Since the launch of Windows Mobile (formerly Windows Phone), the OS is kind of stuck in chicken and egg situation. Lack of users due to lack of apps and on the other hand lack of developer support due to lack of users. The present situation is no different. With less than 1% market share and even lower if we look at Windows 10 Mobile (the latest iteration of windows on phones), Microsoft has clearly lost the CURRENT battle with mobile OS to Android and iOS. Yeah! Great you noticed that upper case word, and that is explained later on…
For now, let’s have a look at current situation. While Windows Phone users were already suffering from lack of developer support and the OS was starving for focus from Microsoft along with the wait for “The Surface Phone”, Microsoft took a U-Turn and separated the branches of Windows 10 Mobile from the mainstream OS development while it was the part of One-Core strategy.
Believing what you see
Prima facie, anyone would believe that this is the end of Windows Mobile OS, keeping in mind the lack of OEMs, developer support, apps, users and most importantly support from Microsoft itself, everything adding to demise of the platform. Period. The reality may be better than it looks.
“The Reality may be better than it looks”
It has always been the case that surface products are kept a secret till the day of launch and if Microsoft is planning to launch something related to mobile devices, there would be no exception. The point here is that if the device would be of different form factor, then “Windows 10 Mobile” would need a huge iteration in terms of handling screen sizes, support of Win32 applications (may be), feature packs etc. and if these changes were made made while keeping Windows 10 Mobile open to insiders, the point of keeping the device a secret would to be of no use as insiders and other tech enthusiast are smart enough to nail the features and may be form factor of the device and thus the purpose of keeping the device a secret is defeated. So there might be the case that Windows 10 Mobile is still in the development in the same branch as Windows 10 mainstream OS is, but is not kept open to insiders and hence “feature2” is given to insiders to play with in the meantime. Otherwise why it’s been named “Feature2”. Why 2 ? Just a guess. Yeah that’s why that uppercase “CURRENT” word. The future Mobile device may be category defining one as Nadella has already hinted that we will be making phones but with different form factor and not as in present form, not defined by current market. The ultimate mobile device, he says.
No better explanation to separate both
As Windows 10 Mobile was (is) part of the One-Core strategy and was being developed along with the OS in same branch, the efforts were less compared to developing a whole different OS. And at times Microsoft has hinted that they will be investing in ARM because of cellular connectivity. So there is no better explanation as to why Microsoft separated the branches except the case where Microsoft plans to replace “Windows 10 Mobile” with “Windows 10 on ARM” on mobile devices which is still a win win situation for fans of the platform and Microsoft itself. So let’s make it clear: the iteration of Windows you are going to see will in “future Windows device with mobility and cellular connectivity” will either be Windows 10 Mobile with iterations that are kept separate from us while under development OR another iteration of Windows OS itself which supports Win32 apps (Windows 10 on ARM) or MAY BE something else (A big may be here).
Also there is literally no benefit of updating current phones as present hardware won’t be able to use the new features of new OS that might be being developed with the mainstream OS and may even cause instabilities and increased usage of RAM and storage which will make older devices to perform worse.
A game of persuasion
While bringing something new to the market, the persuasion of the product matters. Yes, I am talking about the persuasion of Windows 10 Mobile in minds of people regarding feature parity, lack of apps etc. and it may harm the popularity of future product launches, so sometimes it is a good strategy to leave a market for SHORT period of time and let the persuasion of people erase in their minds and then return to the market with a bang. (May be somewhat like what happened with Moto G launch, if you remember).
What about the fans?
Microsoft is a business and the number of FANS of Windows 10 Mobile is…. (Ha! you got my point). Also, the fans are KIND of actually not sheer fans like iPhone fans or something that really admire what Apple does and where iPhone stands, but in this case, the fans are the lovers of the W10M and emotionally attached to it (many have jumped off the ship already for Android or iOS). If you pursue the fan in a literal sense, it would mean a fan of the strength and what OS offers with almost no flaws in the OS. In this case, the “fans” are just complaining what they don’t have (please don’t feel offended). What I am trying to say is that fans are not “admirers and lovers” but just “lovers” in case of Windows 10 Mobile.
Verdict and Disclaimer
As per the present analysis of the situation, thinking from the point of view of a company, then yes, Windows 10 Mobile (or may be another iteration of Windows on Mobile devices) is already in the pipeline and Microsoft was prepared already about the features of that iteration but showing off those features being baked into the OS was not the best strategy. Now, the amount of positivity in this post makes it necessary to post a disclaimer also. The thoughts written above are just not thoughts but an analysis of the situation, but an analysis is always an analysis and not a fact which may be going on in the world of Windows 10 Mobile.