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article imageReport: Microsoft is rebooting Windows 10 Mobile again

By James Walker     May 30, 2017 in Technology
Microsoft is reportedly planning another complete overhaul of Windows Mobile in an effort to gain relevance in the smartphone industry. Continuing a pattern that's now all too familiar to fans, the company is heading back to the drawing board.
When Microsoft launched Windows Phone 7 in 2010, it introduced a completely new interface to finally distance itself from Windows Mobile 6.5. In 2012, it released Windows Phone 8 though, based on a radically different architecture that prevented Windows Phone 7 handsets from being upgraded. Then, in what many thought would be the final rewrite, Windows 10 Mobile arrived in 2015, purportedly the platform to earn Microsoft some market share.
Now mid-way through 2017, it's clear that hasn't happened. Microsoft's mobile prospects are bleaker than ever and Windows 10 Mobile is all but dead. According to a report from Thurrott.com today, Microsoft is now at work on another new vision for mobile that will see the development of Windows 10 Mobile as we know it come to an end.
Microsoft has consistently reiterated its commitment to Windows on phones and said that new devices are coming. According to the report, this is still the plan and a new handset is being tested internally right now. More interestingly, this phone runs a "separate branch" of Windows Mobile, features a different interface and offers "new experiences."
File photo: Lumia 950 demo at #Windows10 devices event 6/10/15.
File photo: Lumia 950 demo at #Windows10 devices event 6/10/15.
Microsoft
If there's any doubt that this is not Windows 10 Mobile, Microsoft is also said to be planning to drop support for legacy Windows Phone apps. The new device may not run the Silverlight applications that form the bulk of older Windows Phone 7 and 8 apps. Additionally, the mysterious new OS will not be offered as an upgrade to existing Windows 10 Mobile handsets.
The report confirms many of the recent rumours and signs from Microsoft itself that the Windows 10 Mobile of today is being laid to rest. Microsoft hasn’t launched a "Redstone 3" Fall Creators Update development ring for the platform, leaving it isolated from the desktop version of Windows 10. Instead, there's only an independent "feature2" channel.
According to Neowin, Microsoft still intends to support Windows 10 Mobile with security updates. It's also intending to release an update with new features that will come from the feature2 branch. This will be the last release to existing handsets though, akin to the Windows Phone 7.8 update that Microsoft used to appease customers during the Windows Phone 8 transition.
The Microsoft Lumia 540
The Microsoft Lumia 540
Microsoft
Neowin also expanded on Thurrott.com's report with more details of Microsoft's upcoming mobile OS. As previously rumoured, the company will apparently combine its work with Windows 10 on ARM and its "CSHELL" adaptable interface to get the full version of Windows 10 running on mobile devices.
The Windows 10 interface will intelligently scale down to the phone display. This has significant implications for Microsoft's Continuum technology, implying that the long-held fan dream of a Surface Phone that’s a literal "PC in your pocket" could be on the way. With a complete version of Windows 10 underneath, the device could display the full desktop and any Windows app when connected to a monitor.
Neowin's Andy Weir claims to have seen builds of the new CSHELL interface running on phones. It's said to include changes to Action Center, the Start screen and apps list that make for a new interface. Development is reportedly still very early on, making the platform's launch months or even years away.
Although Microsoft isn't commenting publicly, it's becoming increasingly clear the company is working on something altogether new for its mobile business. With Windows 10 Mobile sales practically non-existent, the company has an uphill challenge ahead though. It seems as though it will be leveraging its dominance in desktop PCs to ignite interest in the relaunched platform.
More about Microsoft, Windows, windows 10 mobile, Windows mobile, windows 10
 
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