In October of 2016, the New York Police Department finished a two-year-long rollout of Windows-based smartphones to all of its 36,000 officers.
Now, less than a year after that $US160 million initiative came to fruition, the NYPD is giving up and moving its officers to Apple iPhones, reports the New York Post.
The smartphones in question were already outdated by the time they got into most officers’ hands — officers were given a Lumia 830 (released 2014) or a Lumia 640 XL (released 2015), running the Windows Phone 8.1 operating system.
Microsoft officially discontinued support for Windows Phone 8.1 back in July 2017, meaning there won’t be any changes to the platform or additional security updates. This was, reportedly, the impetus for the switchover.
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s share of the smartphone market — never very high to begin with — has dwindled to as little as 0.1%, by some measures. Last quarter, Microsoft actually took a $US1.8 billion tax gain related to the unwinding of its smartphone business, indicating that Windows phones are all but dead.
At least as of late 2016, the NYPD was discussing the possibility of perhaps moving at least some devices up to Windows 10 Mobile, the most recent iteration of the smartphone operating system. However, it seems that the NYPD has decided to skip that step and just go straight to new iPhones.
The Post’s report indicates that the decision to go to Windows phones in the first place could have been the sole decision of one NYPD Deputy Commissioner, on the belief that they might work better with other Microsoft software being used within the department for video surveillance.
The Windows phones given to officers were loaded with apps for quickly reporting crimes and scanning police databases. Plus, the NYPD touted the fact that it was the first time officers had phone numbers they could actually give out to the communities they served.
There are rumours that Microsoft is planning some kind of smartphone comeback, possibly with a “Surface Phone.” However, it doesn’t seem like the NYPD, at least, is sticking around to find out.
Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication. The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.
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