Windows 10 Mobile Nears the End
This will be the final year of support for Windows 10 Mobile, Microsoft's beleaguered smartphone operating system.
Microsoft's flagship mobile OS will lose support on Dec. 10, 2019, according to an announcement. Microsoft is advising individuals and organizations still using Windows Phone devices running Windows 10 Mobile to switch to devices running Apple's iOS or Google's Android mobile OSes instead.
Windows 10 Mobile was first released in November 2015, though it never gained a strong market foothold. Microsoft is planning to put its future mobile app development efforts behind the iOS and Android platforms, going forward. That notion is described in Microsoft's end-of-support FAQ document:
With the Windows 10 Mobile OS end of support, we recommend that customers move to a supported Android or iOS device. Microsoft's mission statement to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, compels us to support our Mobile apps on those platforms and devices.
Microsoft's end-of-support announcement is actually dated Dec. 21, 2018, but it's just now getting publicized, it seems.
Devices running Windows 10 Mobile will continue to work after the Dec. 10, 2019 date. However, end of support means that no more free security patches will be arriving from Microsoft. Unpatched systems are potentially subject to exploits by attackers.
Some functionality for Window 10 Mobile devices will begin to fade, too. The FAQ indicated that it'll be possible to create "new device backups for settings and some applications" after Windows 10 Mobile's end-of-support date, but there will be a hard stop happening on March 10, 2020. The use of services, such a photo uploads and restoring devices from backup, may work for 12 months after the end of support, it added.
Support for mobile applications will be iffy. Last year, for instance, Microsoft announced the end of its Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business and Yammer apps for Windows Phones running Windows 10 Mobile.
Microsoft's FAQ floated the possibility that other software vendors could offer Windows 10 Mobile patch support. However, no vendors taking up the effort were described.
Version 1709, released back in October 2017, will be the last version of Windows 10 Mobile. Microsoft isn't just ending its mobile OS for consumers as the Enterprise edition of Windows 10 Mobile will be going away, too.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.