Between the launch date of the Microsoft Lumia 950XL and comments made by Microsoft’s official Lumia Facebook account, we now know when Microsoft’s Windows 10 Mobile will roll out.
Microsoft said Tuesday that the company plans to launch the its new Lumia 950XL and Lumia 950 “in November,” according to a slide shown during Microsoft’s launch event. Microsoft exhibited those phones running with Windows 10 Mobile (which Microsoft sometimes simply calls Windows 10), and they’re expected to ship with what is presumed to be the final version of the OS.
On Wednesday and again on Thursday, Microsoft took to its Facebook page to clarify the dates on which older phones could receive Windows 10.
“Windows 10 is available on PCs and tablets now, and while Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL ship with Windows 10 for phones, broad availability of Windows 10 on other devices, including mobile phones, will begin rolling out in December,” the official Lumia account wrote.
Why this matters: With just a tiny fraction of the smartphone market, Microsoft needs to convince consumers to upgrade, and the combination of the new Lumia phones and its latest smartphone OS is the most potent option it has. As Brad Sams at Thurrott.com noted, however, it’s possible that customers with older Windows Phone devices will simply choose to upgrade to the latest phones instead.
The notion of an official release date for almost any software is fast becoming an anachronism. Microsoft has continued to release preview builds to the public, and will presumably continue to do so after the Windows 10 Mobile launch occurs.
However you define the process, Windows 10 Mobile's rollout is proving a bit slower than originally expected. Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore has said previously that users should expect a flood of new Windows 10 launches during this fall. An earlier report pegged the Windows 10 Mobile launch during the third quarter, although that was never confirmed.
Early versions of the Windows 10 Mobile Preview builds have been buggy and slow, although they’ve improved over time. The latest builds haven’t been all that bad.
Still, it was probably smart of Microsoft to launch the new Lumia 950 phones (as well as the Lumia 550) in advance of the upgrade. Those who are desperate to buy the new hardware will sink a few hundred dollars into them, converting them into evangelists for the OS—and making the free upgrade to the Windows 10 Mobile OS for older Windows Phone users all the more interminable.