Support for Windows Phone 8.1 has officially ended, marking the end of an era on Microsoft’s mobile ambitions.
Windows Phone 8.1 arrived three years ago as an update to the critically popular but commercially unsuccessful Windows Phone 8, which itself debuted in 2012.
Windows Phone secured modest market share, particularly in Europe, but failed to seriously challenge the duopoly of Android and iOS.
The only real manufacturing supporter of the platform was Nokia, which itself was bought by Microsoft in 2013 for £4.6 billion, and Windows Phone failed to secure the developer support needed to ensure a steady stream of applications.
Windows Phone is succeeded by Windows 10 Mobile, a version of Microsoft’s ‘one operating system to rule them all’ and the company has made much of the ‘continuum feature’ that lets a smartphone act like a PC. The HP Elite x3 is as an example of a Windows 10 phone that follows this strategy.
But Microsoft’s mobile vision is becoming increasingly diluted. Indeed only a select number of handsets will support Windows 10 Creators Update, which means even some devices that have upgraded to Windows 10 will no longer be supported.
The company has also cut thousands of jobs in is smartphone business, most of which affect Nokia’s home of Finland, and sold its feature phone business.
Speculation of a ‘Surface Phone’ persists but there has been no concrete evidence of its existence to date.
Silicon has contacted Microsoft for comment.
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