Windows RT’s Last Hurrah

While the market has known for long seconds that Windows RT is over, it has not been clear where users of operating system would end up in the Windows 10 era. Microsoft’s Gabriel Aul noted about a month ago that RT users would get something, but until recently it wasn’t clear what that something would be.

Happily, WMPowerUser uncovered a new element of the Windows 10 FAQ page that details, in broad strokes, what Windows RT users can expect in “Windows 8.1 RT Update 3.”  To wit:

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 8.46.11 AM

ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley was quick to say that the update “doesn’t seem very robust.”

The Start menu is a key element of Windows 10, meaning that Windows RT users will at least see some of the fruits of Microsoft’s last few years of development work. However, I suspect that there won’t be too much more in the way of love for Windows RT, an operating system that controls minute market share.

The Warm Reverberation Of History Repeating

That a version of Windows is finding itself on an dead-end rail spur may sound familiar. It should. Microsoft did something similar with Windows Phone, when it moved from the 7.x structure to Windows Phone 8.

In short, users of Windows Phone 7.x could not upgrade to Windows Phone 8. Microsoft released Windows Phone 7.8 for users of Windows Phone 7.5, which contained some features that Windows Phone 8 featured. That’s nearly precisely what is happening here with Windows RT, which is being spoon-fed some Windows 10 features without allowing for a full update.

So, if you are a Windows RT user, you can expect some goodies this fall, but not much more. Windows 8 tried to tie the disparate world of Windows together. It largely failed. Windows 10 has so far put into place a far more credible attempt at the same job. This time Microsoft might actually pull off the Grand Unification.

Last Hurrah

The headline of this post is a prediction of sorts. Microsoft is updating Windows RT in a major way I presume for the last time; given that Windows RT is now firmly in Windows’ past, why would its parent company continue to devote resources to the project?

I asked Microsoft if it plans another large update to Windows RT. The company hasn’t commented yet, but I will update this post if they do get back in touch.