Last year Microsoft introduced two tablets, the Surface RT and the Surface Pro. This year the company launched two more: The Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2.

Notice something missing? Any mention of RT in the cheaper tablet. Since Microsoft is also continuing to offer last year’s model as an entry-level device, it’s not surprising that the company has updated the name — it’s now just called the Microsoft Surface.

Windows 8.1 Desktop Tile

So a basic Surface tablet runs Windows RT, which means it has an ARM-based processor and support for Modern UI apps downloaded from the Windows Store, but can’t run most older Windows apps in desktop mode.

The Surface Pro tablets fully support desktop and Modern apps.

To help keep things distinct, Microsoft is also eliminating the Desktop tile from the Start Screen on Surface and Surface 2 tablets. You can still get to the Desktop, but it takes more taps or clicks — and the only app you can really run in desktop mode is Microsoft Office.

It does seem a little odd though, that by taking “RT” out of the names, Microsoft seems to be blurring the lines between the Surface and Surface Pro tablets — but by making access to dekstop mode even more limited in Windows RT tablets, the company’s kind of emphasizing the differences. Surface tablets primarily run touch-friendly Modern apps, Surface Pro tablets run all Windows apps.

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9 replies on “Lilbits (10-23-2013): Goodbye Surface RT, hello Surface”

  1. Well next year the “Sur 3” will be out. Like Pokemon, you’ll just “gotta have ’em all!”

  2. Microsoft wants a unified interface on all devices. Well, they’ve succeeded. Windows 8 Metro sucks on all devices, regardless of the hardware platform.

    1. It has it’s place – phones and tablets are fine. The problem is it’s forced down consumers throats in areas where they don’t want it.

      If I’m multitasking in desktop mode, using all my screen real estate for a menu to start a new program is ridiculous. NT4 and windows 95’s start menu was more efficient 18 years ago, and had the concept of folders in the menu. Metro doesn’t.

  3. After all of the confusion microsoft had about windows 8 and windows 8 RT they confuse customers even more. This is a bad move. Epic fail.

  4. Expect “desktop mode” to see further de-emphasis in coming Windows versions even on x86/x64 SKUs. Desktop applications are considered legacy now.

      1. If you check some of the BUILD 2013 presentations you’ll see that Adobe is already struggling with this. So far all they have are a few “concepts” they’re tossing around.

  5. Removing RT is like not telling you what you’re buying. It’s their way to sell more tablets by way of consumer mistake.

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