualcomm processor down the line, improving network connectivity by adding LTE to be mix, but the price signaling still suggests that the Pro is selling just fine while the RT is struggling.

Niche hardware works if everyone is on board. OS X and coexist with iOS and Android can coexist with Chrome OS because these operating systems have a clear delineation of function. RT, on the other hand, looked like Windows Lite, a distinction that is hard for most users to swallow.

I could, for example, see a Windows Phone-based tablet that could exist alongside Windows 8. However, as it stands, the branding, features, and unfortunate incompatibility issues make RT a bit hard to accept.