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Windows GUI Handhelds Microsoft Operating Systems Portables Upgrades

Surface RT Devices Won't Get Windows 10 158

whoever57 writes: In its announcement of Windows 10, Microsoft indicated not all devices would get the updated operating system. Now, Microsoft says its Surface devices running Windows RT won't be receiving full updates, though it does plan to roll some new functionality into them. "Given that Windows RT and RT 8.1 were designed for power economizing devices sporting 32-bit ARM architecture, and never had the same functionality — to many users' frustration — as full-blown Windows 8 and 8.1, it comes as little surprise that the RT versions of the operating system should be left out of the latest update loop. In fact, a week before Microsoft's big Windows 10 reveal on January 21, the company released firmware updates for all three models of its Intel-powered Surface Pro series, but neither of the ARM-based Surface tablets — the Surface 2 or Surface RT — received any new updates this month." The Surface Pro line of tablets, which run a normal version of Windows, will be getting an update to Windows 10.
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Surface RT Devices Won't Get Windows 10

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  • Translation: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Friday January 23, 2015 @11:24AM (#48884601) Homepage

    "We're dumping RT"

    • Re:Translation: (Score:4, Informative)

      by jandrese ( 485 ) <> on Friday January 23, 2015 @11:37AM (#48884717) Homepage Journal
      Surface RT was always a bastard child of the lineup. They sold pretty poorly too, so it's not a surprise that Microsoft is wiping their hands of the whole product.
      • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

        Surface RT always felt like Microsoft actually believing the hype that they convinced stupid media outlets to spew. You know, Metro is the future - all apps will be Metro apps because it's so 'modern'. Well, it turned out that for the most part, the web is the future for the kind of apps that made Windows dominant. Metro apps compete with iOS and Android apps - i.e. simple one-screen apps that work well with a touch interface. They do not compete with web apps, and even less with traditional desktop app

        • Re:Translation: (Score:4, Informative)

          by bmajik ( 96670 ) <> on Friday January 23, 2015 @01:19PM (#48885689) Homepage Journal

          RT has desktop mode.

          It's patently untrue that the web is the future for "the kinds of apps that made windows dominant"

          Actually, windows was dominant for every kind of app. The growth in apps of all sectors - LOB, entertainment, etc -- is on devices, and people regularly pan device apps that are just thin shells around a browser control.

          People want native apps on their devices. MDD (multi-device-development) is something enterprise is very interested in -- they need to deal with a BYOD workforce, and they always want to economize on IT spend.

          If it had been feasible to make Win32 apps run well on ARM, don't you think we would have done that?

          The most insightful thing you wrote is this:

          "But yes, Intel hasn't been asleep, and ARM is no longer as much of a requirement for mobile devices"

          Consider the following -- and note that while I work at MS, I am neither privy to, nor attempting to disclose -- any high level strategy

          1) Microsoft delivers a lot of value to enterprise customers because of app compat
          2) think back a few years at what the CPU landscape looked like -- think about the power consumption of Intel's offerings. Remember, there was no ATOM yet.
          3) app compat, battery life, performance -- if you don't have a low-power native x86 processor, you can only get two of these at a time.
          4) Enterprise customers want all three
          5) Intel, years ago, didn't appear to have any intention to deliver a low-cost, low power x86 part
          6) this meant that MS would be unable to deliver low cost, new form factor mobile devices that could still run legacy software
          7) this would force a wedge between new form factors and the Microsoft platform advantages (great compatability)

          Clearly, what needed to happen is that something had to convince intel to develop a low cost, low power, good performing x86 chip

          Based on 20+ years history, considering ARM, AMD, dec Alpha, etc, what makes intel innovate well and do its best work?

          A credible marketplace threat to Wintel.

          Claim: The purpose of Windows+ARM was to force intel to develop a low-power, low-cost x86 chip. If Windows+ARM took off in its own right, great. But the main purpose has been to secure a $99 x86 windows tablet -- which means that enterprises have the price points and form factors they want, and the app compat they need.

          Exhibit A:

          I happen to like my RT tablet -- but the Surface Pro is a credible do-it-all device, and now software that runs on the Pro is the same software that runs on your $99 HP tablet and your $4999 gaming rig.

          Back when windows+ARM started, the intel hardware to allow that continuum didn't exist.

          As I said -- nobody at MS tells me how things really go down. But this is a high stakes game. The people at MS aren't stupid.

          • RT has desktop mode.

            AIUI the original plan was not to have it at all but they couldn't get office converted to metro in time so they included the desktop mode but crippled it by forbidding desktop apps other than the handful bundled with the OS (a cut down version of office, some of the built in windows tools).

            The only reason I can see for crippling the desktop mode on the arm port was pushing developers to switch to metro.

            Would windows on arm have succeeded if people could just recompile their software for it rather than havi

    • No they are continuing to make phones and likely tablets with long battery life. But they aren't going to be on as long an upgrade cycle as computers.

    • by maorb ( 2578043 )

      It's not like the Windows RT based devices are losing out. Their primary limitation is the inability to install desktop apps in the first place, and almost all of the changes in Windows 10 are focused on making the desktop UI usable again. Let's take a look at some of the changes, shall we?

      -Intelligently starting up to the desktop UI instead of the silly Windows 8/8.1 UI doesn't help. (MS Office and IE10/11 are the only commonly used programs you might use in the Desktop UI, everything else is an app)

      -The n

      • It's worse than that. We can bet no one will develop for Win RT and everyone will target Windows 10 instead. It's worst than Android/iPad tablets not being updated because most Android applications are compatible with devices as far as version 2.2/2.3 or 4.0 in the worst case and the same goes for iOS.
    • That makes sense. RT - Windows on ARM - made even less sense than other NT on RISC platforms in the past. At that time, there was at least a rationale of running NT on more powerful CPUs than Pentiums, or getting Silicon Graphics software on the platform via that route.

      But Windows on ARM never made sense. As it is, for the tablet market, both iOS and Android are well entrenched, and for anyone to even consider Windows there, it would have to offer a strong reason to do it. That strong reason would be

  • Not surprising (Score:4, Interesting)

    by daninaustin ( 985354 ) on Friday January 23, 2015 @11:26AM (#48884617)
    MS has a habit of abandoning devices. Maybe that's a reason so few people want their phones.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That parent, right there.

      As a developer, this is the one thing that pisses me off about microsoft the most. Wasted time and effort developing an app for a specific platform only for it to be dumped (the language, the OS version or device range).

      Though if you used something like unity, it's less painful as you can retarget other platforms I suppose.

    • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Pope Hagbard ( 3897945 ) on Friday January 23, 2015 @11:33AM (#48884693) Journal

      On the other hand, Android mfrs tend to either provide just 1-2 updates or not at all, and those phones sell pretty well.

      • Android provides incremental updates. Microsoft tend to break the compatibility either completely (like from Windows Mobile to Windows Phone 7) or mostly (like from Windows Phone 7 to 8, and now 8 to 10). Android updates are comparable to updates from WP7 to 7.5 to 7.8 or 8 to 8.1
      • Most apps are not dependent on the updated android OS version so it's less of an issue. I had a windows 5 phone bought when windows 6 phones were already out. Shame on me for not doing my homework, but almost every app I was interested in required (not preferred) Windows 6.

      • The key difference is Android isn't broken out of the box. Windows RT was. People are tolerating the device hoping things will change whereas on the flip side many Android users don't want to change.

        I'm hotly anticipating the next version of Windows to fix the clusterfuck that is 8.1 I'm sure the people with Windows gimp edition errr I mean RT were anticipating it even more.

        • Android back around 2.0/2.1 was fairly crap out of the box. It got better, but it was overall inferior to iOS when I got my old Droid.

      • A phone is not a tablet. For most people, phones get replaced once every two years. While tablets are not like computers who have a lifetime of upwards of 7 years, they're in between, around 4 or 5.

        And the developer base is different too. The moment Vista came out, people began migrating their applications off XP. But developers were until fairly recently still developing with Gingerbread in mind.

    • Seriously? So does Apple, and pretty much every other hardware manufacturer out there.

      • Not on the same scale. Most Android/iOS apps still work on tablets from 3-4 years ago. Apps developped next year (Windows 10) likely won't run on Windows RT devices sold this year. Just like WP7 apps didn't run on WinMo devices sold the day before.
      • I can't speak to Android, but Apple still supports and issues updates to the three year old iPhone 4S. Microsoft sometimes just walks away from stuff [].

    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      I get a new phone every two years. I just picked up my third Windows Phone the other day. An OS, yes, I'd like supported for a decade or so. A phone? Meh. I'll grab a new one every few years, and get the new software along with it. I haven't felt like they've abandoned my phones at all.
    • Interesting? Really mods? Who was it that abandoned their not even 2 year old OS? Oh yeah that was GOOGLE, who still patches their 4 year old Windows 7 phones? MSFT. Maybe you are talking about Zune, whose software runs fine on Windows 10 even though they haven't sold Zunes in years?

      Sorry but you got your companies wrong, its Google that drops support without warning, see the 970 million plus that are now vulnerable to exploit for just one of many examples.

    • careful, there! EVERYONE abandons phones. for some god damed reason, its a truth. MS, google and apple all abandon their mobile platforms way too quickly. none are knights in shining armor, here. they all suck and are all bad players, forcing re-re-rebuying of perfectly good hardware.

      regular pc's don't get EOL'd so quickly (at least with linux and even with windows, support is quite long). apple eol's things universally too fast, but apple sucks and people already know this and expect it from apple.


  • Given that Windows RT and RT 8.1 were designed for power economizing devices sporting 32-bit ARM architecture, and never had the same functionality -- to many users' frustration -- as full-blown Windows 8 and 8.1, it comes as little surprise that the RT versions of the operating system should be left out of the latest update loop

    In the Microsoft view of the world, all devices will become power hogs which are comparable to a desktop, because they've completely missed the fucking point.

    I think this is why MS'

    • by Chrisq ( 894406 )

      They have yet to see past Exchange and Office and understand what most people actually do with these things.

      You mean watch porn, right?

      • Well, I assume YouTube videos and Facebook (or whatever the hep kiddies are running) .... but, yeah.

    • With newer Broadwell and Skylake processors coming down the line, and a 4.5 watt chip that will run full x86 Windows, there's very little reason for Microsoft to not think that everybody will be running a full power Windows installation on every device that isn't a phone. And if they can make the phone run the same apps with minor changes, then it lets developers target the entire ecosystem with very little effort. If you could have a single code base that easily supported phones, tablets, and desktop comp
      • Except that mobile devices like phones and tablets are fundamentally different than PCs. Microsoft already tried this stunt with Windows 8, and got smacked down hard.

        • I'll give you the distinction on a phone, but on a tablet, I'm really not so sure. What is the fundamental difference between an ultrabook, a Surface Pro, or a more traditional tablet. Sure I'll admit that as you move toward smaller tablets like 7 inch ones, running a full desktop OS becomes cumbersome, but you have to admit that there are some advantages to being able to run a full desktop application on your tablet in a pinch. Sure you'd want to be using tablet focused apps most of the time, but it's nic
          • The difference between a 10" screen and, say, a 15" is a tough call, though I still think 10" is too big for a Metro style interface. Bump up to the 17"-22" monitors, and Metro is just a horrific experience that makes Windows 3.1 look like an ultra-modern GUI.

            Like I said, Microsoft already tried it. It was a disaster. They're not going to try it again.

            • by Isca ( 550291 )
              I think hybrid laptops are going to become more ubiquitous in the future, and some of them may even be as large as 17 inches.

              But have you ever seen a family use a all in one pc device? Even though most of us find it easier to use a mouse/keyboard,I've sat and watched family members who bought one of those larger 21 inch all in one gateways sit at the desk, use the keyboard or mouse to open up their email, then flip over to a web page and start flicking their way through links by touching instead of using

        • Except that mobile devices like phones and tablets are fundamentally different than PCs.

          No they aren't. Current phones and tablets are still von Neumann computers. If they have ARM processors instead of x86/amd64 processors, then the different instruction set is handled by the C compiler. The only significant difference is the user interface, but writing multiple interfaces for the same software shouldn't be an overly complicated problem.

        • Except that mobile devices like phones and tablets are fundamentally different than PCs.

          In what way? Pair a Bluetooth keyboard and plug in an HDMI monitor, and the phone's touch screen ought to become the trackpad of a computer with a desktop-style window management policy.

    • Well, Apple is running a modified OS X on its iDevices, and Android is Linux based. Now, before you state the obvious: in both cases, the primary userland, that is, the userland that you're interacting with right now, is a stripped down power-optimized version.

      And that's true of Windows 8.1 if you use the Metro UI too. Yes, OK, the desktop stuff is there, it's on "disk", ready to be swapped into memory if you want to run it, but it's not actually active in any serious way, it's waiting for a mouse click

    • From linked article below:

      Microsoft is gambling: it is trading short-term PC sales and putting PC partners on hold in the interests of long-term adoption of Windows 10.

      As we've written here before, offering free products in today’s climate of low-price but fully functioning devices is the way to grow market share.

      Microsoft needs market share for two reasons: to make decent money from Windows 10 licenses at some point in the future and get more Windows 10 devices in the field that let people sw

  • What this says is no long term vision/planning/execution at Microsoft.

    • We are still in the post-Ballmer transition. Its going to take some time for Nadella and Spencer to turn the ship. And make no mistake these recent announcements show they are at the wheel and turning it as fast as it will allow.
      • I think you're right, they're at maximum heel. I wonder at what point the sails touch the water. Or has this already happened?

  • He's dead Jim...

  • by jacks smirking reven ( 909048 ) on Friday January 23, 2015 @11:45AM (#48884787)
    While I would be pissed if I owned an RT device, the whole thing had the classic Ballmer "me too!" strategy all over it.

    x86 can't support a tablet for more than 4 hours? Better use ARM! Everyone else is! Screw compatibility!

    Whats that Intel? You've new chips coming in 8 months that will give Windows tablets 9 hour run-times with no real work on our part? You left a voicemail? Our WinPhone 7 never upgraded to voicemail and we didn't want to ditch it for WinPhone 8. Oops.
  • by Bearhouse ( 1034238 ) on Friday January 23, 2015 @11:52AM (#48884829)

    Should have been fairly obvious, I would have thought, that the bastard child would be soon abandoned. The coffin lid was pretty-well nailed down from the start due to lack of application support, so it was more like WindowsCE (aka "wince").

    Mind you, Google is hardly better - plenty of Android phones & tablets out there with no upgrade path, (yes, often because of the constructors or carriers crapware, I know). Also, don't bother trying to get iOS to run on an iPhone 4s or iPad 2 (I did - devices were virtually unusable).

    • But in the case of Android, I don't believe that is primarily Google's fault, short of requiring OEMs to provide an upgrade path, and I think the logistics of that would be difficult... how many upgrades? how long to support? Yes, some OEMs are idiots, but that's nothing new.

      Windows RT was solely Microsoft's bad idea.

    • Mine's running the latest version, 8.1.2, and it works great. Sounds like you just had a borked phone, it happens.

      I agree re RT, it was obvious MS was abandoning it, anyone who expected to upgrade one to Win 10 was pretty clueless.
    • What the hell does "Zuned" mean?

      The last Zune devices were released to the market in 2009. The last version of the Zune software was released in 2012. (Notably, the music store is still operational, although it is rebranded in most places outside of the Zune software.

      There was never third party software support for Zune devices, so it's not like that was "pulled."

      The Zunes were always a technically superior option to the iPods of their day. The thing that killed the Zune was the fact that people wante

  • Calls from slashdotters that redmond is abandoning surface might hold water. Zune was discontinued after 5 years of dismal sales, and with redmonds new "turning the corner" mentality its possible this is going to be accellerated. This is in fact the tablet that cost Microsoft 900 million in earnings in 3 years; its nothing trivial. It could be the new leadership just isnt interested in blowing a full 5-7 years of xbox revenue on propping up and enhancing something that users just dont care for much. Or p
    • by vux984 ( 928602 )

      Calls from slashdotters that redmond is abandoning surface might hold water.

      Honestly, calls from /. about Microsoft are usually full of crap.

      That said, Microsoft abandoning Surface RT is probable. The surface pro on the other hand is a solid concept that is getting better with each iteration.

      Combine this with Gaben's steam machines, OS, and broad support for an approachable commodity linux

      Steam Machines and Steam OS is Valve's hedge against being one-punched out of business by a hypothetical future micros

  • I guess that's the end of RT and ARM-powered Windows devices.

    In my opinion this is a good thing. Despite all the bashing, Microsoft has done a decent job with server operating systems lately, and Windows 7 was pretty good. It's interesting that they have enough money, power and leverage to recover from a move that would probably have sunk a smaller company -- it was also able to absorb 3 iterations of Surface Pro before they got it right, and the killing of Surface RT. Windows 8 was basically a panic reacti

    • > Despite all the bashing, Microsoft has done a decent job with server operating systems lately

      Well, at least up until October 26, 2012. (Wow, was it really that long ago?)

  • I'm shocked. (Score:2, Informative)

    by roc97007 ( 608802 )

    Shocked, I tell you. That Microsoft would release a non-real-windows-compatible, promote it, and then leave users out in the cold. This has never ever happened before Windows CE. Sorry, I mean, Windows Alpha. Sorry sorry sorry, I mean Windows RT.

  • Not very PC.. or maybe it is 100% PC.

  • CNN can go back to using them as kickstands to hold up their ipads. As seen on CNN...

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