No Surface firmware updates this month, future updates less frequent

Every month since the Surface RT launched in October 2012, Microsoft has offered firmware updates for the tablet, improving things such as its audio support, Wi-Fi and more. In February 2013, the Surface Pro launched and, with one exception in July, Microsoft also offered monthly firmware update for that product.

That won't be the case in September. Today's Patch Tuesday event is traditionally when Microsoft releases new software and security updates for its products. However, both the Surface RT and Surface Pro update history pages state that the tablets won't be getting a firmware update this month.

The big question: Is this just a one month pause or has Microsoft decided to stop firmware updates completely for its tablets? We contacted Microsoft for comment and received this statement from a company representative:

Windows and Surface are periodically updated with new features and improvements as they become available, and they will continue to receive updates as needed. Product updates for Surface RT and Surface Pro will become less frequent as the products mature. This is the natural cycle for all devices.

The company has a Surface themed press event it will be holding in New York City on Sept. 23, and if you have been reading Neowin lately you know we have been revealing some early information about the Surface 2 RT, the Surface Pro 2 and future accessories for the tablets such as the Power Cover keyboard.

Source: Surface RTSurface Pro

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21 Comments

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Actually its absolutely not normal to have firmware updates for a product nearly every month, 8 months in a row. Firmware updates are the lowest level of software-based fixes for serious issues of a product. The only lower level is the physical replacement of a hardware module on the motherboard, if the issue is not fixable via a software workarounds and ugly hacks. Normally, a well-designed product should not need such frequent low-level software patching of the flawed hardware design. Higher-level software updates are usual however, that is the effect of rapid software development in the recent 10-15 years, where quality assurance has totally been forgotten, and patch tuesdays substitute proper testing. With that in mind, I would say there were no really serious issues with the surface RT/Pro. Yes, there were WIFI issues for 7 months (seems to be fixed now, isnt it?), silent volume level (fixed first, which introduced a new crazy volume jumping sideeffect, then fixed completely), windows button not always waking up the device, and basically thats all.

It would be nice if MS finally fixes the OpenGL driver bug, and the automatic brightness issue on the Pro :-(

I have my hopes on W8.1 and a new driverset. Other than that it's a great little machine.

I think Microsoft is right here. While devices use to receive _software_ updates for a longer time (and here we are with Windows 8.1), firmware is certainly usually only intended for hardware problems to fix.

That firmware is about to get less common, that's really a good sign.

Next big update for Surface RT will be October 18 with the Windows RT 8.1 release
Besides the 8.1 as a whole upgrade, IE 11 alone will take the browsing experience in that device to the next level and even with 8.1 preview the device perform much faster, so I expect even better performance over all.

In the bugs side, the Surface team has dramatically improved the situation in all the major problems since its release, including the low sound or the other sound problems in general, and the keyboard issues with the Touch Cover.

I'm running 8.1 RT RTM on my Surface RT, and it's amazing. It's perfectly usable, and pretty much addressed all of my complaints. They seemed to have fixed all the little issues I had with the 8.1 preview.

vcfan said,
tegra 3 sucks donkey balls. i sold my rt and got my funds ready for the new one.

It's not blazing fast, but to be honest, with 8.1 RTM on my surface, its very fluid and a great experience. it's what the surface should have been at launch.. tegra 4 will be a welcome experience though, so i won't complain about hardware upgrades.

i wasnt complaining about using it. i was actually very impressed with the software running on a tegra 3. i just prepared to get a faster version which would make it even more awesome,because really, the tegra 3 was a letdown as a chip, the surface rt wasnt.

In the RT 8.1 preview, I have had lots of issues with the power/sleep/wakeup/screen function of the Surface. For example the screen wouldn't rotate or even recognize it has the ability to flip the screen. The device would also freeze upon waking up either at the lock screen and sometimes show the time/date and sometimes not, as well as I have seen my Surface freeze at the picture password or and the "_______ is Locked screen" (displaying my user picture). Also IE's touch scrolling would freeze and the pinch to zoom would not stick to my finger (zooming in jerky movements). Sidenote: Also IE's flash controls are unclickable and untapable when giving it permission to access microphone (like on educreations.com) and sometimes IE will close all tabs and reload them.

I've not seen any mention of their RT not knowing when the keyboard has been undocked? Mine fails to recognise the removal of the Touchcover more often than it does, and it drives me around the bend.

scumdogmillionaire said,
Doubt it. The more likely culprit is Firmware that was released with the preview.

Are you kidding me?

You're using a beta OS. An early beta OS at that.

Wait for 8.1 RT to be released or download the RTM leak like I did.