Something Windows 10 Mobile-related is going on behind the scenes at Microsoft, but it’s not what fans had hoped for. Although the smartphone operating system will still be supported for a while, its core has been discontinued and will no longer be updated. Enter Andromeda OS, the new hope.
The separation of Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile development has been made, and it is consistent. Microsoft no longer needs its own system in the mobile area, since another software will run on upcoming devices - irrespective of how identical they will look: Andromeda OS.
As rumored by Microsoft insiders at Windows Central and elsewhere, the smartphone system will be discontinued at the Redstone 2 update level, but will continue to be provided with security and stability updates and, possibly, new functions for companies. New Windows 10 APIs that are part of the Redstone 3 and 4 updates will still be made backwards-compatible so as to not completely cut off app support. The platform cores for PC and smartphones will no longer be developed together, but instead will be done separately - PC Windows marches on, and the smartphone will be discontinued. New Microsoft mobile devices, which will surely be released in the coming years, will then run Andromeda OS.
Andromeda OS as a modular system
The name Andromeda for an operating system should also ring a bell for many Android fans. Google had been working on merging Android and Chrome OS under this name for quite some time to bring both platforms closer together. Work on Google’s Andromeda ceased in the summer, and now the hope lies in its successor, Fuchsia. But that’s just a brief foray, since Microsoft’s approach with Andromeda OS is ultimately different.
Microsoft’s Andromeda OS - as it is called internally, the final product will have a different name - will be a modular operating system that is naturally based on Windows. The goal is to decouple individual parts of the platform from the overall design in order to run on many kinds of devices. A standalone mobile system would be obsolete.
At first, it makes sense, but there’s a serious catch for Windows smartphone fans: There will be no update for currently up-to-date Windows smartphones. This is understandable in light of the few models that are still being sold and the ever-shrinking market share that Windows 10 mobile still has, particularly as the last Lumia smartphones have already been on the market for too long and no new Windows phones have since been released - neither by Microsoft nor other manufacturers.
What’s next now for the Lumias and other Windows smartphones? They will still receive security and stability updates until the middle/end of 2018. Even individual new functions can be pushed by Microsoft relatively easily. However, if Windows 10 makes the next big leap and the API interfaces are no longer compatible, Windows 10 mobile will start running out of steam quite quickly. Lumia fans are already familiar with this from the unfortunate update to Windows Phone 7.8, when Microsoft was considerate of existing devices and sent a type of consolation update and subsequently put it on ice. Of course, Windows 10 Mobile is no longer making money; if anything, it is a large loss-making business for the few remaining customers. So, while it won’t kick the bucket tomorrow, the end can clearly be seen on the horizon.
Back to square one and starting from scratch
If Microsoft is serious with this, its reboot with Andromeda OS will be pretty exciting. The market is still open to operating systems that work beyond platform boundaries and power diverse types of devices. Windows 10 could have been exactly that but, for a number of reasons, it didn’t happen. So, back to square one and a new attempt with Andromeda OS, but we hope that Microsoft makes it count, too.
What do you think? Would you buy a Windows phone in the future if it's running Andromeda OS? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!