HP has canceled plans to build out a line of Windows phones due to Microsoft’s general disinterest in continuing to battle Google and Apple on mobile. Nick Lazaridis, president of the EMEA regions at HP, told The Register that HP decided “it doesn’t make sense” to continue making Windows phones because Microsoft “decided on a change in strategy” and is now “less focused” on Windows mobile.
Last year, HP waded into the Windows phone world with a high-end device called the Elite x3. It was supposed to act as a phone, laptop, and desktop, using a series of docks, and was targeted primarily at serious business users who always want to have all of their files with them. Lazaridis said that HP had planned to create a “number of products” in the Elite line, but the company now intends to end support in 2019.
A representative for HP confirmed the date in a statement to The Verge. The spokesperson did not rule out future Windows phones altogether, saying that HP would “evaluate our plans with Windows Mobile as Microsoft shares additional roadmap details.” But for now, it doesn’t seem likely. HP also added that sales of the Elite x3 will be limited to what’s already been produced, meaning the phones are going to disappear, assuming HP can find someone to buy them.
The demise of the Elite x3 puts yet another nail in Windows phone’s well-shut coffin. It was a bold but last-ditch effort by HP to get into the phone game and a suggestion that both HP and Microsoft thought there might still be room for mobile Windows with a niche segment of the market. Evidently, none of that worked out — and Microsoft’s growing reticence to invest in Windows on mobile certainly didn’t help.
With no flagship Lumia phones from Microsoft since 2015, today’s news means the last attempt at a high-end Windows phone is over. If we see one again, it probably won’t be until Microsoft makes yet another concerted push with an overhauled platform or improved connectivity between the phone and everywhere else that Windows lives.
For now, HP is teasing new “mobility solutions” of its own on the way for sometime next year. If they’re phones, it seems safe to assume they won’t run Windows.