Over the last couple of months, Windows phones have slowly become irrelevant in the mobile market, if it ever was at all. According to the latest data from Gartner, the mobile operating system claimed a tiny 0.6% OS share worldwide during Q2 2016 with only 1.9 million units sold. Microsoft, who still remains the most important Windows phone manufacturer according to the latest data from AdDuplex, currently sits at an uncomfortable place: the company has clearly scaled back its mobile efforts to let third-party OEMs sell more Windows phones, but this strategy is not working so far even if the HP Elite x3, a premium business-targeted handset seems promising.
While Windows phones will probably keep bleeding market share in the coming months, Microsoft remains committed to keep Windows 10 Mobile alive and so far the mobile OS is still being updated at a regular pace. But as the company is reportedly ending sales of Lumia phones in December, many could wonder if we'll really see new mobile hardware from Microsoft including the rumored Surface Phone. When asked to give a comment about the future of the Lumia line on Twitter, Head of the Windows Insider program Dona Sarkar gave the following answer:
We're dedicated to mobile & sending out flights. As our partners bring devices to market, we will include these for Insiders too
— Dona Sarkar @ #MSIgnite prep (@donasarkar) September 12, 2016
As you can expect, it's still too early for Microsoft to announce new first-party mobile hardware and Sarkar also seems to confirm that Redmond is sticking with its plan to let third-party OEMs claim a bigger share of the Windows phone market. Moreover, the exec made it clear that going forward more Windows phone devices from third-party OEMs will be eligible for the Windows Insider program. In other words, Windows phone enthusiasts who like to live on the bleeding edge won't miss anything when choosing a non-Microsoft Windows phone.
As for the future of Windows 10 Mobile, Sarkar didn't say anything new: earlier in May, Head of the Windows and Devices Group Terry Myerson said in an internal memo sent to Windows partners that the mobile OS would still be supported in the coming years. "I want to assure you that your investment in Windows phones is not at risk. The mobility of the Windows 10 experience remains core to our More Personal Computing ambition," he explained. Do you believe Microsoft is still committed to mobile even if Windows phones are still struggling in the market? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.