Earlier this week, the end of support for Windows Phone 8.1 led to a new wave of “Windows Phone is dead” stories in the tech press, though Windows Phone fans are certainly used to it by now. Of course, they also know that Windows 10 Mobile, the successor to Windows Phone 8.1 is still officially supported by Microsoft, even though we’re no longer seeing new Windows phones being released on the market these days.
Overall, it’s becoming really hard not to believe that Windows 10 Mobile is not on life support as of today: the mobile was barely mentioned during Microsoft Build 2017 developer conference, and the latest Windows 10 Mobile Insider builds are all about bug fixes and minor improvements, with no new features in sight. Microsoft is still not ready to say if the “feature2” development branch is the end of the line for Windows 10 Mobile, but Head of the Windows Insider Program couldn’t avoid the elephant in the room during the latest Windows Weekly podcast yesterday.
Answering a question from the audience about new features coming for mobile in the near future, Sarkar had a somewhat ambiguous response. “We continue to invest in it, you see new builds every week, it depends on what you mean by a feature,” she started. She then tried to clarify the matter:
We’re planning a lot of features that will go on devices that are mobile. There are devices that are mobile, devices that you carry with you everywhere, we’re planning lots and lots of features and functionalities for those kinds of devices.
If the question was clearly about Windows 10 Mobile and Insider builds, you may note that Sarkar didn’t specifically mention the mobile OS in her answer. “Devices that are mobile” could mean a lot of things, and as we saw during Build 2017 Microsoft is building new features in Windows 10 such as Timeline and Pick up where you left off that integrate with iOS and Android devices (some of them won’t make it to the Fall Creators Update though).
But back to Windows 10 Mobile: at this point, we all want to know if Microsoft will keep Windows 10 Mobile alive, or do another Windows Phone reboot for the “ultimate mobile device” that Satya Nadella himself teased a couple of months ago. We likely won’t get the answer to this question until a couple of months, but all the recent leaks about CShell are definitely promising. So yes, Microsoft is definitely working on new features for mobile devices, but whether Windows 10 Mobile will be part of the journey is still up in the air.Further reading: Dona Sarkar, Microsoft, Windows 10 Mobile