Microsoft: Surface RT Supported For At Least 4 Years

by Gaurav Kheterpal on November 26, 2012

I have to admit that I was quiet impressed with the Microsoft Surface tablet when it was announced. The usual Redmond-istique hype curve followed as everybody including Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates talked about how the Microsoft Surface tablet would be a game changer and a device Apple will soon have to follow.

However since then, Microsoft has got it all wrong in the lead up to the Surface tablet launch – it has drawn staunch criticism from Windows partners, failed to educate users on the nuances of the platform and it’s cause hasn’t been helped by an unhelpful tutorial process, hidden features, and reduced discoverability within the touchscreen interface. Add to that the fact that Microsoft employs a different version of its Windows 8 OS on PCs than it does on tablets, and it’s starting to become clear why analysts have been hesitant to embrace Microsoft’s new creation.

Amid all the confusion and disappointment, Microsoft has finally revealed its cards on Surface RT. The Redmond giant yesterday announced that it plans to support Surface RT with software updates and security fixes for four and a half years after the products initial release, or to be more precise, April 11th 2017.

While I strongly believe that more needs to be done to educate prospect buyers on the subtle differences between Windows RT and Windows 8, I’m glad that Microsoft has finally woken up to the need of announcing its support policy for RT.

Given Microsoft’s history, the company has typically supported its Windows software for five years, with extended support available for businesses. However, support for the Surface RT is a tricky proposition as it is a hardware and software combo. The current policy effectively means that if after April 11, 2017, a user still has a Surface RT tablet and faces any software bugs, this user will have to live with it or purchase a new device.

Analysts believe the support duration for Surface RT is adequate considering that rival devices such as the Apple original iPad, released in early 2010, no longer qualifies for iOS updates, security or otherwise, and it’s barely 2 years old. Of course, Microsoft would also need to provide support for Windows RT tablets produced by other companies. It could turn into a tough situation for Microsoft as several major Windows 8 partners including HP and Acer have turned into the most vocal critics of Microsoft’s foray into the tablet market, as several months ago the latter lambasted the software giant for its ill-conceived and misguided attempt at taking on Apple.

If you’re still gasping for breath trying to figure out the differences between Surface and Surface RT & Windows 8 and Windows RT – The biggest difference is target hardware – Windows RT only runs on ARM-powered devices, while Windows 8 only runs on x86 devices. Though both these OS use the new Metro interface, but Windows 8 can also drop down to the traditional Desktop for older apps. However, when it comes to the all important software and application support, Windows RT doesn’t get everything you’ll find in Windows 8. To summarise, you’ll have to look deep and hard to find a reason to adopt Windows RT (and Surface RT).

Unsurprisingly, several manufacturers such as Acer have already delayed the launch of its Windows RT tablets following mixed reviews for Microsoft’s own Surface device owing to paucity of compatible software.

Given Microsoft’s assurance that Surface RT would be supported for at least another 4 years, would you consider buying one this holiday season?

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby: RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.


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