#HPEliteX3 #WindowsPhone – HP’s Elite x3 Should Be the Last Windows Phone : Microsoft’s Windows Phone team appears to have no products, strategy, grip, or clue. They need to cut bait, and the HP Elite x3 is a fitting valedictory to a failed strategy. It’s not that we don’t need Windows Phone; it’s that Microsoft has mismanaged it so badly. It’s possible to have three mainstream OSes on mature platforms. Look at laptops—where we have MacBooks, Zenbooks, and Chromebooks—or tablets, where we have Surfaces, iPads, and Fires.
Microsoft’s problem with phones, as we’ve recounted many times before, has really been about its lurching, swerving strategy, inconsistent third-party support, and distribution chaos. The company has flushed its mobile team several times in the past five years, took far too long to integrate with other Microsoft products, and sold its phones through a series of carrier exclusivity agreements that frequently saw them exiled to the backs of stores after a few weeks of heavy promotion.
This argument is different from the “there’s only room for two” argument. Google is not impregnable. If Google annoys Samsung enough with its new Pixel phone strategy, watch Samsung turn to its homegrown Tizen OS. Samsung used to be a Windows Phone partner, of course. But after being burned on developing non-selling Windows Phones before, I can’t see Samsung turning to Windows Phone again.
Into this void drops the HP Elite x3, a long-awaited high-end Windows Phone from a company that hasn’t released a phone in the US since the webOS-powered Veer 4G in 2011. The Elite x3 makes a fitting final phone for Windows Phone because it’s powerful, ambitious, and has had a tortured route to market that likely will have killed most of its appeal by launch.
We first saw the Elite x3 in February, when it looked like the apotheosis of Microsoft’s Continuum strategy, which lets you use a phone with a cradle to become a sort of thin-client PC. It’s a smart idea, one that mobile manufacturers have been trying and failing at for years (see 2011’s Motorola Atrix) and could have been something had Microsoft had any follow-through at all.
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