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Windows 10 Mobile Development Chugs Along

Facing a 0.1 percent market share, Microsoft continues to chug along in developing Windows 10 Mobile, having last week released the latest "insider" preview build.

"We have released Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview Build 15226 to in the Fast ring," Dona Sarkar announced in a post last Wednesday, referring to part of the Windows Insider program that gets updates out first to early testers and others willing to put up with the vagaries of brand-new software.

Sarkar, head of the Insider Program, has steadily been issuing such updates, with a previous build announced just the week before.

The development of the successor to Windows Phone continues despite a market share that dipped to 0.3 percent early in the year, according to Gartner Inc. More recent numbers pegged the market share at 0.1 percent last month, according to research firm IDC, which said: "Windows Phone shipments continue to fall as the lack of new hardware partners, developer support, and overall enthusiasm for the platform show no immediate signs of recovery."

Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 4Q16 (Thousands of Units)
[Click on image for larger view.] Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 4Q16 (Thousands of Units) (source: Gartner)

However, Thurrott.com's Brad Sams recently reported: "Two independent sources inside of Microsoft have told me that there is a new hardware device being tested internally and that there is also a separate branch of Windows Mobile for this device."

While details about that branch remain hidden, Sarkar and the Windows 10 Mobile team are continuing their development, which consists mostly of small fixes. For example, here are some of the details of the last two updates, in Sarkar's words:

  • We fixed an issue where some apps could not subscribe to SMS receive notifications.
  • We fixed an issue for Windows Insiders where some binaries stopped working when transitioning from Insider Preview builds to officially released builds.
  • We fixed an audio issue with Bluetooth headphones after Cortana reads an incoming SMS message to the user.
  • We fixed an issue where only the first VPN profile was being displayed in the VPN settings page via Settings > Network & wireless > VPN.
  • We fixed an issue where a meeting Time Zone was garbled in Chinese or Japanese. Based on Insider feedback, we have changed 'Phone Update' to 'Windows Update' under Settings > Update & security.

Whether Microsoft has secret hardware plans for the Sarkar team's edition of Windows 10 Mobile or the rumored new hardware and software branch remains to be seen, but IDC for one doesn't seem optimistic about the platform's future.

"IDC expects 2017 volumes to decline 80.9 percent to just 1.1 million units," the company said. "Microsoft has yet to fully commit to any 'Surface'-style attack for smartphones or to push new vendors to embrace the platform, leaving little hope of mounting a full scaled comeback in the years to come."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for 1105 Media.

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