The Surface RT tablet was released last month, but Microsoft has remained tight-lipped about the support policy for Windows RT itself. The company has since released information detailing its declaration to support its initial Surface tablet for four years. ZDNet has taken a look at the new information provided to see what this means for consumers.
The Mainstream Support End Date is set as April 11, 2017, with no Extended Support End Date due to the Surface tablet being classed as a consumer device. Microsoft has updated its policy to provide addition details to cover consumer hardware to better reflect the available support for consumers. Quick snippet:
"For Surface devices, any Surface software installed, embedded or downloaded on the device is subject to the software lifecycle support policy for that software (unlike other HW devices such as Xbox) ... The hardware support lifecycle policy applies only to the Surface hardware (and as stated above not the Surface software). For Surface devices, that policy affects only the tablet device and hardware based accessories (and for example not to soft goods accessories such as cases)."
What does it all mean for the consumer? Those who purchase a Surface RT tablet will be eligible for firmware updates until at least April 2017. Windows RT and the bundled Office suite will both be covered for the minimum five-year period defined for consumer software, providing ample future proofing for consumers.
ZDNet also compared the support provided by Microsoft against competitors. Apple's original iPad, released just over two-years ago, no longer qualifies for iOS updates. It's a cloud of confusion when it comes to Android tablets. OEM partners will be releasing hardware powered by Windows RT, and so far Microsoft's support lifecycle page is current word on expected support dates for hardware released by each company.
Consumers who have been affected by the Touch Cover issues will be pleased to know Microsoft is set to continue to support its products for a generous duration of time.