Windows RT lives! 8.1 Update 3 coming in September -- here are 5 things I want from it

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Is Windows RT a failure? Obviously it is. With that said, failing is not always a bad thing. Taking risks and trying new things is essential to a company's survival. Microsoft was smart to make a version of Windows for ARM processors. The problem, of course, is that ARM processors cannot run x86 software. Software availability and compatibility are Windows' greatest strengths -- consumers did not like losing this. Hell, many consumers did not even realize this when buying an RT machine, leading to returns and poor experiences.

Windows RT is not dead yet, however. Earlier today, Windows guru Gabe Aul dropped a bombshell on Twitter -- Windows 8.1 RT Update 3 will be available in September. Oh my. We knew some type of RT update was coming, but it is so exciting to get an approximate ETA. As the owner of a Surface 2 -- which I still love -- I am overwhelming elated. The problem? Aul did not share any details. Here are 5 things I am praying to get in the update. Do you think my wants are reasonable and probable?

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1.) Edge Browser -- One of the things I hate most about Windows RT is a lack of browsers like Chrome and Firefox. Users instead have to use Internet Explorer. While IE is not as bad as people make it to be, it is not good either. Edge on Windows RT is a far better experience, and it will make Windows RT far more usable.

2.) Groove Music -- Xbox Music is great on Windows RT -- a wonderful experience on the 8.1 UI. Unfortunately, Microsoft just re-branded it to Groove Music, and there is no telling if it will come to RT. If the Xbox Music app shutters and stops working on RT without the ability to install Groove, it will be a huge disappointment.

3.) Office 2016 -- Windows RT 8.1 shipped with Office 2013 for free, since users could not install it separately. This means that Office is sort of a part of RT 8.1. With Office 2016, RT devices will be infinitely more valuable, even if they serve as nothing other than a way to use Office. Come on Microsoft, we RT users deserve it!

4.) New mail app -- The Windows 8.x email client is barely passable for average users, and for the most part, unusable for power-users. The mail app on Windows 10, however, is really solid and a great experience. If RT users are stuck on the old email client, it would be terrible news.

5.) Cortana -- One of the coolest things about Windows 10 is the Cortana integration. While it is doubtful that Microsoft will bring it to Windows RT 8.1 Update 3, I can still hope right?

Are you a fellow Windows RT fan? What do you want to see in 8.1 Update 3? Tell me in the comments.

Photo Credit: Andy Dean Photography/Shutterstock

24 Responses to Windows RT lives! 8.1 Update 3 coming in September -- here are 5 things I want from it

  1. barely_normal says:

    Personally, I couldn't give a rat's ass about it, but props to Microsoft for not leaving the poor slobs who bought into this crap high and dry. Much better than the royal screwing the Kin owners received.

  2. infekt_me says:

    I knew what I was buying. Had Microsoft advertised this better it could have been great but they just made it confusing to the average user.
    Its served me well and I don't regret my purchase and I am curious to see what update 3 brings.
    I suspect all the apps will be upgraded and that's about it.

    • derekaw says:

      Yes, it was an advertising issue. If only it was advertised better it would have been a huge success.

  3. derekaw says:

    Windows RT is dead. It was a mistake, it was MS trying to be Apple and it was a huge fail.

    • WP7Mango says:

      I don't think it was a mistake at all. Microsoft needed a backup plan if Intel failed to deliver on mobile processors. With RT, they do actually have a full OS which can run on ARM should they ever need to.

      Yes, it may have been a marketing mistake in the way it was sold, but it wasn't a technical mistake.

      • derekaw says:

        Well its dead and they took a huge hit for it, we obviously have a different idea about what a mistake looks like. It was MS trying t be Apple and that never works for them.

      • WP7Mango says:

        I'm not sure how MS was trying to be Apple. If anything, Windows RT is closer to Chrome OS in many aspects. Windows RT was certainly much more capable and versatile than iOS.

        The reason why Windows RT was a marketing mistake is because it included a desktop environment which couldn't run the millions of existing x86 applications. Windows RT would have made much more sense if it didn't have a desktop environment at all. But MS didn't have a proper Office app suitable for that scenario, so they kept the desktop mainly as a platform for Office.

      • derekaw says:

        I suppose the Windows Phone 3% is also a mistake with marketing?

      • WP7Mango says:

        I think it is certainly a huge factor, because the areas where it's well marketed have a much larger market share, around 2-4 times the global share. You only need to look at the difference between the USA and Europe to see this stark difference in marketing.

      • Noremacam says:

        I also find Explorer's file management and accessing file shares a killer feature that has no replacement in "modern" apps.

      • WP7Mango says:

        Interestingly, in Windows 10, all "modern" apps use the classic-style File Explorer if you want to open a file.

      • pmdci says:

        Windows RT was a mistake. Windows on ARM was not.

        Just got Windows IoT running on Raspberry Pi 2. Looks promising!

      • WP7Mango says:

        I'm looking forward to trying out the Pi2 with Win10. I have a project I want to develop.

      • pmdci says:

        I have to say that Wi10 IoT is still quite basic in some aspects, but it certainly look promising. I am waiting for wi-fi support, which at the moment it has none.

        Also it does not detect a PS2 to USB adapter I am trying to use for a keyboard (lame!). Hope they will fix this soon.

  4. Richard Saunders says:

    Windows on ARM could have worked if they had just allowed you to run whatever apps you wanted. Instead they just limited it to the Windows store while giving the middle finger to developers who had existing .net products that would have run fine on it if only Microsoft permitted them.

    • Noremacam says:

      Well, whatever apps that could be recompiled for arm. Funnily enough, that would've given a huge advantage to open source apps that could be recompiled.

  5. pmdci says:

    Microsoft should do the right thing and port Windows 10 Mobile to Surface "RT" tablets.

    • Noremacam says:

      In some respects, it would actually lose functionality - notably the desktop mode. While there aren't many apps for the desktop, the biggest loss would be explorer for file management, and none of the "modern" apps can come close.

      Still, it'd be a nice option to have.

      • pmdci says:

        However, the desktop in Windows RT is pretty useless, as only the built-in applications that comes with Windows have been ported to it (calc.exe, mspaint.exe, etc). you are right that losing file explorer could be an issue -- but I'm confident that someone will release a nice file explorer down the line, particular with the continuum desktop concept of Windows Mobile.

      • Noremacam says:

        Here's hoping

      • pmdci says:

        Hope is all that is left for RT users :)

  6. Vertigo X says:

    How about continuum? I'm fairly certain it would work well for the TabTops like the Surface or Surface 2.

  7. 1DaveN says:

    What would make me really happy with my WinRT Surface 2 would be if they offered a $150 trade-in credit toward a Surface 3. I don't mind the Surface, but I'm crazy about my ThinkPad Tablet 2, so the Surface never gets used.

  8. WildCowboy says:

    I am more worried about the windows apps store. What is gonna happen with the store we are using right now? If they created a new apps store for windows 10 nobody will do a sh..t for windows 8 anymore it means we windows 8 for ARM users won't see any new apps we have been waiting for. For me it is VPN client and Cisco WebEx client app. If we have an access to windows 10 store I don't care much about Cortana, edge, etc. New browsers will come in this case.

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