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Why HP remains committed to Windows 10 Mobile

HP Elite x3 with Lapdock
HP Elite x3 with Lapdock (Image credit: Windows Central)

It's odd that with Windows 10 Mobile being dead, HP continues to support and invest in the OS with its Elite x3 line of devices. HP is working on a second generation of the Elite x3 and is continuing to support and update its current Elite x3 with new firmware, up-to-date recovery files, app updates and more. But why? Many people are unable to fathom HP's commitment to Windows 10 Mobile, so we thought we'd try and help explain.

It's important to understand that Windows 10 Mobile is no longer a platform for consumers, it's a platform for enterprise. This is something Microsoft has said themselves. HP's entire Windows 10 Mobile play is based around the fact that Windows 10 Mobile is an enterprise platform, and with the Elite x3 (and future Elite x3s), the company built a device specifically for that enterprise market. HP actually went out and asked its enterprise customers what they wanted from a mobile productivity workhorse, and the end result was an Elite x3 running Windows 10 Mobile.

Windows 10 Mobile's Continuum lets you switch your phone into either a laptop or desktop by simply docking it. You can take your entire productivity device with you in your pocket, rather than in a bag or leaving it at work in the case of a desktop. I know many of you think Continuum is still a gimmick, but with CShell, that all changes. Microsoft will be bringing the familiar desktop experience to phones via Continuum with CShell, including windowed apps, true multitasking, and a whole lot more. You can see an early build of CShell in the video above.

New Device Categories

As a result of Continuum, HP believes that there's a middle ground between bring your own device (BYOD) and PC productivity. As the name of the Elite x3 implies, HP has built a 3-in-1 device rather than a 2-in-1. It's a phone, that can be that BYOD laptop, and can also be a desktop. In short, there's a new category of devices here with Windows 10 Mobile. HP's very own Michael Park, who oversaw the development of the Elite x3, explained that in an interview with us a few months ago:

"We saw very clearly about two years ago that there was an opportunity for us to step in, and that's when we looked at the different OS types … we knew that if we just created another Android phone, we wouldn't be able to keep up with the likes of an iOS or Samsung … We built from the ground up, really thinking about 'how do we bring to life a productivity experience for mobile workers where mobility is the first priority?' And that's the breadth of the concept."

And before you claim "but enterprise needs win32," HP is aware of this and has built apps that get around the lack-of-Win32-support-on-a phone issue. The HP Workspace app, which businesses can sign up for and customize, allows the Elite x3 to run Win32 apps through a virtual machine, connected via remote desktop. We demoed this app not too long ago, showcasing what it can do when the Elite x3 is connected to Continuum.

Even so, Android is now at that point in which it too has a Continuum experience, and when docked to a desktop or laptop can be extended to a desktop-like experience. The problem with Android, however, is that it isn't Windows. Enterprise markets like Windows, a lot. This is also why the Elite x3 is a Windows 10 Mobile device rather than an Android device.

"You have the fastest adoption of Windows 10 happening in the commercial and enterprise right now of any Windows OS that's ever been in the past, and the ability to transcend the backend and leverage those investments that commercial IT is making in active directory, Azure AD, EDP, and Windows Intune, seamlessly with virtually zero cost, is a beautiful "do you want fries with that?" play with Windows Mobile with Windows 10."

There are many benefits of going with a Windows-powered device over an Android or an iOS one for enterprise markets. That may not ring true for consumers, but you've got to remember that HP isn't building or maintaining the Elite x3 for the consumer market, everything HP is doing here is for the enterprise. It's clear that for consumers, Windows 10 Mobile is dead, at least for now. But for enterprise (and for "prosumers"), Windows 10 Mobile is very much alive.

Hopefully, once Microsoft finally shows off CShell on Windows 10 Mobile in full, more of you will be able to understand why HP remains so committed to the platform. Perhaps we'll see Microsoft finally detail upcoming improvements to Windows 10 Mobile at its BUILD developer conference in May this year.

In the meantime, what do you think about HP's commitment to Windows 10 Mobile?

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • Offtopic: Background on that HP please!
  • The revelation of the sources behind Dan's wallpapers remains to be ambiguous
  • I'm still looking for the painting background on the surface studio.
  • Yeah I've asked before and still want to find out where to get those awesome wallpapers 📱
  • Was thinking about the same thing :D But probably making something similary myself would be more realistic than to find that exact one
  • So I did just made it :D I'm gonna say close enough :) - And that's how it looks on the phone -
  • Nice! But it needs more
  • the purple is from the tiles, just make the tiles less transparent and it will be more purple. In the screenshot I used light blue at 75%, just tried at 65% and it looks about the same as in the article
  • He never responds when asked about his wallpaper
  • Me too
  • to this day 2 things are obsulete 1. how to get that wallpaper 2. how to get purple live tile on windows central ( no it is not in settings and if it is its not working )
  • Look very similar to the one i downloaded with the wp mobile background application
  • Next article about HP will be about leaving the windows mobile platform
  • Why not enjoying now because it seems they actually care about the platform HP x3 is a good phone, maybe MS will step up on Windows 10 mobile updates and giving best device and more innovative like it's Surface line..
  • Lol
  • His comment is funny
  • Re: AKA jisto1215, AKA MrOptimism1215.1.
  • Or about you leaving the site :)
  • So, you received 40 downvotes because you said something that will happen for sure. I love this place.
  • This is how it works here Remmo....... Say something upbeat about Windows Phone and everyone goes 'Yay!' Say something downbeat and everyone goes 'Boo!!' No one here wants to admit that, as far as Windows Phone in the consumerspace is concerned, the game is up.
  • I'm pretty tempted to get a HP Elite x3, wish it was a little bit cheaper, then it'd be a no brainer.
  • keep your lumia 950xl a few more months maybe there will be SD835 windows phones
  • Yeah, in 2018...
  • Announcment only in Q4, 2018 if any
  • Why not an Idol 4S?
  • They don't support it that's why. It's in need of a firmware update and they just don't care. Just saying.
  • What firmware update does it need? Mine seems to work fine.
  • The camera speed and functionality could be upgraded via the firmware.
  • Mine just got updated...
  • the idol can it just not really advertied be a consumer face phone get dock/ or wireless and it ready to go
  • Doesn't get firmware updates
  • I am in the same boat with the price, rather stick to my 950 for a bit longer until the price is down
  • It is a backup for my L950XL before Surface Phone (cellular PC?) arrives.  I'm really sold on the rumored foldable screens.  Whichever phone comes with that will be my next phone.
  • @Yangstax, maybe the courier tablet is finally being thawed out of cryostasis?
    Time will tell :).
  • Same here. I have a 950, but I think it would be better to just sit and wait for the next generation of "mobile" Windows devices.
  • Same here. I reeally like x3 and looking at the available offers every day. I am even considering contract to spread the cost...
  • W10M is dead. If there will be phone with windows in future, it will be windows 10 origin, no mobile version anymore.
  • U are again confusing dead with under developement... Yes a new one will be with windows full blown, but we are still here and if i have a look at all the updates i receive on a daily basis on my windows store account: That is anything but dead.
  • Actually confusing dead with irrelevant. 0% market share. No one cares if it's dead or not except for the few thousand people still using it.
  • You are horribly bad at math. You need to go back to primary school.
  • Well, the last figures that came out had the OS at 0.3% of market share, which is within the rounding/margin of error of the latest numbers. So the users base is around zero, but obviously some people are still using it. If you want to go even further, the last data I saw (which may be somewhat dated) had the HP X3 as the 17th most popular windows phone in use. That would equate to what, maybe a few thousand units in the wild? While the X3 was announced over a year ago, beyond a few articles claiming that multiple companies were "piloting" it, there don't seem to be any articles published claiming any company of significant size has adopted the phone/platform/technology.
  • DEAD is past tense which implies that the platform is no longer officially supported or updated by the OEM.  Windows 10 Mobile, while it does have a pathetic 0.3% market share is still being updated by Microsoft, which means the platform is not DEAD.   Dying is the correcting word to use.
  • Dying? Maybe. Can't really go lower than 0% share. Irrelevant is where the platform is at now. It'll be interesting to see how much longer MS continues supporting the mobile platform.
  • Re: AKA "bub78" or AKA "statistics78":
    Statistics are what dishonest people (or people with "an opinion") "use" to misrepresent the truth.
    Please, check your math.
    Best Wishes
  • The problem with those figures are they are consumer certainly in Europe the Enterprise Market figures in early 2016 anyway were; iOS 29% Windows 28% Android 22% Blackberry 16% Other 5%   i've not seen the latest figures or where to gain these from (The above came from a technology roadshop with a major Mobile Service Provider)   Certainly the X3 is doing well in Germany with the Police taking the handset with over 1200 devices. The UK had a massive influx of handsets to the public sector when Microsoft announced the EOL dates for the 950 and 650's with no replacements 9,000 units in the channel were snapped up over 2 months, again mainly with the public sector. Mid priced handsets are needed to keep this alive in the Enterprise what businesses can afford the pricetag of the X3?
  • @bub78 ...... What I can't figure out is this.  People like you keep pronouncing it dead.  Why (if it is dead) do you feel you must tell everyone?  My theory is that you're really worried that it is not and it will rise up and eat what ever phone or OS you're using.  It is penis envy.  You don't have enough air to change my mind on what phone or OS to use by telling me over and over again that Window phones are dead.  It isn't because in my reality I am still using it and it is still working for me.  So relax and go (to whatever site supports the phone you use) tell the others how great that phone is because we here already know.
  • If you scroll up a bit you'll see that I said the OS is irrelevant, not dead. Somehow youve managed to get to the heart of the matter, I do lay in bed awake at night terrified about phone OS market share. When the mobile phone OS uprising happens I wonder how we'll all cope with the repercussions? Seriously though, I prefer the windows phone OS, mainly for the gui and ease of use. I think it's unfortunate that MS has bungled and failed at every opportunity to make the platform succeed, but it is what it is.
  • That 0.3% is new sales, not current user base.
  • Are you people unable to comprehend what you just read?  Here you are again, speaking of "market share".  What part of ENTERPRISE do you not understand?  They're no longer competing in the consumer "market".  Ya follow now? 
  • W10m has supposedly been dead since it arrived, right?
  • Windows 10 Mobile is Windows 10.
  • If only I can use it on Verizon I would buy!
  • That is soon coming to an end. Next year you will not need a sim card. Your phone will have a sim that let's you connect to any carriers
  • Eh? But what about radios?
  • It won't be an issue just like the Verizon iPhones, Nexus 5x/6P, Pixels. Those phones have both CDMA and GSM radios built in.
  • Radios aren't the issue. The Elite certainly has Verizon radios, they are just deactivated.Verizon still needs to play nice.
  • I like their idea and momentum but my problem is how long can they stay with a mobile platform that has no love from it's makers? I understand we do get updates and all that but those are half-baked and even less than what is being pushed for pc. If microsoft is considering  the os dead, hp will never gain no matter what they do.
  • Microsoft doesn't consider anything. "dead"
  • So its okay to keep beating the horse?
  • Zune?
  • If you know that the OS is dead then would the highly paid execs in HP not know it? Dude you aren't that smart man that nobody else has picked up what you have. I think there is a lot cooking between MS and HP. I think Windows Phone is not dead. The 32 version might just go away and the next version might just be a arm64.. wow!!!
  • Explain one single benefit of a 64 bit ARM chip phone running Windows....
  • Slightly better performance
  • Vs 32 bit ARM? Ability to address more memory. Vs x86? Battery life. Need more ?
  • you know that the OS is dead then would the highly paid execs in HP not know it? We're talking about HP here.  HP has only slightly more clue than IBM (which isn't saying much).
  • They said last year they wouldn't put much effort into mobile, but this year they would, so let's see if that's true before we claim the platform is getting "no love from its makers".
  • I've got a 950xl and I'm fine with this until they get the version which can run Win32 apps with the Snapdragon 835.
    What I'd like to find is a kind of lapdock similar to the hp one for the x3, but cheaper and with an actual physical connection, not a wireless one. Wireless docking adds too much latency between action and reaction on screen.
  • So you want a cheaper lapdock, since you can plug the USB C cable into the side of the dock to have wired on that one.
  • I'm very curious to know what Win32 apps you'd like to run on your phone.
  • With USB-C cable you could have this with any laptop maybe, or with any 2in1 device. You could buy one for 200 bugs. Since Windows 10 AU one can use a laptop as a lapdock: to use its screan, and to use its peripherals (keyboard, etc.). I tried to connect my Lumia 730 wirelessly to my Lenovo Miix, and it worked great, though with Lumia 650 it was laggish. I only wasn't able to use it's keyboard, nor mouse, nor touchpad, nor touchscreen. I should have been able to use those if my phone had Continuum. I hope Microsoft will enable that in future for non-Continuum devices too, as what I was able to do was projecting the screen. Not entirely sure what are all the things one couldn't do with a lapdock, and not to do with a laptop like this? I'm sure there are some stuff like that...
  • I use a Lumia 730 as my primary device and will be switching to another Windows 10 Mobile device with Continnum support. May not be a HP Elite x3 because I can't afford but I will definitely buy a Lumia 950. Even though someone tells me that Windows 10 Mobile is dead I will still rely on it.
  • You should.
  • 950xl is good 😁
  • I have the XL and the specs are really good, and the camera is awesome, as is the screen, but I find the build quality to be poor and I've also gotten a replacement phone once already and may have to get this one replaced also for the same reason.  The screen doesn't always come back on right away after unlocking it. Sometimes I have to wait five seconds or more.  It happened to my original XL and now it's started happening with this one too.   I'm thinking of getting the Alcatel Idol for the interim until the Surface phone comes out.
  • You could go with the Lumia 650 like I did and be very happy. Same specs more options.
  • i'd wait until after hearing build and release of the creator's update
  • Good choice 😁 I'm also planning to buy an XL in october, when the two year contract for my 535 ends.They're dirt cheap now 😁 The 535 is still pretty much usable, but I feel it's definitely aging now, and the 8 GB internal storage is just not enough anymore. Nowadays, I'm using my corporate 650 way more anyway, because it's better, and has unlimited call and text with 10 GB LTE for free 😀 But I still love my orange 535 ☺ But 3 Lumias are even better than two, and I want a flagship 😀
  • So my question is, when W10 mobile goes full enterprise, will individual legacy fans like us get a chance/outlet to buy one ourselves and use with no enterprise backing?
  • You have to wait until fall when the new SD835 x3 shows up with the release of RS3.  For individual user, you can't rely on virtual machine.  But the W10 on ARM supported by RS3 will let you run legacy apps in emulation mode.
  • RS3 is W10 on ARM? source?
  • Man, I've always wanted to run legacy apps through an emulator on my phone....
  • I can't tell if you are being funny, or serious...
  • You'll always be able to buy from
  • I'm sure the surface team is going to come with a bang. and then HP will succeed. Just like the surface line is now benefiting the whole windows ecosystem for all OEMs
  • As much as your comment just sounds like "fanboyism", I actually believe your statement will be proven correct.
  • Great article! It seems like HP understands and values what teamwork brings to offering solutions that will work for their customers. I give them props for doing so much for the Elite x3.
  • Great hp is hanging in there where MS is not. Even on MS its own websites they only talk about hoe good their products work with iOS and android, good luck finding a reference to windows mobile. I'm afraid HP may end up as disappointed as most of us with MS. After all Nadella is more committed to Apple than to HP. Yeah HP! If they achieve success with X3 they may end up being the savior of our mobile OS.
  • HP is working closely with Microsoft. Microsoft is a software company. HP is a hardware company. Why would Microsoft want to step on a partner? Really?
  • Why would they? Because they do it all the time, why do you think hardly any oems released windows phones the last five years? They have all been burned by MS at one time or another. HP could be next.
  • I disagree with the concept of "not for consumers". It's not 2008 anymore with "iPhones are toys, Blackberries are tools." Why can't Windows appeal to both? The lines have been blurred. Is the iPhone only a consumer device even though it runs office and has been widely adopted in the professional world?
  • Amen
  • Yes, you use it at work and you are more likely to use it at home. What Apple did, but they kind of have got so lazy and greedy they look at us as a big *** to suck off of.
  • It's because apps that children use is driving sales on the consumer side, but of no use at all in business. Snapchat, Instagram, etc
  • Yes, Apple took one kind of philosophy that made them money very quick but didn't do anything for the community at large. Now that people have grown and understand that Apple is not the center of the universe things will change. Even Coke and Pepsi finally understood that it was better to work with their companion than to fight. Apple doesn't seem to understand that yet. We live in the same world and if we are just fighting against each other we will never win. Selfishness just leaves us alone.
  • People understand that Apple isn't the center of the universe? Since when? Did you not see their sales last quarter?!
  • You can disagree all you like, Microsoft has openly stated that Windows 10 Mobile is now focused for Enterprise markets, and they're doing nothing to help out the consumer side of things for Mobile. I'm not just saying that because it's what I think, it's literally what Microsoft has said is the current plan for Windows 10 Mobile. Will that change in the future? Maybe. But I don't have a time machine so I can't say for sure.
  • It's rather the other way around; few companies will choose a business-only phone for it's employees, and risk the ice/indifference of said employees...
  • "Why can't Windows appeal to both?" Unless and until developers bring modern apps to the platform, it can't "appeal to both".   
  • I understand HP's interest in windows mobile. I am more surprised at Microsoft's
  • Great to hear their committment.  For HP it is a gamble, but the list of competitors in this market is rather small so if they can make it take off they are in place to make a nice chunk of change! Hope for their success.  Every positive step towards mobile brings it closer to being usable.
  • "It's important to understand that Windows 10 Mobile is not a platform for consumers, it's a platform for enterprise. "   This is so false.  It's not that Win10 Mobile is NOT a platform for consumers as much as the consumer space is already saturated with iPhone/Android.  At this point, even though it IS as good of a consumer device as any other, they simply can't bust into the market well enough because they don't have enough developers writing apps for it that consumers want to see.
  • Wrong. Microsoft has switched tracks and is now developing Windows 10 Mobile for the Enterprise market, not for consumers. That's why Microsoft killed Lumia, as Lumia is a consumer brand and Windows 10 Mobile is not for consumers. The Surface Phone, whenever that shows up, will be appealing to the same audience as the new BlackBerry does. It will not be competing alongside the iPhone. That's not to say that consumers can't adopt the platform, and if the Surface Phone is done right, normal people will want a piece of the cake. But you can't argue the fact that "right now", Microsoft has positioned W10M as a platform for Enterprise, not for consumers.
  • I disagree with that
  • Sure :)
  • I only really want to see win32 on my 950XL :P (autocad/photoshop/illustrator reasons). I use continuum everyday and boy is it impressive.
  • They already tried marketing for the consumers with the lumia line and it failed. They have to change things up and we know that the enterprise market is one of the biggest strengths of microsoft. Will this translate into bigger W10M market share in the future? We don't know. But the point is that this is merely a marketing switch and doesn't mean that they are abandoning the consumer market. Think of the less competitive enterprise market as their entrypoint to the competitive consumer market. more market share = win-win for both consumers and enterprise users.
  • The iPhone is used by enterprise more than any other device, so how can you say Surface phone won't be competing against it? You make a lot of statements that are patently false.
  • What was implied is that Surface Phone won't compete against Apple in the consumer market. And there will be competition in the enterprise sector, they aren't exactly comparable because Win10Mobile will be presented as company phones and BYOD both. One of the real world examples is the barcode scanner for the elite x3 - that automatically reduces the need to have a bunch of separate devices, one device to handle multiple activities. An iPhone can not do that. Hence the statement that the Surface Phone won't compete against iPhone. I understand your statement and do agree that there will always be competition between the two, but just because you don't agree with someone's statement calling them false without facts is petty
  • You think there are not bar code scanners for the iPhone?! I am sure they have been available for years. I was in a shop that checked me out using one that also had a card reader!
  • But, have an iphone continium?
  • who the F needs that crap anyway?, it has been around for so long an still is hasn't got any momentum...good concept poorly made by MS
  • Please tell us what Apple has "developed" besides a dumbed down versions of others for the mass consumption of dumb downed consumers.
  • ...
  • Now, if we could just get Nadella interested.
  • He's busy signing his book.
  • I worry that Nadella is also busy, implementing a "corporate raider" strategy to get rich. It looks like it's working.
  • "It's important to understand that Windows 10 Mobile is not a platform for consumers"? Oh really? Now you say that because Windows 10 Mobile is not even a blip on the consumer market. But back when MS pivoted from Windows 8 to Windows 10 Mobile (after innumerable pivots) , I did not hear you guys say that.... This is just matching your story to what the reality is now - this is not analysis.
  • Exactly!! There was a company (with a weird name based on a black-colored berry) that used to be popular among consumers, but when those consumers moved to a different platform, they said their OS was not for consumers, but for enterprises. Then enterprises also moved somewhere else, and now the once omnipresent mobile platform is not even for walking deads.
  • Blackberry was always an enterprise device first, providing security and encryption features no one could match back then. Plus its BBM servers and backup systems. It gained consumer popularity later on. Like Symbian/Nokia they did not evolve fast enough, which led to their downfall.
  • Oh, this article isn't trying to sell you a lie. We're well aware that Microsoft's switch to focus on Enterprise for W10M is a result of the platform failing in the consumer market, otherwise they would never have switched to Enterprise focus in the first place.
  • And that is where it's at. Why? Because we are all slaves to the system. The system "they" tell us we need to be apart of the system. Let's have a little more choice. Two is not enough for me.
  • Same. I'm no Enterprise and W10M is perfect for me.
  • "It's important to understand that Windows 10 Mobile is not a platform for consumers" - Please understand that some people live happier while lying to themselves.
  • Lying about what? :P
  • He's trying to say that some of us consumers use it too, and it would be good to just have a phone that does it all.
  • If you don't care about a broad array of apps, it's a fine platform.  If you do, then it's DOA.  This from on of the former Win10Mo faithful that ran out of patience and reluctantly moved to Android.  If they could crack the app gap, I'd be back in a heartbeat.
  • Re: Rui Gomes1,
    May I ask, can you clarify what you are saying?
    Best Wishes
  • "WM is for business" is an excuse to justify the lack of apps, is an excuse to justify the lack overall quality of the OS (specially at launch), is and excuse to justify the lack of hardware in the stores. This argument help people to lie themselves about the reality of the platform.
  • It's NOT an "excuse", bud.  MS has at this point made a business decision to abandon the consumer space.  That's not an "excuse".  It's smart business given their reality.  They don't have the apps and they're unable to get developers to build them.  So focusing on the enterprise space, given their dominance there makes perfect sense. 
  • Ok you just made my point.  Where is the WM dominance in the business space? Where are the devices? Where are the business apps?  Business man does more than calls and messages.
  • "Business man does more than calls and messages."   LOL, you're actually making my point with this comment.  It's way too early to come to conclusions about their position in the enterprise given the constant evolution that is going on right now in that space.  As for apps, let's wait and see how the "cellular PC" plays out.  The apps in that case may in large part be what they have today - their modern apps including the Office suite, new UWP apps, plus the bevy of Win32 desktop apps that exist today.  Only time will tell.  Windows Mobile 10 as a separate OS is likely on the way out, but this hardly means that they're abandoning mobile space or making excuses about it.
  • The article made an attempt to explain the current status, they did not claim to have analyzed and reached a conclusion. The article literally says that Microsoft stated that they are shifting focus to enterprise. Did you read the article?
  • Former Palm Pre devices owner here.....still hurting from the pain HP inflicted on the beloved Pre device owners but i remain hopeful that they have learnt lessons and am glad they are pioneering with some really great hardware for the platform.
  • Comes to my mind when HP was committed to support webOS. Sounds familiar?
  • So if HP did the research, and the market wants this device, since it's been out a while why haven't we seen a growth spike in the OSs market share?