In what would seem an unexpected announcement, not long before the reveal of the Lumia 1020 in New york at a live event, Microsoft has let a very welcome piece of information into the wild. Many would say that it also allays fears of a repeat of the fiasco that saw Windows Phone 7 devices not upgradeable to Windows Phone 8. The death knell of said WP7 devices, with support and updates petering out over time, rendering recently released hero phones like the Lumia 900 and the HTC Titan II obsolete, mere months after release to world markets.
Microsoft’s reputation took a beating, and it took some real winphan love to keep a lot of people on board with the Windows Phone program. SO in an unprecedented move Microsoft via the Windows Phone Blog let us know that they are extending the support cycle for Windows Phone 8 devices from 18 Months to 36 Months.
Beginning with Windows Phone 8 we’ll make updates, including security updates, available for 36 months. These updates will be incremental, with each update built on the update that preceded it.
Essentially this is not consumer based decision, but an attempt to make, promote the OS to the enterprise, understanding that for any company, an investment in technology for it’s workers needs to be a mid to long term solution. Of course, consumers reap the benefits as well.
In addition to the longer support lifecycle, we will also be releasing an enterprise feature pack as an update to Windows Phone 8. This feature pack will provide IT departments with more control over Windows Phones and give their employees a fuller productivity experience.
The enterprise feature pack will include:
- S/MIME to sign and encrypt email
- Access to corporate resources behind the firewall with app aware, auto-triggered VPN
- Enterprise Wi-Fi support with EAP-TLS
- Enhanced MDM policies to lock down functionality on the phone for more enterprise control, in addition to richer application management such as allowing or denying installation of certain apps
- Certificate management to enroll, update, and revoke certificates for user authentication
We plan to provide the feature pack as an update in the first half of 2014. By lengthening the Windows Phone support lifecycle policy and announcing of the enterprise feature pack, we show Microsoft’s commitment to the Windows Phone platform.
What is not clear is if the enterprise feature pack update will come to all Windows Phones, but reading the blog post, most would assume it does. It’s great news for those of us that have first generation Windows Phone 8 devices, but there’s still one elephant in the room. Updates are still subject to carrier meddling approval.
The mobile operator or phone manufacturer may control the distribution of these incremental updates and update availability may also vary by country, region, and device hardware capabilities
Something that has affected delivery/deployment of updates since day one, with some updates for WP7, only recently making it to phones *cough*Lumia*cough*900*cough* AT&T*coughgough*.
Dismissing all that history, this has to be a positive move for the platform, and getting WP8 devices into the hands of corporate users will go a long way to promoting the OS beyond the circles of the enthusiast users like myself.
By lengthening the Windows Phone support lifecycle policy and announcing of the enterprise feature pack, we show Microsoft’s commitment to the Windows Phone platform. This gives business customers the confidence to invest in Windows Phone today, with the knowledge that their investments are secure, and the platform is evolving to be an even better choice for business