back to article Microsoft supporting Surface with Windows RT until 2017

Microsoft has set date on the end of mainstream support for its Surface tablet running Windows RT as April 11, 2017, with Office products likely to get similar support. This four-and-a-half-year support cycle is unusual for Redmond. Consumer releases of Windows usually get mainstream support for five years, with security …


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  1. LarsG


    It doesn't mean that they won't bring out something 'new' that won't be transferable to older devices.

    It just means there will be support, just like XP so this is just sound bite advertising.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The surface is certainly not built to compete on hardware resources - it's a fairly bog-standard tegra 3 as far as I can tell, which is already yesterdays news in mobile hardware. Perfectly adequate today, and equal in specs to many other tablets on the market right now, but next year?

    Things are moving massively fast in the mobile hardware world right now, and the competition doesn't show any signs of slowing down just yet.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Next year. It will be interesting to see if Tegra 4 (Wayne) launches at CES as expected and how performance compares with the A6X. Unlikely Samsung and Qualcom will be quiet in January either. Will Microsoft leave it to the OEMs for faster Windows RT systems or upgrade Surface RT in the Spring, will they announce Surface Xbox along with XBox Next at GDC or E3? When will Google bump Nexus? Will Apple leave it a year between iPad 4 and 5? Add in fact that Intel should offer credible competition with ARM in 2013 should make it an interesting year ahead, momentum indeed remains high with mobile hardware.

      1. Master Rod

        New Windows?

        Windows RT?! What! Another operating system? Wow.....Hmmm, I will stick to my Linux. As for Arm Processors, OH, now they have quad cores. That only means you can do more things more slowly........It it is not AMD, it's crap.

        Master Rod

  3. Goat Jam

    This, of course, depends on whether the platform is a total flop causing MS to chuck their toys out of the pram ala the ironically named "Plays For Sure" platform.

    1. PaulR79

      @Goat Jam

      Until I read the second half I honestly thought you were going to say Windows Phone 7...

  4. toadwarrior

    I'll be surprised if Surface even exists at that time.

    1. eulampios

      as I won't

      be surprised if Microsoft ceases to exist at the time.

    2. Doug 3

      so it'd be easy to support the few thousand users who would be clinging onto that old hardware at that point.

      As you know, this is really just some attempt to sooth some management nerves about a product with no market share and no hope of a market share. It's better than buying a RIM device but not much.

  5. P. Lee

    OS vs apps

    I don't have a lot of apps, but I haven't had problems installing apps on my "antiquated" gingerbread Galaxy S.

    On the other hand, Apple appear to keep only the latest app versions in their store so my 2g ipod touch is pretty useless. I reset it and all the apps which used to work, now only work with IOS5 which won't install on my device.

    Never again, apple, never again.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: OS vs apps

      Apple's developer tools tend to have a habit of only generating code which works on the last two or three revisions of iOS/Mac OS X. If the developer compiles with older version of XCode, Apple won't let the app in. If the developer compiles with latest version of XCode, users are forced onto the upgrade treadmill.

      OTOH Apple will never have Microsoft's problem, with backward compatibility as old as the hills and people inconsiderately refusing to move from an OS they're perfectly happy with.

      Buy a new shiny, not that big of a deal.

    2. Steve Todd

      Re: OS vs apps

      You didn't have it backed up and you expected Apple to keep supporting the old software versions for you? Kind of shot yourself in the foot there didn't you? How many other mobile manufactures provide support for 4 year old devices?

      1. Magnus_Pym

        Re: OS vs apps

        Not 'supporting' old apps just not deleting old versions no support asked for. And as the original post says it's still possible to get old unsupported versions of apps for old unsupported android devices*

        *and Symbian for that matter.

  6. Interested_Observer

    Support till 2017

    Ah .... does that go for both users ?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What does "support" mean though?

    Does support mean you can upgrade to the latest OS version? I don't see that spelled out anywhere.

    Is the original iPad still being supported? Maybe it can't be upgraded to the latest iOS version but if a catastrophic security flaw surfaces in iOS 5, would Apple fix it and offer a patch? i.e., is the iPad/iOS 5 supported the same way Windows XP has been supported for all these years?

    I think the usually-cynical El Reg is reading way too much into the word "support." Immediately they were transported into a magical wonderland where 4-5 year old hardware is guaranteed to run all the latest OS versions and apps/software.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. vmistery

        Re: What does "support" mean though?

        I bet android handsets are supported even less though. A 3 year contract is insane, most here in the uk are 2 years and I think that's too long. 18 months for me is ideal.

      2. LPF
        Thumb Down

        Re: What does "support" mean though?

        Hold on a second, apple forced you into nothing! it was rodgers you signed the contract with not apple, an the reason that an OS won't work on your phone is that it physically cant run it anymore, although if you had an 3gs you would be able to run ios6. As someone who got an HTC HD2, and then found themselves left high and dry by microsoft, your luck you you even got updates , I was screwed within months of getting my phone!

        Yeah drop Apple, go get an android on windows phone , and then find out the true meaning of the word "screwed"!

        1. PaulR79


          You do know that the HD2 is one of the most mod friendly phones don't you? It has an active development scene that has ported both Windows Phone 7 and Android onto it. Sure MS screwed it over just as they have done again with anyone that bought a WIndows Phone 7 handset only to find out WIndows Phone 8 won't be coming to their phones.

          If you're technically minded you can go the custom ROM route. Is it for everyone? No and I doubt it ever will be but if you're on a site like this I'm inclined to think you know what the risks are and are capable of doing it.

    2. ysth

      Re: What does "support" mean though?

      Agreed; "support" doesn't mean anything more than security updates for a version of the OS that no one develops for any more; it would be surprising if it meant supporting older hardware for newer OS or application releases.

    3. Mike Dimmick

      Re: What does "support" mean though? and click "Support Lifecycle Policy". Under "Consumer Hardware":

      "Hardware repairs or replacements and parts are available throughout the support lifecycle. Services are free for products under warranty and available for a fee for products out of warranty

      "Paid and Online Support: Available, fees may apply, see phone support and online support for options

      "Software and Security Updates: Updates are available for the software/firmware and OS that is embedded into the hardware (except for Surface devices, which is covered by the support lifecycle policy for the Operating System on the device)"

      "At the supported service pack level, Mainstream Support for software products includes:

      •Incident support (no-charge incident support, paid incident support, support charged on an hourly basis, support for warranty claims)

      •Security update support

      •The ability to request non-security hotfixes

      Please note:Enrollment in a maintenance program may be required to receive these benefits for certain products"

      I would conclude that for the Surface, service packs to Windows RT are included, but that any future major operating system, such as Windows "9", wouldn't be incorporated free-of-charge. That's not to say that a paid upgrade is impossible, in fact I would expect it to be available. Microsoft have defined Windows RT based on existing PC industry specs: use of UEFI to boot, ACPI to describe the device's hardware, standard function drivers where possible, in order to get OEMs as much *out* of the loop as possible.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Eulampios, Edon, Goat Jam and toadwarrior, the MS hater cabal are out in force today.

    MS announce something good, you lot try your hardest to spin it as a bad thing. Pathetic really.

  9. PaulR79

    Support until 2017

    They should have a nice selection of apps by then at least...

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