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

More Microsoft Surface RT and Surface Pro questions and a few more answers from sites and spokespeople around the Web.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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?

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