Microsoft has confirmed it has stopped manufacturing its Surface 2, which for now is the last of its ARM-based hybrid tablets that runs on Windows RT.
There has been some confusion about the fate of Windows RT in the wake of the release of Windows 10 but the fact Microsoft has ceased making the Surface 2 could be yet another sign that its OS for ARM devices could be on its way out too.
"We are no longer manufacturing Surface 2; however, those still eager to buy Surface should visit Microsoft Retail Stores, MicrosoftStore.com, third-party retailers and resellers for the latest availability," a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement to ZDNet.
The Surface 2 launched in 2013 to succeed the Surface RT, the first RT-based tablet that Microsoft made and which ultimately cost the company $900m in unsold stock. One of the chief problems the device faced was that legacy Windows applications couldn't run on it, while slow Surface RT sales made it unattractive to developers. The Surface 2 had beefed up specs compared to its predecessor, but third-party app choices remained slim.
Microsoft's decision to wind down Surface 2 production may therefore seem unsurprising on several levels. However, amid numerous price cuts to the device last year, Microsoft insisted it was not phasing out its ARM-based tablet, nor was it done with Windows RT.
The message at least for Windows RT remained the same with recent announcements for Windows 10. The forthcoming OS won't be offered to Windows RT devices such as the Surface 2, however Microsoft did say it is working on an RT update that brings Windows 10 features to the tablet and its predecessor.
Mainstream support for Windows RT will last until January 12, 2016, while support for Windows RT 8.1 expires on January 9, 2018.
Meanwhile, Windows 10 will be available for smartphones and smaller tablets, underpinning its OneCore project to unify apps for phones, tablets, PCs and larger screen displays. A preview for this OS is expected to be released in February.
The move to cut the Surface 2 follows a record quarter for Surface revenues, which reached $1.1bn on the back of strong Surface Pro 3 sales. Microsoft hasn't revealed the number of units sold, but said at its second quarter earnings that the Surface Pro 3 was selling three times faster than the Surface Pro 2.
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