Is Windows RT done?

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 18, 2013
Updated • Jun 30, 2019
Windows, Windows 8

When Microsoft announced that it would ship the Windows 8 operating system in two flavors, Windows 8 and Windows RT, it was clear that this would cause confusion. The main reason for this being that Windows RT devices cannot run x86 applications so that they are limited to ports that Microsoft made, like the Office port, the application ecosystem that Windows 8 users get to use as well, and net applications.

It did not help that the price of Microsoft's Windows RT device, the Surface RT, was not enticing initially and that its availability was limited to a handful of countries.

While Microsoft never did release sales figures, it is generally suggested that they are not what the company has expected them to be in first place.

Many computer manufacturers either decided not to create RT devices at all while others killed projects along the way so that there is not much choice either in this regard.

Microsoft recently made the announcement that it made the decision to slash the price of the Surface RT by $150 so that the 32 Gigabyte storage version is now available for $349 and the 64 Gigabyte version for $449. A touch cover adds another $100 to the price though and while it is theoretically possible to use the RT without physical keyboard that you can attach to it, it is probably not something that most users may want to do.

surface rt price cut

No official statement has been made as to why the price has been reduced. The most plausible explanations are to move stock and make room for the next generation of Surface RT devices expected to hit stores later this year, or to increase the attractiveness of the platform by moving the price into a region where it should have been in first place.

It is clear that the Surface RT is not as successful as Microsoft hoped it would be, and there are several reasons for that:

  • Surface RT looks like a crippled version of Windows 8. While it is not really fair to compare the RT to Windows 8, as you do not compare iOS to Mac OS X, it is what many users do nevertheless. Fact is Surface RT relies on store apps and the programs that the operating system shipped with. Windows Store is catching up slowly and it feels a lot like a town run be renegades in the Wild West right now with its "everything goes" mentality. But that is not really an argument for RT either, as Windows 8 also gets access to those same apps.
  • Price. At $479 without cover and almost $600 with cover, it is not really the bargain many users hoped it would be. You can purchase laptops for that price that run a full operating system, and while you may not get touch support, it is probably also not on the top of the list of many buyers.
  • Windows 8. With starter Windows 8 devices being in the same price range as Windows RT devices, there is no real need to pick the latter. Would you prefer a full blown Windows operating system or one that cannot run all your favorite applications?

If you compare Windows RT to iOS or Android, it does not really look that bad anymore. While it still needs to catch up on things application-wise, it has the Office ace up its sleeve.  Plus, it is not entirely fair to compare a first generation device with fourth generation devices. It certainly will take time to get where iOS or Android are right now, but Microsoft has enough resources to get there eventually.

It is clear that this is just the first generation of Surface, and that Microsoft has big plans for the system. It already announced that it will create a unified platform for phones and tablets which will certainly be a big step for the company and users of that platform.

It is unlikely that Windows 8.1 will change the public perception a lot, but a major Surface upgrade and new hardware could turn the tide, provided that it is competitively priced.

Update: Windows RT is no longer supported by Microsoft. The company introduced Windows 10 S in 2017 and some leaks in 2017 suggested that Microsoft was considering launching a new OS called Windows 10 Cloud. End

Closing Words

Surface RT is far from done even though it did not produce the results that Microsoft was hoping for. But the company is in for the long haul merging some of its platforms into one.

The company would do good however to make it clearer that Surface is going against iOS and Android tablets, and not the company's own Windows 8 operating system.

Is Windows RT done?
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Is Windows RT done?
When Microsoft announced that it would ship the Windows 8 operating system in two flavors, Windows 8 and Windows RT, it was clear that this would cause confusion.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

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