Bad news, Lumia fans: Microsoft announced today that it is scaling back its collection of Lumia-branded mobile apps to coincide with the coming release of Windows 10 Mobile. Several Lumia-branded apps are being killed off, effective immediately.
Not addressed is whether the remaining Lumia apps will be made more broadly available to non-Lumia Windows phones. But given Microsoft’s apparent focus on broadening the market to include more third-party devices, I’d be surprised if that wasn’t the plan.
We can address that topic at a later time. For now, let’s consider today’s bad news.
Lumia Storyteller, Lumia Beamer, Photobeamer, Lumia Refocus, Lumia Panorama and Video Uploader are all being axed. That means that these apps will no longer be available from Windows Phone Store starting today—though I just checked, and they are still there now.
Lumia Storyteller, Lumia Beamer, Photobeamer, Lumia Refocus, Lumia Panorama and Video Uploader will no longer have online services available and will no longer be supported after October 30, 2015.
Lumia Panorama and Video Uploader (sic, it’s called Video Upload) will no longer receive updates or support. This is effective immediately.
None of these apps will be removed from your device if you already have them installed. So Lumia Storyteller, Lumia Beamer, Photobeamer, Lumia Refocus, Lumia Panorama and Video Uploader will still work. And Lumia Panorama and Video Upload should work in limited form (i.e. with no online services support). And if you upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile, these apps will remain available.
Stories created with Lumia Storyteller will no longer be available from the web service after October 30, 2015. They will still be available if on your device, and you can of course download all the images and videos associated with online stories that you want to keep. Assuming you do so before October 31.
Why is Microsoft doing this? The official line is that Microsoft’s goal is “to provide experiences that work really well on all Windows devices. In order to do that, [it will] need to focus on making [its] Windows 10 core Photos and Camera apps great.” “Many of the Lumia features are already included in the Windows 10 Photos and Camera apps,” the firm explains. “While we can’t promise that any particular feature is coming back, we’re committed to providing a great photo and camera experience in Windows across devices, and we’re listening to your feedback as we continue improving our apps.”
As I noted on Twitter when I first saw this announcement, it’s hard to look at this and see anything other than further evidence of the continued chipping away of the things that made Lumia—and more generally, Windows phones—special. I first explored this notion back in February, in Five Years Later, a Full-On Retreat from What Made Windows Phone Special, but of course the tumultuous events of July have put a real scare into me.
I still love Windows phone. But it’s frustrating to watch something special become less so through mismanagement and bad strategy. And it’s hard to believe that the current plan for this platform will be successful. The loss of a few Lumia apps isn’t why. But it is part of why. It’s too bad.
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