Microsoft confirms Windows RT won't get new universal apps

Universal apps built for Windows 10 won't run on devices like the Surface 2, despite forthcoming update

Microsoft’s Surface 2.

Microsoft’s Surface 2.

Next month, Microsoft will update Windows RT 8.1 to give users a handful of new features like improvements to the Start menu and lock screen on their devices. Some reports have claimed that the changes will make the tablet's interface more closely resemble Windows 10, even though it's still powered by Windows 8.1.

However, that update, like previous versions, won't be compatible with new universal Windows apps that Microsoft has encouraged developers to build for Windows 10, a company spokesperson said in an emailed statement. Windows RT devices will still be able to purchase, download and run apps from the Windows Store that are compatible with the older operating systems, but newer apps (along with those that drop support for Windows RT) will not be available.

It's hardly surprising, since those apps are built for the newest version of Microsoft's mobile operating system, and Windows RT devices won't be updated to Windows 10. The writing has been on the wall for a while when it comes to the version of Windows that's built for ARM tablets -- Microsoft executives said in January that it wouldn't be providing a Windows 10 update to those devices.

Windows RT tablets never did particularly well, either. Microsoft took a $900 million write-down on the original Surface RT, while its manufacturing partners Dell, Lenovo, Asus and Samsung all bailed on supporting the operating system. The issue highlights one of the longstanding problems with Windows RT: because it wasn't compatible with apps built for x86 processors, the selection of programs available for devices like the Surface RT and Surface 2 is much smaller than the overall Windows app ecosystem.

The exclusion of Windows RT doesn't mean that Microsoft is abandoning its tablet ambitions -- far from it. Last quarter, Microsoft's Surface business alone brought in $888 million, and the company added new features to Windows 10 that are designed to enhance the experience of using 2-in-1 devices that combine the experience of using a laptop and tablet.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags MicrosoftWindowssoftwareoperating systems

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

Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?