The abandoned Windows RT is getting one last update before Microsoft turns its full attention to Windows 10.
While Microsoft promises that Windows RT is dead and buried, it’s still getting a Windows 10-style revamp.
Windows RT was a touch-friendly, stripped-down version of Windows 8 designed for low-end notebooks and tablets. The idea was to compete with Apple and Android tablets and it was little surprise to anyone, except perhaps Microsoft, when Windows RT was retired to Microsoft’s Hall of Shame.
While Windows RT looked like a full version of Windows 8 it didn’t run on standard WinTel hardware, which meant you couldn’t install your own desktop software. Windows RT only ran tablet-style apps and a handful of Microsoft desktop apps, so you were out of luck if you wanted to run iTunes, Photoshop, Chrome or other third-party Windows software.
Windows RT was fine if you were prepared to live with these limitations, but most people weren’t – not when they could spend a bit more for a “real” Windows computer.
Despite complaints from day one that Windows RT was a dud, Microsoft released two Surface tablets running Windows RT before it threw in the towel and pre-installed a full version of Windows 8.1 on the Surface 3 – which can be updated to Windows 10 for free. You’ll also find Windows RT on a handful of devices from the likes of Asus, Acer and Toshiba.
Windows RT will (hopefully) be chalked up to experience, but that still leaves Surface 1 and 2 owners out in the cold as the rest of the Windows world upgrades to Windows 10. The underlying hardware means that these devices will never run a full version of Windows, but an update is on the way to revamp the lock screen and Start menu.
The update is expected in September but it remains to be seen whether the changes are purely cosmetic, to bring it into line with Windows 10, or whether we’ll see enhanced functionality.
It’s not an unprecedented situation, with old Windows Phone 7 devices receiving a minor update as compensation for the fact they couldn’t make the move to Windows Phone 8. Microsoft’s handheld devices are also due for a major overhaul, with Windows 10 Mobile on the way.
Do you own a Windows RT device? What updates would you like to see before Microsoft shuns and turns its full attention to Windows 10?