The software giant put to an end developing and updating its products on the Windows 10 Mobile platform. Microsoft will stop releasing security and software updates on December 10, 2019.
The last major update for Windows 10 Mobile took place in October 2017 (version 1709). After that, the development of new functions was ceased, continuing to release only bug fixes and security updates. Devices running version 1709 will continue receiving backups for settings and some apps for three months until March 10th, 2020. Also, some services including photo uploads and restoring a device from an existing device backup may keep working for up to another 12 months from the end of support. However, Lumia 640 and 640 XL phone models running Windows 10 Mobile version 1703 reached the end of its support on June 11th, 2019. At the same time, smartphones will remain fully operational, and it will still be possible to install applications from the Microsoft Store.
Despite the fact that the company advised its users to move to iOS or Android devices, not all of them are ready for such changes. There are a number of reasons.
The first thing that deserves attention in Microsoft’s mobile operating system is its interface. Getting started with Windows Phone starts from the desktop. And here the OS fully demonstrates its flexibility and versatility. The user can independently choose the color of the icons, remove unnecessary applications from the desktop, add new “live tiles”, create “rooms” and groups, take out photos, documents, music for quick access, etc. That’s the way you can make your device unique. It is unlikely that you will find two smartphones running Windows Phone whose desktops would be completely identical.
A special feature of the OS — “live tiled” interface — changes the idea of management organization and the desktop as a whole. “Live tiles” allow quick access to the most important information making the interface as convenient and individual as possible.
The location of the “tiles” can be changed at your discretion, reducing or increasing their size. All unneeded tiles can be easily removed. If necessary, shortcuts removed from the desktop can always be returned from the application menu.
It is one of the main advantages of this system. By simply swiping down you can get a list of all the recent notifications and quick access to system functions.
There are basically no viruses in Microsoft’s mobile OS, not like its desktop relative. The Windows mobiles have a closed ecosystem, unlike Android. So, the anti-virus for Android today is already a must-have application for all the “droid-drivers”.
The benefits do not apply to all applications, and not to the full extent. It mainly concerns new features and new bugs of already existing apps. They include new office applications, mail, calendar, music, calculator, alarm, and clock, and in particular a browser. Unfortunately, several useful apps like snapchat spy are still not compatible with Windows Mobile OS.
Although the Windows App Store lags behind the Play Store in terms of quantity, Windows Phone OS defeats Android by providing quality apps. Because of stricter criteria, the Windows app store responds with cleaner options and consistency. For example, a browser Microsoft Edge takes the cake with its functionality in comparison to Safari or Chrome. Alongside visual search, book reading improvements, and more, it features a built-in adblocker. Moreover, Microsoft Edge for mobile phones can synchronize with the desktop Edge: for example, you can start reading an article on a tablet and continue on a computer or vice versa. Also, the desktop and mobile versions of the browser can synchronize bookmarks, history, reading lists, and passwords.
Offline Maps Integration
Windows 10 Mobile OS integrated an offline navigation system HERE into its Lumia smartphones. Basically, it’s Nokia’s alternative to Android’s Google Maps. There is an offline HERE Drive application with voice prompts as well. While Google Maps only allows you to download small areas of offline maps, the HERE system navigates you across the whole country including maps of all countries in the world. There is also an application indicating the nearest places (from cafes to shopping centers) in the overlay mode on a three-dimensional map with positioning in space.
This feature allows developers to write code only once, and as a result, it will work on different types of devices, both mobile and personal computers. At the same time, minor improvements will be required. Thus, the differences between the phone and the computer may become less noticeable to developers and, ultimately, to users who receive the same set of applications for all of their Windows devices.
It’s rather a benefit for gamers, but it’s worth mentioning anyway. The Xbox Live system is integrated into Windows Phones, so you can use your profile in this system for all games, gaining points and upgrading your character. In addition, there are common rating charts where you can compete with other players not in a particular game, but in general at once.
Being the latest family of platform operating systems developed for mobile devices Windows Phone has never been able to gain a significant market share of smartphone sales in comparison to Android and iOS. Its sales fell from 4% in 2014 to 0.3% at the end of 2016. And in 2017 the shares of the operating system referred to the “other” section amounting to only 0.2%, while Android and iOS accounted for 86.1% and 13.7%, respectively.
While some existing Windows 10 Mobile users now have to choose between iOS and Android for their smartphone needs others long for Windows OS to be brought back for their devices. Luckily, there is hope for Andromeda OS that is considered to be the future of Windows Phone. It will be a mobile-focused operating system that will make Windows 10 an entirely modular system.