The dust has settled from yesterday’s big Windows 10 consumer event, and while it was surprising to hear that even Windows 7 will see a free upgrade, there’s one user group left empty-handed.
That’s because Microsoft has confirmed that the entry-level Surface and Surface 2 tablets, both of which run Windows RT as opposed to Windows 8, will not be updated to Windows 10 when it launches later this year. All three Surface Pro models will receive the Windows 10 upgrade, as they currently run Windows 8.1 and feature traditional computer chipsets.
The standard models, on the other hand, use mobile ARM processors, and Windows RT was hobbled from the start thanks to its inability to run standard Windows apps. Which is why sales lagged and most manufacturers aside from Microsoft bailed on their own similar tablet plans.
Not all hope is lost, however. Microsoft tells CNET that it is working on an update for the RT-based Surface tablets, which it says “will have some of the functionality of Windows 10.” That’s vague and could well mean little in meaningful enhancement, but at least it’s something.
We can't help but recall the split that occurred between Windows Phone 7 handsets and the shift up to Windows Phone 8. Those earlier phones, some not very old at all at that point, were unable to upgrade to the next-gen software - but Microsoft did deliver a couple of key features in a Windows Phone 7.8 update.
With the Surface 2 just over a year old at this point, the news is surely disappointing to anyone that invested in one of the lower-level tablets. But considering RT’s limited compatibility, its lack of a place in Microsoft’s unified Windows future isn’t all that shocking.