Not all Windows are created equal, no matter how much Microsoft tries to convince you otherwise with its Windows 10 spiel. Just yesterday the tech giant was singing the unifying gospel of Windows 10 across all Microsoft’s devices, even including the Xbox game system. But now it is clarifying it just a bit that no, not everyone will be getting Windows 10. Or to be more exact, Microsoft’s rather oddball Windows RT will only be getting certain features of Windows 10 but not the whole shebang.
To be even more precise, Microsoft was referring to a specific model. According to Redmond, the entire Surface Pro family will be getting Windows 10. They are, however, preparing a special update for the Surface, not qualifying which one exactly, that will bring Windows 10 features to the tablet without bringing Windows 10. Considering the Surface, whether it be the RT or the 2nd generation, is the only Windows RT device line (that we know of), we can pretty much consider this applicable to the whole platform. And this can practically be considered the writing on the wall for Windows RT.
There will probably be no tears shed for the platform. Indeed, Windows RT was perhaps a bigger wart than Windows 8 itself. While the focus on ARM tablets is perhaps a welcome attempt, the implementation has left a bad taste in the mouth of even Microsoft’s fans. It offered none of the wide selection of software available to Windows 8, both the Modern and the regular desktop apps. But it also didn’t have access to the conveniences and apps of Microsoft’s real mobile platform, Windows Phone. Windows RT seemed like a half-baked solution made solely for the purpose of putting Windows on ARM tablets.
That purpose might no longer have any value today, with the improvement and proliferation of Intel’s mobile chips. Windows 8 on Intel tablets have found a better niche than Windows RT, and Windows 10 will strive to improve on that. It all looks good for Windows, except for Windows RT. What specific Windows 10 features Microsoft plans to port over, it isn’t saying yet, so we’ll have to wait for more definite information.
That said, the situation does make one wonder if Microsoft still has any plans for the ARM tablet market. Intel is by no means the king of that market, and some might argue that the likes of Qualcomm are still a few steps ahead of the game. Granted, there hasn’t been much demand for ARM-based Windows 8 devices, but probably only because Windows RT proved to be a disaster. Will Microsoft be developing full Windows port for ARM, or has it tied the fate of Windows to Intel and x86/x64 in general? We’ll have to wait and see how it plans to push through with Windows 10’s convergence to find any clues to these questions.