Microsoft to support Surface RT for the long haul

There have been many questions about the future of Windows RT, the version of Win8 tailored for ARM-based devices. We now have a better idea of how long Microsoft will support the Surface tablet designed for it, though. ZDNet’s Ed Bott has combed through Microsoft’s support policies and discovered that the Surface RT’s mainstream support period will last until April 11, 2017β€”more than 4.5 years after the release of the system.

That support period should include firmware updates for the tablet in addition to software updates for the OS. However, the official support page doesn’t list an end date for Windows RT support. Instead, it points to a separate FAQ that states: “Additional information regarding the Windows RT lifecycle policy will be communicated as available.” Bott expects Windows RT to be supported for at least five years, the minimum period Microsoft defines for consumer software.

Even if Windows RT is buried after the Surface RT’s support period runs out, that’s still quite a long time to be receiving updates. Bott astutely points out that the original iPad, which is only 2.5 years old, no longer qualifies for iOS updates. Things aren’t much better on the Android side, where most tablets are lucky to get timely OS updates within the first year, let alone after that. Only Nexus-branded devices seem to receive consistent OS updates, and it’s unclear how long the various models will be supported. Even Asus, which has done a better job keeping up with OS updates than other Android device makers, appears to have no plans to bring Jelly Bean or subsequent versions of Android to its original Transformer tablet. That particular Transformer model is only a year and a half old, making Microsoft’s Surface RT support period look pretty generous.

Comments closed
    • derFunkenstein
    • 7 years ago

    Did WP7 devices get the same long-term support? If so this doesn’t necessarily mean that when Windows RT2 (or whatever it is called) comes out that they’ll get an OS upgrade. So comparing it to iOS upgrades or Android upgrades is pretty meaningless.

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      wp7 has received over 2 years of support, and 7.8 has been confirmed by ms as not the final update. they’re not getting the new kernel, but support is ongoing.

    • yogibbear
    • 7 years ago

    On my recent holiday… all these brats were running around the airport with Surface RT tablets that their mommies and daddies had bought them… I think when I was their age I once got a batman T-shirt or something. So there are “people” that buy these things.

    • WhatMeWorry
    • 7 years ago

    How long did Microsoft support the Zune? Probably apples to oranges.

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      the zune received years of updates. i have an 80gb, and it was solidly supported.

    • Xenolith
    • 7 years ago

    ARM is the ascending platform. Of course MS is going to maintain support for Windows RT. Give it time, it will gain traction.

      • hasseb64
      • 7 years ago

      Agree 100%

    • tootercomputer
    • 7 years ago

    Ever since the announced the Surface, the only one that interested me was the x86. I still think it will be a “must have” piece of hardware. My reaction to the RT has been”eh.”

    I suspect adding to the slow roll out of Surface RT, besides the RT, is the fact that it is only available through MS stores, of which there are few, or on-line, which does not allow the buyer to look and feel the Surface. The least they could have done is put them in Best-Buy stores and get them in the hands of people. To most folks, the Surface is only a picture and looks like a gazillion other tablets.

    • adisor19
    • 7 years ago

    Apple supports 3 MAJOR software updates on all their iDevices and always did. The iPhone 3GS is the only exception as it actually got 4 major software updates due to it being sold by Apple an extra year compared to the other iDevices.

    Adi

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      I betcha the iPhone 4 also gets iOS 7. With the older iOS devices they were limited to the capabilities of the cpu. This isn’t as big of a concern on the iPhone 4.

        • adisor19
        • 7 years ago

        Nope, not gonna happen. CortexA8 SoC are SOL as of iOS 7.

        Adi

    • Beelzebubba9
    • 7 years ago

    The 17 people who bought a Windows RT tablet should be relieved at this news.

      • cygnus1
      • 7 years ago

      booooooo

    • izmanq
    • 7 years ago

    i don’t think Surface RT tablet sales is anywhere near good, therefore i don’t think microsoft will actually back this commitment to give support till 2017 πŸ˜€

    • ludi
    • 7 years ago

    Microsoft has no hesitancy about converting grand hardware and software projects into gutter orphans on a whim. Recent examples of each: Zune, Plays For Sure. Regardless of what roadmaps show today, by this time next year Microsoft may have decided the ARM project was a dead end and refocused all efforts into the x86 tablet realm, and magically forgotten they ever released any products with “RT” in the name.

    Given that the world is headed toward a mobile future and the entire Windows 8 thing is a company-spanning initiative, I wouldn’t place any serious bets on that outcome, but it is still possible.

      • kvndoom
      • 7 years ago

      Support β‰  sell

        • ludi
        • 7 years ago

        Right, and…?

          • kvndoom
          • 7 years ago

          I didn’t word it as well as I should have, but I was agreeing with you. πŸ™‚ If sales are meh, then MS is already doing damage control- “don’t worry, we’ll still provide security updates even if we discontinue it next spring!”

            • ludi
            • 7 years ago

            Oy!

      • jdaven
      • 7 years ago

      Don’t forget the failure that was Kin after the Danger acquisition.

      • oldog
      • 7 years ago

      I dunno. My son still uses his Zune in spite of the fact that he has an iPhone. It seems that MS continued his music subscription essentially indefinitely.

      Say what you will guys MS tries to take care of their customers. I would take an MS product over a Samsung, Sony or what have you any day of the week.

    • LovermanOwens
    • 7 years ago

    Good to see that MS has plans to support this.

    • Shouefref
    • 7 years ago

    That particular Transformer model is only a year and a half old, making Microsoft’s Surface RT support period look pretty generous………..

    ……….. and making it the best choice for business users.
    Which is what MS had been aiming at.

    (I always thought that Apple is a toy factory)

      • jdaven
      • 7 years ago

      Almost every Fortune 500 companies beg to differ.

      [url<]http://techcrunch.com/2012/10/23/tim-cook-almost-every-company-in-the-fortune-500-is-testing-and-deploying-the-ipad/[/url<]

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        yeah, cause they are like OMG THIS WAS RELEASED A WEEK AGO!! LET’S ALL GET THEM RIGHT NOW!!!!
        that’s how business works.

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