Microsoft will no longer support Windows Phone 8.1. No more updates, no more cares (at least for them). As for anyone who still proudly owns one of the earlier phones, like the ever so popular Nokia Lumia 920 and 1020, you are sadly out of luck. You can still go on using your phone, but there will be no more updates (which also include security patches) for you to enjoy from this point forward.
Microsoft just doesn’t get it. Apple has won the cake when it comes to updates, as they offer a decent window for updates and those updates usually continue to operate just as fluidly as the version before it. Microsoft however, has focused all of their attention in letting the Windows Phone fall apart since the start. From exercising poor marketing campaigns or sometimes no marketing at all, to offering minimal wiggle room for smooth updates (at least before Windows 10) and of course a poor app market. They just can’t seem to get their act together.
It has been out since 2014, which makes it 3 years old now. However, the portion of users currently running Windows Phone 10 devices is a fraction (1/5th) of those running 8.1. Microsoft has always dumped support for earlier versions of Windows at some point, in order to help move people along to a newer and more secure version. This support however usually lasts around 10 years for desktops (give or take). By then, you are already a sitting duck for compatibility and security problems anyway. Since a very limited number of 8.1 devices will support Windows Phone 10, this will more than likely punch another nail in the coffin for Windows Phone, as it forces those 8.1 users to either buy a new phone or switch to a new OS option (which is more likely to occur).
Windows Phone still has one of the smallest shares in the mobile market. Attacking these numbers further shows that Microsoft more than likely plans on letting things go completely. This is unfortunate since it had so much potential. The GUI has been absolutely fantastic. In many ways, much better than Android or iOS (in some ways, not so much). However, the app market is what kills the Windows option more than anything. Just like there would be no reason to buy a $150,000 sports car, if nobody supports the gas to keep it running. I think that even if Microsoft plans on re-approaching the market with a “Surface Phone”, they have built up such a stigma that no one will care.
If only Microsoft launched a way to install Android apps on a Windows Phone, or to allow developers to easily convert Android apps over at a click or two of a button. That would have saved their arse and helped boost them into the big kids pool. Sadly, I just don’t see there being a future for them ever. Which is why I, a Windows device user since Windows Mobile 2003, have finally switched over myself. As of today, a Samsung Galaxy 8+ has been ordered to replace my precious Lumia 950XL. Bye Windows, it was fun while it lasted.