The NYPD is fighting crime with outdated Microsoft Windows phones

Back in 2014, the New York Police Department announced an initiative to give all of its 36,000 officers a Windows Phone, as part of an effort to modernise the force.

Fast forward two years, and that deployment is complete as of this week: All 36,000 NYPD officers are now rocking a Lumia 830 (released 2014) or a Lumia 640 XL (released 2015), running the Windows Phone 8.1 operating system (released 2014, since made obsolete by Windows 10 Mobile), reports CNET.

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s share of the smartphone market — never very high to begin with — has dwindled to around 1%, and the NYPD deal won’t change that much. In fact, Microsoft has been slowly separating itself from the phone business, laying off employees while it sells off assets it got in the disastrous acquisition of Nokia.

Still, the NYPD tells CNET that they don’t regret the decision, saying that the department considers Windows Phone to be more secure than Apple iOS or Google’s Android.

In general, says the report, having smartphones has been a boon for New York’s Finest: For the first time ever, NYPD officers have a phone number and email address that they can give out to the citizens in the communities they police. Plus, having one-touch access to police databases means faster crimesolving.

Nokia lumia 830Business InsiderThe Nokia Lumia 830, Microsoft’s 2014 flagship Windows phone, and one of the models used by the NYPD.

By next summer, CNET reports, the NYPD will have considered introducing new devices running the newer Windows 10 Mobile. There aren’t a lot of options on that front, given that only a handful of phones, notably Microsoft’s late 2015 Lumia 950 and 950 XL phones, run the new operating system. Microsoft itself isn’t expected to release a new flagship Windows 10 phone at all in 2016.

Analysts expect Microsoft’s overall smartphone share to hit 0.5% by the end of 2016. The Microsoft Lumia brand recently got its swan song in the form of the Lumia 650. And Microsoft’s rumoured “Surface Phone,” its last great hope to make a dent in the smartphone market, isn’t expected to drop until the middle of 2017.

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