Windows 10 Creators Update for Mobile Launches on 25 April 2017 to Limited Number of Devices

Windows 10 Creators Update for Mobile Launches on 25 April 2017 to Limited Number of Devices

This week Microsoft will officially launch the General Availability of the Windows 10 Creators Update for PCs.

The official availability follows its early access window that opened last week and allowed users to upgrade their Windows 10 systems starting on the 5th of April using either the Media Creation Tool (MCT) or the Windows 10 Update Assistant.

Microsoft has already notified users that this will be a slow and steady roll-out via Windows Update and that it could take several months to offer the Creators Update to all eligible systems. The Redmond company has also confirmed the Windows 10 Mobile version of the Creators Update will become available on 25 April 2017.

Of course, that availability will be very dependent on multiple factors:

-- Manufacturer
-- Model
-- Country/Region
-- Mobile Operator or Service Provider
-- Specific Software Installed
-- Hardware Limitations
-- Other Factors including Customer Feedback

It also appears a decision to limit which handsets will get the Creators Update will kick in even before carriers have anything to say about its availability. Last week, as the PC version of the Creators Update became available early, ZD Net's Mary Jo Foley had a story about this update only being available for a limited list of Windows 10 Mobile/Phone handsets.

According to Foley's sources these are the mobile handsets that will be eligible for the Windows 10 Creators Update:

-- Alcatel IDOL 4S
-- Alcatel OneTouch Fierce XL
-- HP Elite x3
-- Lenovo Softbank 503LV
-- MCJ Madosma Q601
-- Microsoft Lumia 550
-- Microsoft Lumia 640/640XL
-- Microsoft Lumia 650
-- Microsoft Lumia 950/950 XL
-- Trinity NuAns Neo
-- VAIO VPB051

Now for comparison, when the initial release of Windows 10 Mobile came out in March of 2016, there were just 18 phones eligible for the upgrade from Windows Phone 8.1:

-- Lumia 1520
-- Lumia 930
-- Lumia 640
-- Lumia 640 XL
-- Lumia 730
-- Lumia 735
-- Lumia 830
-- Lumia 532
-- Lumia 535
-- Lumia 540
-- Lumia 635 (1GB)
-- Lumia 636 (1GB)
-- Lumia 638 (1GB)
-- Lumia 430
-- Lumia 435
-- BLU Win HD W510U
-- BLU Win HD LTE X150Q
-- MCJ Madosma Q501

In addition, the following six phones were eligible for that initial update to Windows 10 because they were released into the consumer market running Windows 10 Mobile:

-- Lumia 550
-- Lumia 650
-- Lumia 950
-- Lumia 950 XL
-- Alcatel OneTouch Fierce XL
-- Xiaomi Mi4

By comparing the list of phones from last March that were eligible for the initial Windows 10 Mobile release and the list compiled by Foley, there are only seven phones that make the cross-over and continue to be supported with the Creators Update upgrade for Windows 10 Mobile:

-- Alcatel OneTouch Fierce XL
-- Lumia 550
-- Lumia 640
-- Lumia 640 XL
-- Lumia 650
-- Lumia 950
-- Lumia 950 XL

This means that no Windows Phones, with the exception of the 640 and 640 XL, that were originally released with Windows Phone 8/8.1 as their operating system are eligible for official support with the Creators Update release later this month. In the case of the Lumia 640 and 640 XL they were advertised as ready for Windows 10.

For reference, Windows Phone 8's lifecycle support start date was in December 2012 and Windows Phone 8.1's was in June 2014. According to the Microsoft Lifecycle website for Windows Phone, these two versions of the mobile OS were eligible for 36 months of OS support which would include system and security updates. Based on that timeframe, Windows Phone 8 dropped out of lifecycle support in December 2015 and the Windows Phone 8.1 update will reach end of its lifecycle support this June. This is standard mobile OS support for Microsoft.

So with the release of the Creators Update this Spring, it appears that attrition is the key issue here with support for older Windows Phone/Mobile handsets. Even some of the devices on the supported list for this upgrade such as the last two Lumia's released by Microsoft, the 950 and 950 XL, hit the consumer market in the fall of 2015 and are quite long in the tooth.

This type of attrition is par for the course when there has been no new hardware released to replace those early Windows Phone 8/8.1 handsets beyond a couple of flagship devices like the aforementioned 950 and 950 XL. With the platform already well under 1% of the overall mobile handset market, Microsoft certainly needs to put mobile and its status on the table and have a discussion about it next month at their annual Build developers conference. As I have mentioned before, Redstone 3, the next major feature update for Windows 10 which is expected this fall, could be a vehicle for Microsoft to give its mobile fans some clear information about the platform by focusing on mobility across the ecosystem. While we do not yet know if the future holds the ever elusive unicorn called a Surface Phone, Microsoft still needs to address where they are on the mobile side of the Windows 10 platform and ecosystem.

Microsoft's Terry Myerson said at Build 2016 that mobile was not the companies focus that year. Well it is now the next year and time to be straight up with customers, read fan base, about the future of the platform.

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