Microsoft's Surface: Wifi updates, pen improvements, more cover colors in pipeline

Microsoft's Surface: Wifi updates, pen improvements, more cover colors in pipeline

Summary: More Microsoft Surface RT and Surface Pro questions and a few more answers from sites and spokespeople around the Web.


New tidbits about what's coming for Microsoft Surface RT and Pro devices are continuing to trickle out. Here are a few additional ones worth mentioning from various places around the Web.


Wifi updates coming for Surface RT: As Microsoft execs mentioned during a recent Reddit Ask Me Anything Q&A, Microsoft is planning to roll out two additional sets of fixes meant to improve "Wifi connection robustness" on Surface RT devices. The first fix will be delivered tomorrow, February 12, which is Patch Tuesday. Another is set for March 12, according to company officials.

Surface end-of-support date: 2017: Mainstream, free support for Surface RT devices ends on April 11, 2017, and for Surface Pro devices on July 10, 2017, as Neowin reported recently. Windows 8 Pro's mainstream support ends on January 9, 2018; extended (paid) support ends January 10, 2023. (There is still no date from Microsoft as to when support will end for Windows RT.)

Warranties for the Surface RT and Surface Pro: Surface RT and Surface Pro both come with "at least" a one-year warranty, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed. (Some countries require two-year-minimum warranty.) Microsoft also offers for purchase from Microsoft an additional "Microsoft Complete" extended service plan that is different from the base-level warranty for these devices. Complete must be purchased within 45 days of the date of device purchase.

Surface RT trade-in program? "There is no hardware trade-in or upgrade program at this time," company officials said during last week's Reddit session. "We are confident people will love the devices they purchase but if there are any issues that arise we have a 14 day in-store return policy and a 30 day online store return policy."

Updates coming for Surface Pro's digitizer pen: After seeing a tweet from PocketNow's Adam Z. Lein about some shortcomings around Surface Pro pen support for certain apps like Photoshop, I asked Microsoft for an update. A spokesperson sent the following:

"Surface Pro uses Windows Inbox Drivers and APIs (application programming interfaces) for the Surface pen, which support advanced features such as pressure sensitivity and eraser functionality. There are a number of apps in the Store that leverage these new Windows APIs and can take advantage of all that the Surface pen has to offer. The Surface pen does work with Photoshop, which runs on Surface Pro, though advanced features such as pressure sensitivity and eraser functionality may not be available at this time. Microsoft is working with the necessary partners to make advanced features of the Surface pen available across a number of applications in the near future."

More colors likely coming for Surface covers: Microsoft's Touch covers come in a handful of colors (black, white, red, magenta and cyan), but its Type cover currently comes in black only. During last week's Reddit Q&A, when asked whether there would be more colors coming for both kinds of covers, the Surface Team responded said there would be more Touch cover colors coming "soon" and that colorful Type covers will be "likely will over time." (No one asked if Microsoft planned to make the Surfaces themselves in different colors, as my ZDNet colleague Matthew Baxter-Reynolds is advocating.)

Will Microsoft make Surface Pro and/or RT on volume-license contracts: "Outside of what we’ve already publicly shared in regards to pricing, don’t have anything else to add," a spokesperson said.

Microsoft has made available for download a 68-page "Getting Started" guide for the Surface RT and Pro devices, which includes all the navigational and basic how-tos for those with both kinds of PC/tablet hybrids. And in case you missed it last week, here are some other Surface RT and Surface Pro questions and answers from Microsoft's recent Reddit session, including hints of a keyboard with extra battery power, promises of screen-resolution fixes and more.

What other questions do any of you current or potential Surface customers have?

Topics: Microsoft Surface, Microsoft, Tablets, PCs


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • :))


    Windows 8 Pro's mainstream support ends on January 9, 2013
    • jmcse...........Typo?

      "Windows 8 Pro's mainstream support ends on January 9, 2013"

      If your correct....what ever will Loverock Davidson do?
      Over and Out
  • Microsoft's Surface: Wifi updates, pen improvements, more cover colors in p

    Only the cover has color. That isn't enough for me to be able to determine if someone is using Microsoft Surface RT or Microsoft Surface Pro.
    • Aren't you happy either way?

      That is, someone subsidised Microsoft with their own money. :-)
      • as opposed to Apple

        who just give you stuff for free obviously
  • Windows 8 Pro support date

    Thanks. Fixed. it's 2018 that's the end date for mainstream support, not 2013 :) MJ
    Mary Jo Foley
  • Availability

    Now, if I could only find a 128 GB Surface Pro to buy... What's the latest word on demand and availability from MS, Mary Jo?
    Sir Name
    • Update on Surface Pro supply

      Hi. There is no update. MS is not talking about why they don't have many 128 GB Surface Pros. They just won't comment and won't say anything other than that they are trying to get them to customers. Sorry -- got nothing for you on that. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
      • re: Update on Surface Pro supply

        Thanks, Mary Jo. I'm guessing that the availability problem is the result of some combination of supply chain problems, MS being conservative about how many Pros to make in response to underwhelming demand for the RT, and the Pro being the right device to finally spur some serious pent up demand.
        Sir Name
      • frustrating!

        I find it incredibly frustrating that MS would announce the availability of the Surface Pro without making it... You know, actually AVAILABLE! As far as I can tell, the Best Buy stores in the Tampa Bay area received ZERO for the launch. Most of the Staples stores also received ZERO with some receiving exactly one. If course, all were the 64GB models. No 128GB models can be found anywhere at all. Way to anger the early adopters who are generally the biggest MS supporters!
    • @Sir Name

      I got a call from local Pop Up Store here and they said they got few more last night. If you live near to a Microsoft store, just give them a call
      Ram U
    • the real question

      The real question is how many Surface Pro's Microsoft is going to sell. My guess is for 2013 sales will be 2.5 million with a 15% return rate.
    • SSDs...

      We've just taken a delivery, this week, of Fujitsu notebooks that were scheduled for December 30th. That delay, according to the factory, was due to a massive 128GB and 256GB SSD shortage. Still, its not so bad for us, a few other schools are still waiting on their Toshiba, Samsung, and/or Lenovo computers - which aren't expected until March 0_0 (Kinda missing the whole "start of the school year" importance of the devices.

      Apparently a few big companies bought up truckloads of SSDs (one rumoured to be Apple preparing for another device release) and wiped out the available stock for everyone else. Seems that SSD production isn't as fast as demand. And the release of Windows 8 devices increased the requirements too.

      Unfortunately, I think it will be a while before the devices ship. Very sad.
  • Mythbusters were right !

    Apparently it appears you can polish one.
    Alan Smithie
    • re: Mythbusters were right !

      Have you been working on your resume again?
      Sir Name
  • The problem with Microsoft in a nutshell.

    After a weekend full of blogs posts and tweets about lack of Surface Pro availability today we learn that free support will end on July 10, 2017.

    People who want this product can't find one, but Microsoft is making it clear when they'll stop supporting it?! And people wonder why MSFT has been flat for a decade.
    • Huh?

      I don't get it.

      Would you rather them leave it a question as to how long they're supporting it? I suppose you'd then be saying "People don't even know how long Microsoft's going to support this, why can't they give us some clarity" if they didn't.
      Michael Alan Goff
    • Since Apple supports all its products indefinitely

      4 years support on a tablet is stupid. Since Apple will continue to update the original iPad for as long as it's working, M$ could afford to do the same.
      I Am Galactus
      • Uhh

        The first iPad only got 2.5 years of software updates.
        Jeff Kibuule
      • As Long As It's Working

        "Since Apple will continue to update the original iPad for as long as it's working" - Apple doesn't announce 'end of support' dates, they just provide updates which render the machine void of usability; thereby, ending their commitment to supporting same said device.