Anyone looking to replace their high-end Windows Phones will have to hold out until this fall, when Windows 10 is due to launch.
Neil Broadley, Microsoft’s director of phone marketing, confirmed to The Verge that the company won’t release any new flagship Lumia phones before then. “We remain completely committed and focused on new flagship products,” Broadley said. “That said, certainly we believe the best time to bring those flagship devices to market is when we have our very latest flagship software experience available.”
Microsoft had already hinted at its flagship phone plans back in January, when the company gave its first look at Windows 10 on smartphones. Broadley’s comments make clear that there won’t by any high-end phones from Microsoft in the meantime. And while that doesn’t technically preclude partners like HTC and Samsung from releasing their own flagship phones, it seems unlikely that they’ll jump the gun on Windows 10 either.
For now, Microsoft and its hardware partners are rounding out their low-end lineups based on Windows Phone 8.1. At Mobile World Congress, Microsoft announced a couple of Lumia phones in the $150 to $250 range, and Acer announced a sub-$100 phone that will be upgradeable to Windows 10. (Microsoft has said that most phones running Windows Phone 8.1 should be eligible for an upgrade.)
On the high end, the most recent Windows Phones are the Verizon-exclusive Lumia Icon, which launched in February 2014, and its international counterpart, the Lumia 930. The Lumia 1520, which remains one of the best Windows Phones you can get today, launched in November 2013.
Why this matters: While Microsoft’s low-end Windows phones are merely a way to build up market share, it’s the flagship phones that are meant to embody the company’s vision. They’re supposed to be the showcase for services like Office, OneDrive, and Cortana, running at their very best on premium hardware. With new mobile chips on the way from Qualcomm and Intel, both promising Windows phone support, it’s not surprising that Microsoft is waiting for everything to fall into place.