So The Lumia Is Dead? Tell Me Something I Didn't Know

The bad news keeps coming, Microsoft will kill the Lumia in December, manufacturing of all Lumia services has already ended, Microsoft Stores are removing Lumias from display... okay, so I'm pretty sure anyone who hadn't got the memo is now quite clear: Lumia is dead.

To be honest if you didn't know already you've been living under a rock for the last eighteen months. Ever since Satya Nadella 'Osborned' his own smartphone line it's been a question of when, not if, the end would come.

Now, it seems, the time has come. But not for Windows Mobile, for which Microsoft still sees a future, powered by third party OEMs. Like HP, whose Elite x3 is the current Windows Mobile standard bearer. Here's a device that will bring Windows 10 Mobile to the masses.

It won't though will it? It's a super expensive flagship device aimed at enterprise which is going to be an incredibly niche product. Especially when you look at how quickly enterprise has adopted the iPhone. Look at the specs, look at the performance, look at the screen. There's no doubt that the Elite x3 is a flagship phone, but Microsoft hasn't really had a great deal of success at selling to premium buyers. Despite HP's ties to enterprise I don't see it significantly improving that.

Instead it is the entry-level and mid-range sectors of the market where Microsoft has found success, with devices that outperform Android phones at equivalent prices and in an area where Apple has no interest in selling. They may not generate the sort of revenue that sees Apple do very nicely from its iPHone business, but they do help bring consumers into the Microsoft fold. It is these lower level tiers where future Windows Mobile fans come from. And it is these lower level tiers that Microsoft will apparently abandon in just a few months.

Are third parties going to fill in the gap? Are they going to invest the advertising dollars to bring Windows 10 Mobile to the attention of potential customers? Are they going to be able to persuade customers that the app gap doesn't matter any more because Universal Apps are now a reality? I really don't think so.

If we're going to hear about Windows 10 on phones it's going to be from Microsoft itself. And Microsoft doesn't seem to have a clear message about Windows Mobile.

So the Elite x3 will sell in minute numbers to enterprise customers who can benefit from Continuum and the UWP. Consumers will gradually drift away and by the time that 2017 rolls around and the rumoured Surface Phone actually arrives (if it even exists) nobody will be left that cares about the platform or the devices.

Would a surprise unveiling of a Surface Phone next month (as some wishful thinkers are hoping for) make any difference? I very much doubt it. In the end Windows 10 Mobile is destined to be the best smartphone platform that nobody uses. And almost nobody will care.


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