After more than three years in the smartphone market, Microsoft has officially axed its support for Windows Phone 8.1. While it is very obvious that Windows Phone has lost its competitive edge towards the likes of Apple and Android smartphone makers, a report from AdDuplex suggest that almost 80% of all Windows Phones are still operating on Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 8.1.
The latest Windows 10 Mobile OS constitutes only 20% of all Windows Phone devices. Whether Microsoft continues support for Windows Phone 10 is still yet to be known as the Windows Mobile development have been shifted into a “feature2” branch to simply maintain the platform until the end of 2018. With over majority of the smartphone market share taken over by Android and Apple iOS devices, Microsoft has also given up its own Lumia-branded devices, that was acquired from Nokia.
For all the existing Windows Phone users, ending the support doesn't mean that your device will stop working. It just means that Microsoft will longer provide software updates for the platform for new featues or bug fixes. After the thousands of job cuts that happened last year, it was quite obvious by then that Microsoft has dropped its focus on the Windows mobile space, despite the numerous rumors of the existence of a “Surface Phone” which never saw the light till date. Microsoft is currently focusing on multi-device and cloud-powered platforms, along with making and improving apps for the Apple iOS and Android smartphones.
The Windows Phone 8.1 update was considered to be a major one because of the integration of the Cortana digital assistant AI, major UI changes, a new and improved notification center and more.
Many brands used to make Windows Phone brands, namely Nokia, Alcatel, Acer, Hisense, LG, Micromax, Samsung, HTC and more. Windows Phone 7 was first introduced and released on October 21st, 2010. At the MWC 2011, Steve Ballmer announced the rollout of the Windows Phone 7.5 update, codenamed Mango. The update addressed some of the major shortcomings of the platform, including the upgrade of the Internet Explorer 9 on the mobile platform, the integration of Twitter within the People Hub, Windows Live Skydrive access and more.
On December 2012, Microsoft rolled out the Windows Phone 8 that addressed several bugs, enhancements in messaging, efficient Bluetooth transfers, additional WiFi settings and more. There were several updates based on the Windows Phone 8.1 that improved the overall experience of users, UI changes, additional Bluetooth protocol support, LED notifications, higher resolution support, Cortana, Xbox Live music improvements and more.
One of the few notable smartphones of the Windows Phone 8.1 was the Nokia Lumia 730, featuring a 4.7-inch OLED display, a Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB RAM, and a 6.7MP camera. The Nokia Lumia 830 was another smartphone worth remembering, featuring a 5-inch IPS display with 720p resolution and a 10MP primary camera. The Nokia Lumia 930 came with a faster Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB RAM and featured a 20MP camera. Let’s not forget the Nokia Lumia 1020 that came with a 41MP primary camera with Carl ZEISS lens. The last Lumia flagship smartphone from Nokia/Microsoft was the Lumia 950 and the Lumia 950 XL that runs on the latest Windows 10 Mobile.
While Android and iOS devices are often based on a UI that included app shortcuts and drop-down menus, Windows Phone UI was primarily based on the usage of colorful and “live tiles” that looked unique on its own.