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The most popular Windows Phone will never see Windows 10 Mobile

Microsoft finally began to roll out Windows 10 Mobile to existing devices yesterday. After a delay of over three months, owners of a selection of older devices can now upgrade to the new operating system. A number of phones are not included though, among them the Nokia Lumia 520 and other budget favourites.
Microsoft has since confirmed that many of these devices will not receive Windows 10 Mobile. Hardware limitations mean the new operating system may not run consistently on low-end phones so the company has decided not to offer it to devices where this could prove a problem.
Microsoft confirmed on Twitter yesterday that it has no plans to make Windows 10 Mobile available to phones with only 512MB of RAM. By doing so, it will prevent a large number of current Windows Phone owners from trying the new OS, effectively locking them out of the Windows ecosystem on smartphones.
Owners haven’t been pleased by the news. Some have bought new devices based on the promise of an upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile, prominently displayed on Microsoft’s own store pages. A number of buyers have asked for a refund on Twitter, a request that could be upheld if Microsoft is found to have sold phones based on what now appears to be false advertising.
Windows Insiders have had some degree of success running Windows 10 Mobile on devices like the Lumia 520. Microsoft is clearly not confident that the OS can run stably with limited amounts of memory though, deciding not to take the risk of attracting user complaints by offering a potentially flawed update as a recommended download.
Although the OS may run well today, it could end up degrading over time as Microsoft adds more features using its model of continuous updates. The company doesn’t want to have to start limiting new Windows 10 updates to only a few handsets, instead making Windows Phone 8.1 the cut-off point for older models.
Nonetheless, the news isn’t great for owners of affected devices or the Windows Phone ecosystem as a whole. The Lumia 520 alone has sold well over 12 million units — a figure revealed in July 2014 — and other budget 512MB devices have also seen strong sales. Only 4.5 million Lumia handsets were sold in total during Q2 of the current fiscal year.
As it stands, many of the most popular Windows Phones won’t ever receive Windows 10 Mobile. Windows Phone 8 has now been essentially abandoned, leaving owners with a stagnating platform that they are eventually bound to leave. Without any experience of Windows 10 on smartphones and only the gradual decline of Windows Phone 8 to compare to, many are likely to move away to Android and the iPhone, platforms with much greater app support.
Today, Microsoft confirmed for the last time that it no longer stands by its original pledge to upgrade “all” Windows 10 Mobile devices. It said “there are no plans” to launch a second wave of updates later in the year, as was the plan many months ago. If your phone isn’t on the list today then it won’t be getting the rewritten operating system, regardless of any promises made when you bought your device.

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