Think Windows Phone is dead? Not so fast. Though the customer base for the mobile OS remains paltry compared to competitors iPhone and Android, Microsoft still seems to see the phones as important to its overall plan for Universal Windows Apps.
And on Thursday, the company began rolling out over-the-air updates to Windows 10 for Windows 8.1 mobile customers. Though only about three percent of smartphone users had Windows Phones as of November 2015, they’re a loyal bunch, so there’s been plenty of chatter about this online.
Some newer phones, like the Lumia 950, are already running Windows 10. But customers who bought older phones had been anxiously awaiting the upgrade for months. Because carriers have to approve the update, only some phones are eligible. (Users can download Update Advisor from the app store to see if they qualify.)
Microsoft also updated the list of phones eligible for the Windows Insider program, with some older phones no longer being supported.
So what’s in store for Windows Phone? Well, Microsoft is increasingly indicating that rather than owning the device market, they’re more interested in occupying certain niches (“affordable” phones) as well as pioneering non-traditional uses for phones—e.g., as portable mini-computers that can be connected to larger displays via Continuum.
Partnerships with companies like HP and Alc will bring new Windows devices to market, and tech-watchers continue to speculate about a possible, game-changing Surface Phone. But for firmer details about Microsoft’s mobile strategy and its implications for developers, you’ll likely have to wait until Build 2016.