Each operating system/platform has a vast developer community, and the number only increases with each coming day. Be it Android, iOS or Windows Phone/Windows 8, they’ve all got a large number of developers trying to bring in hacks/tweaks to unsupported devices. For Android, there’s the CyanogenMod team and similarly for Windows too there’s a big group of devs trying to bring in unsupported features on devices. Windows has always been known to be the ultimate hacking/modding machine, but Microsoft didn’t live up to that promise with the Surface RT. Since the tablet was based on ARM’s CPU architecture, it didn’t pack support for standard Windows apps, which was kind of a letdown. But the folks at XDA have been hard at work to bring regular Windows apps (x86) onto the Surface RT since a long time and it’s finally possible. This will however require the Surface RT jailbreak as a prerequisite, so users have to make sure they’ve got themselves covered there.
As of now, it appears as if this new tool only runs light apps, but the developer has urged users to try out as many apps as possible and let him know how well they’re doing by writing to him at the forums. Sure, you won’t exactly be able to run heavy apps immediately, but this is certainly a start. This trick fools the system into emulating x86 tools to the default kernel. The process is a little too technical to understand, but it’s pretty simple in practical use. If you’re familiar with the term “jailbreaking”, you’ll find no trouble understanding this. Just like how one would modify a device after jailbreaking, this tool basically would work the same way. While not everything will work as smoothly as you would like, it’s a great start and one which would go a long way in making the tablet relevant again. Thanks to these devs, people can now run regular Windows software (albeit partially) on the Surface RT. There is still enough work to be done in this area though and we can expect to see the Surface RT running more heavy stuff in the coming days. The delay is painful, but better late than never, right?
These are the features which should have been enabled right from the start, but MS had no choice as it wanted to make the device a standalone tablet and not a Windows PC or notebook alternative. For users willing to get a replacement to the PC or their notebook, Microsoft has the Surface Pro which launched a few weeks ago. But if these ARM based tablets can run standard Windows apps without much fuss, then there won’t be much noise about the substantially pricier Surface Pro. Let’s hope the developers make more progress in this area as we would like to see the Surface RT bring some smiles on the owners’ faces. They’ve not had much to smile about really.