It was just yesterday that Microsoft, makers of the Xbox One and more, took to a stage to announce a future where its Windows 10 operating system adapted to whatever display and input methods users have and Windows 10 would be free. Today, we’re getting more details about how easy it’ll be to get to that future for some of Microsoft’s most loyal users and fans and it’s not all good news.
In separate statements this morning, Microsoft confirmed that owners of its Windows RT-powered Surface RT and Surface 2 tablets should not expect an upgrade to Windows 10. It also confirmed that all the Lumia Windows Phones it’s been selling won’t get Windows 10 update either.
First came Microsoft Mobile’s nuanced Windows 10 release details for its Lumia smartphones. After discussing some of the features included in Windows 10 for phones, a blog post at Lumia Conversations seems to confirm what many were worried about: all Lumias won’t get Windows Phone.
In the post, Chris Weber, Microsoft Mobile’s Corporate Vice President of Sales, elaborates on upgrade plans saying, “Windows 10 has been designed to run well on today’s Lumia phones. Like any upgrade to a new operating system, not every phone will upgrade or support all possible Windows 10 features, and certain features and experiences will require more advanced future hardware.” He says it’s Microsoft’s “goal” to upgrade the majority of Lumia Phones. Weber calls out the Lumia 930, Lumia 735 and Lumia 435 as devices eligible for the upgrade beginning “this summer.”
Not getting upgraded to Windows 10 for phones could be maddening for any users who’ve recently picked up a device running Windows Phone 8.1. Presumably, it’s RAM and processing power that’ll ensure some devices don’t get the upgrade. To be clear, Microsoft hasn’t explicitly said that’s the case though.
Owners of Microsoft’s Surface RT and Surface 2 will be among the others disappointed if a statement sent to technology website The Verge.
In that statement Microsoft confirms that it plans to upgrade every Surface Pro device to Windows 10. It also says that it’s “working on an update for Surface, which will have some of the functionality of Windows 10.” The Verge is interpreting that statement as Microsoft having no plans to update Windows RT, the operating system that powers the Surface and Surface 2.
Make no mistake, Microsoft is going to have some very upset users if this is indeed the case. The Surface 2 and Surface users an ARM processor that makes them much closer competitors to the iPad than other Windows tablets. Windows RT allows owners of the Surface 2 and original Surface to watch videos and stay productive hours longer than Intel-based Windows tablets did back in 2012 and 2013. Because they had a typical tablets innards, users can listen to music while the device is in sleep and the display is off. They also get notifications for emails and more as they come in when their screen is off. That’s something Microsoft didn’t bring to the Surface Pro line until last year’s Surface Pro 3.
It’s worth noting that Microsoft calls out the “Surface” as not getting an updated to Window 10. It’s possible they’re only referring to the device that launched in 2012, not the one it launched in 2013. That being said, a new Surface device running Windows RT was suspiciously absent from last year’s Surface Pro 3 announcement.
Microsoft hasn’t made it clear yet which features will be included in this update made specifically for Surface tablets.
All told, Microsoft is setting itself up for another show down with its fans. It’s possible that low-end Lumia owners won’t know and won’t care about getting Windows 10 on their devices. The same can’t be said for any midrange Lumia owners or buyers of the Surface 2.
This year’s Windows 10 update is the second time Microsoft has abruptly ended support for mobile devices. Even after it announced Windows Phone 8, Microsoft’s partners were still selling Windows Phone 7.5 devices that would never get upgraded to Windows Phone 8. That didn’t necessarily go over well either.