Microsoft's online store runs out of Surface 2 tablets with Windows RT

With Surface 2 not getting an upgrade to Windows 10, it could be a sign that the tablet is ready to be discontinued

Microsoft's Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablets

Microsoft's Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablets

Microsoft's Surface 2 tablet running Windows RT is out of stock at the company's online store, suggesting it may be discontinued after the decision not to upgrade it to Windows 10.

Surface 2 is one of the last tablets to run Windows RT, an OS developed by Microsoft for low-power ARM chips. But Microsoft has said it will provide free Windows 10 upgrades only for Surface Pro tablets, which run Windows 8 or 8.1 on Intel x86 chips.

At Microsoft's online store, all Surface 2 models were out of stock Thursday evening.

Asked if the company would refresh its stock of Surface 2 tablets, a Microsoft spokeswoman said via email that "Surface 2 is available at Best Buy. Microsoft doesn't have anything to share beyond that."

It could be an early sign that Microsoft will discontinue Surface 2, which was introduced in 2013 and has not been a strong seller. In any case, buying a Windows RT tablet is probably not a good idea right now, as it could quickly become obsolete.

Windows RT products sold pretty poorly but it's hard to say for sure if Microsoft will restock the store, said Bob O'Donnell, principal analyst at Technalysis Research.

Microsoft probably won't get additional Surface 2 tablets built. It's has already spent a lot of money on failed versiosn of Surfaces and won't want to incur more unnecessary cost, he said.

"RT was a mistake. This is closing that chapter," O'Donnell said.

Microsoft on Thursday said it would continue providing software upgrades to Surface tablets running on RT, but not to Windows 10. So if you are looking to buy a tablet or laptop with Windows 8.1 that can be upgraded for free to Windows 10 later this year, make sure it has an x86 chip from Intel or Advanced Micro Devices.

The first tablets with Windows RT started selling in late 2012, a time when Apple's iPad was a hot product. But the response to RT was poor, and within a year, PC makers like Dell, Asus, Lenovo and Samsung bailed out on selling devices with the OS. Microsoft last year abandoned plans to launch a small-screen tablet with Windows 8.1 RT.

Outside of Best Buy selling Surface 2, the only Windows RT tablet available is Microsoft's Nokia Lumia 2520. A 32GB model is available through Verizon for US$599.99 without a contract and $499.99 with a two-year contract commitment.

Microsoft's showing an affinity to Intel for Windows 10 on desktop on tablets, but remains committed to ARM for the OS on smartphones. Windows Phones today have only Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors, and mobile versions of Windows 10 will continue to support those ARM-based chips. Qualcomm already has talked about Snapdragon's support for DirectX 12, which is a key feature in Windows 10 for gaming.

People who bought RT tablets are mostly likely not technology savvy and won't care much about upgrades to Windows 10, O'Donnell said.

"With RT they still get a version of Office and Internet Explorer they can run. For a lot of people, that's all they need," he added.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsofthardware systemstablets

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?