What’s ahead for the Windows Phone fan?
Microsoft’s commitment to Mobile and the Surface Phone
The Lumia sales declined for fifth consecutive quarter – from 10.5 million in Q4 2014 to just 2.3 million in Q1 2016. We knew that sales would be low – earlier this year, Microsoft’s Terry Myerson said that Phones won’t be a focus in 2016, but the company is ‘committed to mobile’ and there are plans for many cool things in 2017.
But a recent email sent from Myerson to partners had a clear message: Windows Phone / Mobile will exist for many years. Myerson writes:
We are committed to deliver Windows 10 on mobile devices with small screen running ARM processors.
We are currently in development of our next generation products and I wanted to reconfirm our commitment to Windows 10 Mobile. We believe in this product’s value to business customers and it is our intention to support the Windows 10 Mobile platform for many years. We have a device roadmap to support that from Microsoft as well as our OEM partners who will also be selling an expanded lineup of phone devices based on this platform.
Myerson says that Microsoft is committed to the current ‘ARM’ processors and new phones are being planned. He also believes that current and future phones are ‘valuable to business customers’, which is a clear sign that Microsoft will be focusing on the business segment in the next mobile push.
Microsoft is definitely working hard to improve the mobile Windows – the platform is updated monthly with new cumulative updates for Build 10586, while Insides on the Fast and Slow Rings are already testing some new functionalities and improvements part of the upcoming Anniversary Update (a.k.a Redstone 1) in the summer.
While the Redstone 1 will significantly improve the OS, the big things for Mobile will be coming with Redstone 2 and 3. The improvements in Redstone 2 (expected around April 2017) and Redstone 3 (late 2017) will be heavily focused on mobile productivity, Continuum, Cortana and the integration between PC and Mobile.
According to Windows Central, the mythical Surface Phone will be announced around April 2017 with Redstone 2 update, and it will be ‘the most productive and secure phone in the world’.
The company states that Continuum can make the difference, so the new wave of phones are likely to offer expanded-Continuum features and Win32 apps through virtualization or new x86 processors. We’ve already heard about a project called Surface ‘NorthStar’ that could include an Intel processor capable of natively running PC programs.
Meanwhile, Windows 10 Mobile even supports the unannounced Snapdragon 830 processor by Qualcomm, so there could be two or three Surface Phones in 2017 – each targeting different market segment.
That is some exciting news about Windows 10 Mobile for the geek. We hope that Microsoft has learned its lessons, because another failure may shrink the market share to zero.