When Microsoft released the MS Surface Pro and RT models in late 2012, everyone looked past the RT model as something of an ugly duckling - a brother from another mother as it were. The marketing of this product was weak to establish it's place in the market, and as a result it was relegated to the scrapheap within 24-months - losing Microsoft $900 million in the process. In fact, the Surface 2 RT ceased production in December of 2013, with millions of unsold units in inventory.
The truth is the RT platform wedded to the ARM hardware architecture found in most cel phones is a unique offering that has not been duplicated to this day. A Windows RT device offers users a fast mobile device with many of the productivity tools of a full-fledged Windows computer without the bloat and sluggishness. Windows RT users can easily and inexpensively have full use of Microsoft Office 2013, a day's worth of battery life, the speed & comfort of mouse and keyboard use, all wrapped up in a light, thin form factor.
Where Microsoft really missed the mark on positioning this device is as a thin client, as well. Not only will it provide mobile users the local productivity tools they need, but it also supports remote desktop technology that allows you to easily connect to their businesses Terminal Server or cloud workspace without compromise. This weekend I purchased a MS Surface 2 RT and I was able to very quickly import my MS Live ID settings, have access to my One Drive, and quickly access the Keystroke Cloud server. While sitting in the dining room with my kids on Monday evening I was able to reply to three quote requests, and close one deal while logged into our cloud workspace. All while watching Lego Chima with my kids.
What other tablet device could have offered such flexibility and speed of setup? Preparing these type of business documents locally or on a remote workspace would have been awkward and slow with an IOS or Android device as I fumbled with my finger tips and on an onscreen keyboard. With the MS Surface RT my productivity and speed was indistinguishable from a laptop.
And since we're an ACT reseller, let me promote one other unique advantage the Windows RT operating system has over it's mobile competition - it's the only one that can support ACT for Web and ACT Premium Mobile because it uses Internet Explorer. The Windows RT performance with each is fast and uncompromising, and is further enhanced by the mouse use.
Microsoft delivered a truly robust mobile operating system with more productivity tools and performance than any of its competitors, but they allowed to be pilloried for what it "wasn't", rather than promote it for what it was. As a result, Microsoft is forced to pivot back to it's full Windows platform to deliver mobile solutions to the marketplace. Problem is they rely on heavy, hot, and weak battery performing devices that fail when compared to the IOS and Android offerings.
In other words, by divesting themselves of the one true advantage they had over their mobile competition, they conceded victory to them. You may wish to troll Ebay or Kijiji or a used Surface 2 RT in the 32-64GB models, and look to pay between $300-400 depending on the hard drive size. It's not current, but you'll likely get more mileage on it than any other Windows device you can buy new today.