On Monday, T-Mobile essentially put the nail in the coffin for the HTC 8X and any other device on its network that wasn’t already upgraded to Windows Phone 8.1.
Company representatives said on Twitter that the last remaining Windows Phones to receive an update will be the Lumia 521 and Lumia 925.
@Notobadad64 Hi! We have no plans to release a Windows Phone 8.1 update on devices other than the Lumia 521 and Lumia 925 at this time. *CF— T-Mobile USA (@TMobileHelp) February 9, 2015
Those same representatives also declined to state what their plans were for supporting the Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones, which is due before the end of February, according to Microsoft.
T-Mobile currently doesn’t offer the HTC 8X on its website. However, the HTC 8X was one of the flagship phones uses to launch Windows Phone 8, with both AT&T and T-Mobile as the first carriers to support it. In August, T-Mobile said it had “paused” a scheduled update to Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 for the 8X. Now, it appears that pause is a full stop.
Why this matters: Why worry about which older phones will be supported by Microsoft’s latest operating system? If nothing else, because of what customers are worried about now: Windows 10 for phones. Microsoft originally said that all existing phones running Windows Phone 8 would be upgradeable to Windows 10. Microsoft then backed off that statement, indicating that most phones would be upgradeable, but those with just 512MB of RAM would receive a limited set of the features that Windows 10 provides. (The HTC 8X contains 1GB of RAM.)
Windows Insider or bust
Microsoft’s been exceptional in allowing customers to try out its latest operating systems, with its Windows Insider programs for the PC and phones allowing customers to try out new versions of the operating system before they’re released. But, as always, the carriers have been the ones dragging their heels. Many customers don’t feel confident in trying out an operating system that may void their carrier’s warranty.
What T-Mobile’s statement means, therefore, is fairly simple: Customers who have an older T-Mobile phone will simply have to make the leap to the Insider program or face forced obsolescence. Or they can buy the latest HTC One (M8) for Windows—a choice that T-Mobile would probably prefer.
Of course, T-Mobile's not alone in refusing to test and roll out Microsoft's latest operating systems to its customers. To owners of the Lumia Icon, the prince of darkness remains Verizon, which has yet to roll out Windows Phone 8.1 and the Cyan firmware to its customers.
@Lumia My Icon will be more beautiful when it tells me there's an update available. Until then, you and VZW can rot.— Bob Levine (@idguy) February 8, 2015