Free Upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile Will Continue Past July 29

Posted on July 8, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Windows Phones with 0 Comments

Free Upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile Will Continue Past July 29

After I asked about whether the free upgrade for Windows 10 Mobile would end on July 29 as it is for Windows 10 for PCs, Microsoft’s Dona Sarkar clarified the firm’s evolving strategy: The Windows 10 Mobile upgrade will now continue to be free past the end of the month.

“So, the free upgrade to Windows 10 ends for Windows phones on July 29, too. Right?” I tweeted yesterday morning, seeking clarification for a reader who had asked me this question. After all, Microsoft had said nothing about the expiration of the free Mobile upgrade since last year.

“Clarification from this morning,” Ms. Sakar tweeted later in the day. “The free upgrade offer for PC ends on July 29 but as always there are no implications or cost on phone.”

Hm. Not sure about the “as always” bit, as Microsoft’s plans for the free Windows 10 Mobile upgrade have changed repeatedly since the firm announced this upgrade in January 2015. And over time, many of these changes enraged users who had believed earlier promises.

one-year

You may recall that the original plan was to upgrade all Windows Phone 8.1 handsets to Windows 10 Mobile … for the first year only. But over time, that changed. It was going to be all handsets with at least 1 GB of RAM. And then it was going to be some subset of handsets sold over the previous two years, but not the Lumia Icon for some reason.

The causes for these changes are many, but another factor has played a big role in Microsoft’s shifting strategy: the original version of Windows 10 Mobile, 1511, was originally expected in November 2015. And then December. And then early 2016. And then it finally, sort of, arrived in March 2016. Those dates could suggest the reason for the upgrade extension: Perhaps Microsoft now plans to end the free upgrade on Mobile in March 2017, one year after the system first shipped.

Whatever the schedule, Microsoft, against all reason, has continued plugging away, and Mobile Insider builds have appeared as frequently as those for the much more popular PC versions of Windows 10. The hope now is that Microsoft will have effectively brought Windows 10 Mobile up to speed, somewhat, with its PC-based sibling for version 1607. That is, the current plan to ship the “final” version of Windows 10 version 1607 for PCs and Windows 10 Mobile version 1607 at the same time.

In any event, wireless carriers will need to sign off on the upgrade before customers can get Windows 10 Mobile on the short list of compatible Windows Phone 8.x-based handsets. That alone will require a lot more time than is allowed by the former July 29 deadline. In fact, it suggests that many users will need to join the Windows Insider program if they ever expect to see Windows 10 Mobile at all.

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