The Windows 10 Creator Update promises to deliver a significant number of changes to Microsoft’s operating system but this weekend saw Microsoft confirm the upgrade paths for smartphones currently running Windows 10. The supported devices are few and far between.
According to Microsofts’ Windows Blog, the officially supported mobile devices for the Windows 10 Creator Update are the HP Elite x3; the Microsoft Lumia 550, 640/640XL, 650, and 950/950 XL; Alcatel’s Idol 4S and OneTouch Fierce XL; the SoftBank 503LV; the VAIO Phone Biz; the MouseComputer MADOSMA Q601 and the Trinity NuAns NEO.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that this small group of handsets represent the newest hardware that runs Windows in a mobile environment. Devices like the Idol 4S were launched at MWC 2016 and are just over a year old. Continued support on these devices should be expected.
The impact of the decision reflects not on current CEO Satya Nadella but on the previous CEO. Steve Ballmer focused on ignoring the competition and tying everything exclusively into Microsoft’s operating system. The idea being that a single operating system would dominate the mobile landscape…. which did happen but with Android rather than Windows.
Nadella has moved Microsoft on from a hardware first strategy to one that leans heavily on cloud based services accessible from any device. With the Creators Update on mobile Microsoft can continue to demonstrate that its operating system is suitable for smartphones and phablets as well as laptops and desktops. But with an increased focus on its services and the easy integration of its cloud on iOS, Android, and macOS hardware, Microsoft’s mobile game has clearly moved on from Ballmer’s failure to establish Windows on mobile to focus on the battle for the cloud, no matter what OS a consumer chooses.