With the demise of Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile well documented, those who have been holding out for Microsoft to break back into the mobile space with their own hardware and software have had little hope on the horizon. Further, with Microsoft seemingly putting an end to current RS3 development for mobile with the Feature 2 branch for current Windows Mobile devices, it appeared to be the nail in the coffin.
But, the road is not a dead end or at least, for the Microsoft faithful who want to see first party hardware again, there is hope on the horizon. Two independent sources inside of Microsoft have told me that there is a new hardware device being tested internally and that there is also a separate branch of Windows Mobile for this device.
I have been hearing about the software update for some time and the added hardware component makes sense as the company is pursuing “new experiences” with this device. Additionally, the UI is expected to be different than what we know today as Windows Mobile but the exact changes are still evolving as we are in the early days of development of this experience.
There may also be another ‘cut’ in the support for older applications with the new mobile experience. I have heard, but am not able to fully confirm at this time, that Silverlight applications may not longer work with the updated OS.
At this time, everything is still in early development and plans may change dramatically in the months ahead. The timeline for release is all over the map but seeing as active development is in the works and it is slightly beyond pure development stage, the release shouldn’t be too far way. But in the world of Microsoft, this could be a year or more (or less if it receives good reviews internally and gets fast tracked).
Last week on the Sams Report, I noted how Microsoft will likely re-enter the mobile space as this area is critical to the company’s long-term success; it’s in the second half of the episode that you can find here. Microsoft desperately wants to find a way to penetrate this market and has proven that they are willing to spend big money on trying to gain any notable market share in the mobile space.