Microsoft launches Windows 10 for PCs on July 29th. Later this year the company will roll out Windows 10 for smartphones, Xbox consoles, and other devices.

But what about tablets that originally shipped with Windows RT? When do they get Windows 10.

Never.

But they will be getting an update that has some Windows 10 features. And now we know what it’ll be called and when it will be available.

nokia lumia 2520

Microsoft’s Gabe Aul says Windows 8.1 RT Update 3 is coming in September, 2015. He hasn’t explained exactly what will be included in that update, but it should be available for the handful of devices that are already running Windows RT, including:

  • Microsoft Surface
  • Microsoft Surface 2
  • Asus VivoTab RT
  • Nokia Lumia 2520

Windows RT was Microsoft’s first attempt at developing an operating system for tablets with ARM-based processors. It launched alongside Windows 8 and featured the same Start Screen, touch-based user interface, and support for Windows Store apps as Windows 8.

But while Windows RT includes a version of Microsoft Office, that’s just about the only desktop-style Windows app for the platform. For the most part, Microsoft locked down Windows RT so that it could only run tablet/Windows Store apps.

Meanwhile, Intel reduce the price and power consumption of its Atom chips so much that device makers were able to cranks out low-cost Windows 8 tablets that were just as cheap as Windows RT models… but which could run desktop apps as well as tablet apps.

Even Microsoft decided to switch to Intel Atom chips when the company launched its Surface 3 tablet earlier this year.

So it’s nice to know that Microsoft isn’t giving up on folks who did spend money on Windows RT devices. But it might be even nicer if the company would tell us which Windows 10 features would be included in Windows 8.1 RT Update 3.

via The Verge

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11 replies on “Windows 8.1 RT Update 3 coming in September (it’s not quite Windows 10)”

  1. Why can’t these devices get Windows 10? If it’s because of arm processors, don’t all arm based phones get the uprade to 10?

    1. Not all, as not all will meet the minimum requirements, but the issue mainly is how different the OS itself will be…

      Windows 10 Mobile is more a replacement for Windows Phone OS, it’s primarily optimized for mobile usage and there won’t even be a limited desktop mode anymore…

      W10 Mobile will instead offer continuum, which allows Universal apps to be used in a desktop like environment but this feature only works on newer devices that can support it and thus won’t work on older devices… and it’s primarily intended for external screens…

      Meaning, Windows RT users would have to give up everything the even limited desktop mode provides them now, including the free copy of MS Office Home & Student 2013 and could not even take advantage of Universal apps desktop usage mode… So there would be essentially no difference between them and other mobile OS tablets anymore…

      So, with such trade offs there’s little wonder they’re not offering the upgrade to RT devices…

      1. Oh, come on! They could “port” desktop mode back to it without a great deal of difficulty. The fact that Continuum exists means they have infrastructure for that in Windows 10 Mobile. They just don’t want to do right by RT buyers.

        1. Sorry but that’s not even remotely true… porting Windows to ARM was always a iffy prospect to begin with… it takes a lot of effort to port any app from x86 to ARM and the performance threshold was so low that apps had to work even more efficiently than they did on x86 hardware to avoid being overly sluggish…

          It was a massive effort just to provide RT with even a basic/limited desktop and maintaining performance is one of the reasons they locked it down because 3rd party software could have made it all less efficient and thus too slow to be useful…

          Even now, a x86 emulation on ARM would not be inadequate for running the vast majority of x86 desktop apps…

          Besides, then there’s no reason they couldn’t just do it but for the simple fact that on RT devices Windows 10 mobile would only provide a crippled experience that would be more of a downgrade for RT users…

          And they wouldn’t be offering any upgrade options at all if they didn’t want to do right by RT users… There’s just not a lot they can do…

          1. I’m not talking about supporting x86 apps. I realize that can’t be done feasibly. But I don’t think a special build of Windows 10 Mobile, that had a desktop (or some functionally equivalent lookalike) solely for the bundled Office apps (which have already been ported to ARM, and don’t need to be upgraded) is out of their abilities. Really, all they need to do is port the new UI, update all the under-the-hood, kernel-type stuff that Windows 10 Mobile already includes, and add support for whatever Universal apps support ARM, and they’d have a “Windows 10 RT” that won’t have lost much of the utility of RT now. It would still be locked down for third party desktop apps. I think we have to agree to disagree, although I’ve enjoyed the debate. 🙂

          2. Yes, we’ll have to agree to disagree, but I’ll point out in parting that the ported apps only work in the that limited desktop created for RT and that’s a dead end development wise and nothing equivalent to it was developed for Windows 10 mobile, which only runs Metro/Universal apps…

            There’s also a lot of changes to the OS and keeping RT’s unique features would require creating yet another hybrid OS just for RT devices, which still won’t support future updates, nor support many of the new feature Windows 10 mobile will bring because of the outdated hardware…

            As it is, the update they are providing is creating a essentially hybrid update by porting at least some of the compatible Windows 10 mobile features to RT…

            But a hybrid solution kinda defeats the purpose of upgrading to Windows 10 mobile as you’ll still won’t have everything a newer device will support or be able to continue upgrading over time… and the end result will still be the same with this being the last and only upgrade for RT devices…

  2. A hardy ditto to you Sir!!! I have held out mine in high hopes! I am now considering selling it so I can at least help fund the new Surface 3. If it’s a significant upgrade it may help me with the sale price a little.

    1. Current selling prices for Surface RT and Surface 2 are ridiculously low. So low in fact that I ended up buying one a few days ago (a year after trading my Surface 2 in @ Best Buy)

      32GB Surface 2 + TypeCover + 32GB microSD for $120… I couldn’t resist. 🙂

      1. Nice! I got a 64gb, for 160 about 2years ago. I have made MS replace it 3 times for trifling reasons thereby extending the warranty 3 month at a time since the original warranty ran out a year ago. Currently have 2 month left on the current warranty extension.

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