Not that it comes with any surprise, but Microsoft has announced that they are dropping support for Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows Phone 8.0. The target date for this to go down is tomorrow, February 20th, 2018.
Both versions of the mobile operating system have reached their end of support dates, which means Microsoft is cutting off all services related to them. Therefore, if you do have phones with either of the two loaded, your notifications will cease to exist. This also includes live tile updates, which will stop working, as well as the “Find my phone” feature that allows you to track down your handset if it gets stolen or lost.
Many have jumped at declaring that this is Microsoft’s next move in nixing the Windows Phone products completely. However, despite the possibility that MS might let it all go, this is simply part of their end of service timeline that affects all Microsoft products. Just like ending support for versions of their PC operating systems (ie, Windows XP, Vista, etc), everything eventually reaches a point where it is pointless to support it any further. At the rate smartphones evolve and become useless, you find them to be dropped quicker than desktop OS versions, as users typically flock to newer phones within just a few years on average (most of this is thanks to strategic marketing on behave of the hardware companies).
Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows Phone 10 remain supported and safe for now until they too reach their time in the future. So if you have a phone with either of these two versions installed, you will be fine (for now).
The verdict isn’t out on Microsoft just yet as they continue to push towards a Windows Surface Phone. So although the branding and appearance of Windows Phone may go away (Windows Phone OS itself is definitely dead), Microsoft still plans on trying their luck with the smartphone market. The new Surface Phone hints at features like a folding screen and a more familiar UI to help it properly blend in with the Surface family of devices.
I think we still have a few 8.1 Lumia test devices laying around. Does anyone want a free phone?–Just kidding, that would make for a horrible giveaway.
Here’s hoping the next round of Microsoft mobile devices will actually succeed at something (all we need is the ability to run Windows software on them!)