As I first reported on Twitter, hell has frozen over: Verizon is delivering the shipping (non-Insider) version of Windows 10 Mobile to its two-year-old orphan, the Lumia Icon.
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I'm trying to put this week's Windows phone news in perspective, but there really isn't that much to say. Last July, Microsoft effectively exited the smart phone market, but now they're just ... exiting the smart phone market a bit more. Not much of a story, is it?
Microsoft this morning announced that it would further streamline its Windows phone hardware business by focusing only on business customers going forward. As a result, it will jettison more jobs, mostly in Finland, and take another charge against earnings.
Microsoft has finally started edging its Lumia 950 XL flagship smart phone into more affordable territory: The phablet is now available through the Microsoft Store for $150 off. And you get a free Microsoft Display Dock too.
Today, Microsoft announced that it is selling its unprofitable feature phone business to a new Foxconn subsidiary. But the bigger news, buried in a single sentence of the Microsoft announcement is this: The software giant just suggested that it no longer produce new Lumia smart phones.
Tech tidbits from around the web: You can now preorder some cool new Lumia cases from Mozo, FTC could be taking a second look at Google Search, Google Chirp to compete with Amazon Alexa, Cardboard VR is available in Canada, the UK, France, and Germany now, and Google provides its Gboard keyboard on iOS.
If history is written by the winners, then alternate history is written by the losers. And no audience has more versions of what-could-have-been than Windows phone users. Well, you can add "pre-touch sensing" to the list of features that never would have saved Windows phone.
Good news, Lumia Icon users: Microsoft revealed this week that it will indeed support the Windows 10 Mobile upgrade on your favorite smart phone. However, that support is only for Insider Preview versions of the OS.
A leaked internal email allegedly written by Microsoft executive vice president Terry Myerson states that the software giant is committed to supporting the beleaguered Windows 10 Mobile for many years. This is good news, but the email also confirms that Microsoft will continue its exit from the phone market.
Cricket Wireless announced today that it will begin selling Microsoft's latest low-end smart phone, the Lumia 650, in May for just $130. This is the first time that the Lumia 650 will be available via a wireless carrier in the US.
I spend an inordinate amount of time fretting about Windows phone. But I'm increasingly convinced that the future of this platform is tied to the success of Windows 10, and that these "phones," as we now call them, simply become very small Windows 10 Mobile PCs.
The Lumia 650 is the best-looking Windows phone that Microsoft has ever built. And if you want to experience it for yourself, your time has come: You can now preorder Microsoft's latest smart phone in the U.S. and Canada.
It's been a tough year for Windows phone fans. But as time moves forward, we better understand the ramifications of Microsoft implementing the new strategy it announced last July. And I think we can finally see the way forward.
Microsoft today announced the Lumia 650, a new low-end Windows phone that targets business users. The 650 will ship in select European countries beginning this week, and will cost just $200.