It has been a long, long time since die-hard fans of Windows smartphones have gotten good news, but Microsoft has a little bit for them today. The company has not ended support for Windows 10 Mobile this month as previously planned. Instead, Windows 10 Mobile will get one more month of update support. Microsoft’s mobile platform is now slated to get its final update in January 2020.
Microsoft’s current attempt at remaining relevant in mobile stretches all the way back to Windows Phone 7 (originally called Windows Phone 7 Series), which launched in 2010. That was the era of the iPhone 4 and Android 2.2 Froyo when mobile users were far from locked in, and Windows Phone had a lot of things going for it. Microsoft could have carved out a piece of the emerging mobile ecosystem, but it was slow to add new features, and app developers showed little interest in developing for Windows Phone.
Windows 10 Mobile aimed to provide greater consistency with the desktop version of the OS with features like Continuum. You could even plug one of the company’s Lumia phones into a monitor to get a familiar desktop mode. However, even Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s mobile division in 2013 wasn’t enough to force Windows 10 Mobile on consumers who had largely settled into Android or iOS.
About a year ago, Microsoft announced that it would end support for Windows 10 Mobile. At the time, the December 2019 patches were scheduled to be the last. That update rolled out on December 10th, but Microsoft quietly updated its documentation to include one last update. Windows 10 Mobile devices will get another update in January 2020.
There won’t be any new features in the final update — Microsoft stopped developing anything new when it announced the end-of-life timeline. The OTA will, however, have security patches. The phones will continue working after January, but the time has come to move on. The longer people continue using Windows 10 Mobile after the final update, the more likely they’ll run into a security issue. So, even a small extension is a good thing.
A relaunch for Windows on smartphones doesn’t seem to be in the cards, either. Microsoft has moved on to Android with the recently announced Surface Duo. However, this dual-screen phone won’t launch until late 2020.
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