This is a story I’ve always wanted to write. In the wake of Microsoft’s frankly excellent Windows 10 presentation yesterday, Redmond is finally killing off Windows RT. Hooray!
Windows RT started out its life as an answer to the iOS and Android platform wars: a stripped-down OS that looked like Windows but only ran on low-powered ARM processors so as to compete at the inexpensive end of the market. Unfortunately, similarly-priced Windows 8 devices started appearing on the market, meaning that Windows RT was a failed experiment in how to make cheap, shitty tablets.
Microsoft threw its weight behind the operating system with two versions of the Surface running RT, with Pro-branded hardware running fully-fledged Windows 8 to distinguish between the two. Following the Windows 10 event this week, Microsoft is distributing a statement saying that RT-powered Surfaces will only get some of the functionality of the new operating system, whereas Surface Pro devices would get the full, free upgrade. One can safely speculate in that case that RT is finally going the way of the dodo.
The last Windows RT-powered device we was Nokia’s Lumia 2520 tablet, which was both notoriously expensive and rubbish thanks to its terrible, hamstrung OS. After that, there were rumours that the Surface Mini — which never actually launched — would run the stripped-down OS, but it never saw the light of day.
While Microsoft’s statement doesn’t actually say “yep, we killed that shit dead”, it’s a fair bet that Redmond is in the process of pretending it never happened, and shouldn’t happen again.