I've written about the demise of Windows RT on more than one occasion over the course of the last couple of weeks, and in the comments section of both articles, there's mention of Microsoft Bob. Prior to those incidents, it had been a long time since I've seen anyone bring it up. References to Microsoft Bob usually only manifest when talking about forgettable Windows releases, like ME, Vista (pre-SP1), and RT. However, Microsoft Bob wasn't actually a Windows version, it was a patronizing GUI that foreshadowed Windows RT's demise. Never heard of it? Let's take a trip back in time.
For all intents and purposes, Windows RT is finally dead. That was actually true a week ago when Microsoft discontinued its Surface 2 tablets, thereby removing life support from Windows RT. But now that Microsoft announced it's no longer producing Nokia Lumia 2520 tablets, it's okay to write Windows RT's obituary -- this is, after all, the final nail in the coffin of an OS that died a slow and uneventful death.
Looking back through the years, it's pretty easy to pick out certain forgettable versions of Windows. You know the ones -- Windows ME, Windows Vista (before the first Service Pack), and now Windows RT, the most recent of the bunch. Microsoft has reportedly stopped producing Surface 2 tablets, which also means that the future of Windows RT is nonexistent at this point. You'll have to excuse us for not weeping.
Microsoft first offered up its free update to Windows 8.1 (from Windows 8) for the general public back in October of last year, though there are still many users who have been unable to make the leap. If you're one of the unlucky ones pulling your hair out wondering why you can't get the update to install, hang tight, a fix might finally be forthcoming. At long last, Microsoft has released an automatic update that's supposed to solve the Windows 8.1 upgrade issue.
Surface Pro 3 user guide makes many references to long-rumored smaller sibling
Microsoft was widely expected to lift the curtain on an 8-inch tablet called the Surface Mini at its special event in New York on May 20, 2014. While the event did go through as planned, the long-rumored tablet was nowhere to be seen. What the world got instead was a 12-inch Windows 8.1 tablet called the Surface Pro 3 and a bunch of reports that suggested the Mini had been abandoned by Microsoft at the very last minute.
Tim Sweeney confirms there's interest in porting Unreal Engine 4 to Windows Phone and RT
When the time is right, Epic will make its Unreal Engine 4 platform available on Windows Phone and Windows RT. Exactly when that time will be is still up in the air, but thanks to a forum post in which Epic co-founder and CEO Tim Sweeney responded to a user question, we at least know it's something the company is both interested in and has been working towards to some degree.
Microsoft Surface RT is now the only Windows RT device on the market
The Dell XPS 10 Windows RT tablet is no longer available from the PC vendor’s website and the now-private company is recommending the Windows 8-running Latitude 10 instead to anyone who comes looking for the former. With Samsung, Lenovo and Asus having already given up on the struggling platform, this is probably the last thing Microsoft needed at this point.
Redmond is offering a minimum of $200 for “gently used” iPads
Microsoft is currently running a limited-time iPad trade-in offer, allowing people to bring in their “gently used” iPad 2,3,or 4 into select Microsoft retail outlets across the U.S. and Canada and walk out with a Microsoft store gift card worth a minimum of $200. While the offer has been live for well over a week now, the good news is that there’s still plenty of time left.
Whatever plans Microsoft may have had for Windows RT heading into 2014 may need to be adjusted. Consumers just aren't buying Windows RT devices, and with sales being as weak as they are, Microsoft's OEM partners are beginning to lose interest, too. Case in point, Asus has reportedly decided to stop producing Windows RT tablets, which run on ARM-based processors rather than x86 chips.
Serving as yet another sign that mobile platforms are here to stay, Futuremark announced that it plans to port its PCMark benchmark over to Android, iOS, and Windows RT. Like its Windows counterpart, the mobile version will feature benchmark tests based on real-world use scenarios, though they'll be geared toward activities that smartphone and tablet owners perform on a daily basis. It will also examine battery life.