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Windows 10 Mobile Upgrade Comes To Mostly Just Microsoft's Devices

Microsoft started rolling out Windows 10 Mobile today on a limited number of Windows Phone 8.1 devices. The devices getting the upgrade include: Lumia 1520, 930, 640, 640XL, 730, 735, 830, 532, 535, 540, 635 1GB, 636 1GB, 638 1GB, 430, 435, BLU Win HD w510u, BLU Win HD LTE x150q, MCJ Madosma Q501.

Unlike Google, Microsoft has taken responsibility for upgrading all Windows devices. However, the company’s track record on smartphones updates seems to be spottier than its PC ecosystem. Significantly, fewer than half of all the Windows Phone 8.1 devices out there seem to have gotten on the list for the Windows 10 Mobile upgrade. In fact, it’s mostly just Microsoft's own Lumia devices that got it.

With a few exceptions, such as the Lumia 530, 630, and 830, all of which are from 2014, it seems all Lumia devices with Windows Phone 8.1 are covered. However, those devices from Acer, Alcatel, Archos, Allview, Cherry Mobile, Karbonn, Lava, LG, HiSense, Xolo and other lesser known brands don’t seem to have made the cut for the upgrade. That’s despite the fact that they use the same chips as the Lumia phones getting Windows 10 Mobile right now (mainly Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 and Snapdragon 400).

Surprisingly, HTC’s M8, which made the news when it was launched with both Android and Windows Phone 8.1, and was even praised for its battery life at the time, didn’t make the cut either. HTC hasn’t been doing that well financially lately, but one of the main selling points of Windows Phone for manufacturers was that they wouldn’t have to pay for the development of updates anymore, because Microsoft would handle that.

It’s not clear why so many non-Lumia devices were excluded from the Windows 10 Mobile upgrade. Perhaps all of those manufacturers had to pay extra to get the new upgrade, and they didn’t think it was worth it for those phones anymore. However, if that’s the case, then the Windows Mobile ecosystem isn’t that much better than the Android one.

If OEMs can “opt-out” of updates in the Windows Mobile ecosystem the same way they do in the Android ecosystem, even though it’s Microsoft that handles the updates, then consumers are no better off. If Microsoft is serious about upgrading its Windows smartphones, then it needs to get OEMs to pay up front to ensure at least two years of upgrades.

Whoever was at fault here, the message consumers are getting is that if you want a Windows Phone, then you should buy a Lumia from Microsoft. This may be preferable to Microsoft at first, but it also means other smartphone OEMs will be disincentivized to bother with Windows Mobile in the future.

If you’re one of those lucky enough to be eligible for the upgrade, you can go to the store, install the Update Advisor, and then check to see if the update is available.

Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware. You can follow him at @lucian_armasu. 

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Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.
  • Dyseman
    Hmm, I've been running Windows 10 Mobile beta in my T-Mobile Lumia 810 since the beta/preview became available. No issues and smooth. Wonder why it isn't getting the official version?
    Reply
  • alextheblue
    Microsoft has taken responsibility for upgrading all Windows devices.
    This is news to me. I only recall them promising to deliver it to WP8 Lumia devices. Still, I hope they continue to work to bring it to more Lumia models, there may be a few stragglers they can't update (or that the carriers refuse to update). I hope HTC, despite struggling against Samsung and LG, can manage to release the update.

    Significantly, fewer than half of all the Windows Phone 8.1 devices out there seem to have gotten on the list for the Windows 10 Mobile upgrade. In fact, it’s mostly just Microsoft's own Lumia devices that got it.
    Even if this is true and no other WP 8.1 devices are getting upgraded to W10 ever, that statement is still deceptive. The majority of Windows Phones sold were chosen from models in that list. Thus I could argue the majority of "devices out there" are getting official upgrades.
    Reply
  • falchard
    I think the issue has more to due with the handset manufacturer than Microsoft. For years they have ignored Android updates because it spurs the sales of new handsets. They are just doing the same with Microsoft.
    Reply
  • mrmez
    MS again leading the way in what not to do.
    Fragment hardware and software as much as possibly, confuse the hell out of customers and alienate manufacturers.

    At least people know on average they can run the current ios on 5 year old devices.
    Reply
  • ohim
    It`s been said that there will be 2 waves of updates, this is the first wave, anyway, for people on the insider program it`s the same version .. i`ve been using this for 2 weeks already on my Lumia 930.

    17679451 said:
    MS again leading the way in what not to do.
    Fragment hardware and software as much as possibly, confuse the hell out of customers and alienate manufacturers.

    At least people know on average they can run the current ios on 5 year old devices.

    You can run the insider on those other phones, it`s exactly the same release. And sometimes it`s not the best idea to have the latest OS on old hardware, there have been tests on YT with old iphones and latest iOS 9.3, though they can run it, they will run it with poor performance due to old slow CPUs. It`s like taking a 256 MB Pentium III computer and slap on it Windows 10 ... it will run like crap.

    Phones are evolving a lot in 4 years... don`t expect that a phone from 4 years to have competent hardware to run everything now without issues, don`t compare to PC timeframe. 4 years ago in phones is like having a 486 PC and now we are at Pentium 3.
    Reply
  • dthx
    At least people know on average they can run the current ios on 5 year old devices.
    Technicaly, you can do that, but it renders your device almost unuseable.
    I can perfectly remember how the iOS7 update ruined my 2 and a half year old iPad2.
    Reply
  • coolkev99
    I'm still astounded how poorly MS has handled their phone platform. The software upgrades have been few and far between. I would have thought they'd take a serious effort to catching up with Android/Apple, but if anything they keep lagging further and further behind. To make matters worse, too many devices were left out of needed upgrades. You have to register yourself as a developer to get them on some phones! WHY!?
    Reply
  • lazymangaka
    Must be a gradual rollout, because my T-Mobile 640 isn't showing any available updates.
    Reply
  • RedJaron
    If this is the 164 build, my 925 and 950 also got it.
    Reply
  • milkod2001
    Way to go MS! Always on track!
    Reply