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Windows Phone isn't back from the dead, but our readers wish it was

Nokia Lumia 1520
Nokia Lumia 1520 (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Many Windows Central readers still long for the days of Windows Phone.
  • Over 70% of polled readers picked Windows Phone as the dead Microsoft product they'd like to see resurrected the most.
  • The Microsoft Band drew the second most votes (6.84%).

Microsoft has killed off many products and services over the years. In honor of Halloween, we ran a poll asking which dead service our readers would most like to see return. Windows Phone won, earning over 70.39% of the votes. Microsoft Band (6.84%), Zune (6.48%), and Kinect (3.66%) came in second, third, and fourth place, respectively.

Since this site used to be known as WPCentral (and WMExperts before that), it's not surprising that Windows Phone earned the most votes. "I mean did you even have to ask what your readers would pick since you used to be called wpcentral :P," joked Annullator.

"No surprise here. Their decision to cancel WPhone is the dumbest decision MS has made," said amixtreo.

Korfuntu explained several reasons for missing Windows Phone:

I really wish Satya Nadella had not killed Windows Phone. Windows Mobile had features not available in IOS or Android, and was not plagued with the security issues that still haunt Android to this day. While some may not have cared for Windows Mobile's live tiles, I found them to be useful.

Lumia 1020 back

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Many others shared memories of Windows Phone and a desire to see the platform return. Some Windows Central readers continue to use Windows Phones.

The Microsoft Band earned the second most votes from our readers. Almost 7% of those that voted wanted to bring the Microsoft Band back from the dead. "Microsoft Band, it was the most feature rich fitness tracker at the time," shared Sin Ogaris.

Few comments mentioned Zune, but the Kinect received quite a bit of praise. "Still like the Xbox Kinect, both 360 and One version," said MZONDERL. ITMedCEO shared that they missed the TV controls the Kinect provided.

While the rest of the choices didn't receive many votes, people expressed enthusiasm for them. ElRodeo said, "I really loved my mediacenter. Wouldn't it be great to have that in a modern version?"

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

81 Comments
  • Its UI was awesome maan, really
  • It's the fastest smartphone till 8.1 MobileOS.Here maps was a life savior, Cortana was amazing, etc. What they actually lack was... Official mobile apps.
  • It wasn't fast, the hardware was always at least a year behind. It was smooth, but not fast.
  • I still use Here Maps on my Android.
  • I miss Windows Phone, but a Surface Neo with telephony using Surface Earbuds would be even better.
    We don't need a phone, we need a mobile device that can do legacy telephony during the time we're moving to AR.
    Just let us use one device for everything, enable telephony in all SIM-enabled devices, treat it like any other communication app, let user decide how they want to communicate. I'm honestly more concerned about Microsoft's AR stance...
    They were planning to leapfrog the mobile phones to AR glasses and get back in the mobile game when the market shifts from small screen in their pocket to volumetric computing, but we haven't seen much improvements in Windows Mixed Reality since years, and now Facebook/Meta, and soon Apple, are claiming the market.
    It wouldn't be so hard to do an All-in-One, Snapdragon-based, immersive Windows Mixed Reality headset, and that would get early adopters interested, and start populating the Microsoft Store with apps for when the consumer market is ready. But instead, Facebook/Meta is getting the apps and Microsoft will realize in a few years that they have the same apps issue in their hands as they had with Windows Phone.
  • Fun thought, hear me out, telephony built into Surface Earbuds, all phone calls go through the buds, but contacts and visual apps still connect through Bluetooth, and they would be generally available through all devices instead of just the dedicated phone.
  • There is no input method that works well for these devices and opens up the possibility of really good software. Until that breakthrough, nothing will matter. We are still at the Windows Mobile, Palm, BlackBerry stage. Until someone releases an iPhone like breakthrough, AR won’t go anywhere. Microsoft needs to figure it out first.
  • I'd pick one up in a heartbeat (but not $1500 heartbeat).
  • They could reenter, windows 11 is getting Android app support. I get there isn't play services, but I think developers might be able and willing to make versions for win 11 now, either in ungoogled android apps or pwas. Better odds than windows phone days.
  • Windows Phone 2021 would be amazing, for sure. With the new design language? Oof. Chef's Kiss. Meanwhile, the Band was really really good, but faulty materials killed it. If they played it safer and do away with the strap ribbon connectors, it could be great.
  • The band was trash. Literally broke in months along the band and wasn't comfortable. I owned both versions. The second was more comfortable, but not durable
  • While waiting for my Duo 2 to arrive, I threw my SIP in my old Lumia 920 for a few days. What a joy. Sure not all the apps work these days, but navigating the OS and the general ascetics are amazing compared to Android. If only MS would make a small Surface Pro tablet with a hinge, so you could put it in your pocket, and make phone calls too, then I'd finally have the dream of a single device.
  • Yeah I remember my lumia 1520. I had that phone for over 5 years. Went from win phone 8- 10 and held on to that for as long as I could. It was almost my mini laptop and the camera was amazing for its time. (maybe even still decent today) I feel win 11 can bridge this gap and maybe even have a windows phone with win 11 on it once the android compatibility kicks in. I still feel surface duo should come with win 11. Android needs to go on surface.
  • !00% agree. The 1520 was an incredible device, and only got better with the upgrade to 8.1 Windows 10 Mobile was a messy affair, by comparison, and the Lumia 950 was a huge step back. It was clear the Surface hardware team saw no future in the Lumia range. I would love to see W11 on the Duo, although literally every person I've mentioned this to say it will never happen, and I can kind of see the logic. One guy over on the Reddit SurfaceDuo forum summed it up quite well...every Microsoft app that you would run on Windows 11 runs just as well on Android. Outlook, Teams, Office, etc all work well with Android. But I don't care. I want W11 on a Duo :)
  • While I'd love to see a legitimate Windows/Surface phone, running a version of Windows with hardware built by the Surface Team (Windows 11 on a Duo, perhaps, although every time I mention this the pitchforks come out) I definitely would not want to go back to the Windows10 Mobile / Lumia 950 days. For me, the "golden era" was somewhere in 2010 - 2013. The Lumia range was new, and Microsoft were being bold yet thoughtful with Windows Phone 7 through to 8.1. My Lumia 1520, along with the 8.1 OS upgrade, was peak Windows Phone. The arrival of Cortana was epic, and it's still hard to believe what they've relegated it to these days.
  • Pitchforks should come out. It's a really awful idea
  • Microsoft put very little effort in Windows Phone according to Gates and it showed. It was never good, it was always mediocre at best when compared to the competition.
  • Obviously, there is space for another mobile OS, but the point is x86, Satya had said MS should dig in where it is good at, I don't think MS will turn to ARM, no apps support like iOS and Android, it is afraid of being a loser, but if MS don't do that, it will lost desktop someday.
    Windows is dying, both Apple and Google can turn PC to mobile seamlessly, even they bring WP back, they will never gave up x86, windows is not so important in MS, you can get it from the market value, they focus on cloud now.
  • Windows 11 on Arm runs virtually everything. I think Arm is the future for Windows although x86 is still dominant.
  • I don’t think I’d trust another MS platform to develop for after the dumpster fire they did with the WP7.1=>8.x=>10 SDK EDIT to clarify, the SDK itself was great, but the transition to each new platform was pain rich
  • Why don't they just make a dual boot Windows / Android phone? Google wouldn't approve?
  • Probably the same reason you cant fully run Google play apps on Android for Windows 11.
    later
    -1
  • Not a good idea.
  • Windows on the Duo is a cool tech demo, but would be horrible to use
  • I'm an Android person but back in the day I bought a 2nd hand Nokia WP and liked the interface. If was nice looking and the phone was fast. The killer for me was the lack of local apps compared to Android. Still got the phone and fun it up every now and then.
  • I really do miss Windows Phone. The interface was much better than a bunch of static icons. Apple and Android make a great fuss when they re-skin an icon pack.
    But, seriously, we do need a good third option for a phone OS. A duopoly doesn't promote innovation nearly as much, and I truly think Windows Phone was ahead of its time. Even Steve Wozniak praised the OS stating that it's what Apple should have released.
    I think Microsoft kept looking at it as a market they couldn't dominate, but that wasn't the right thinking. It's not about dominating the phone OS market, it's about complementing your existing OS and products. I think businesses would have liked that third choice because it would have been easier and probably a lot more secure. It was a missed opportunity.
    Oh well, I'll always look back fondly on those years.
  • Android had actual widgets, so the "static icon" bit doesn't make sense.
  • You're missing the point as usual...
  • Ok, what is the point? You prefer no function widgets to fully functional widgets?
  • Widgets only work when they are big because they need space for buttons and the gap between apps/widgets on Android /iOS makes you loose ton of precious space and the fixed size of icons only makes it worse. The UI of windows phone was by far the best out there in terms of usability.
  • Widgets are functional even at 1x1 as quick access buttons. Live Tiles weren’t functional at all. They were widgets with zero functionality, zero interactivity. There was nothing more frustrating than seeing something on a Live Tile and not being able to find the post/information/etc. When will the Live Tile people realize they weren’t actually good, and due to that they failed in every product Microsoft showcased them in.
  • I think a larger issue is: Which company is going to define the path forward? Microsoft has basically let Apple and Google decide where mobile development goes from here. I'm not certain I would be comfortable having to react to changes by Apple and Google. I'd rather be in charge of my own hardware and software and operating system, so I could set the agenda and my own development path.
    Microsoft has proven it can develop competent well-thought-out hardware with their Surface line. That they consigned the Windows Phone to the trash heap after an ill-supported product launch and incompetent dismissive support from MS management is blatantly stupid. Windows Phone was not going to be dominant in the phone marketplace, but that didn't mean it couldn't be a profitable and solid competitor to IOS and Android phones if Microsoft had not given up on the products almost before they were launched.
  • Surface is all “me-too” products and failed attempts at new form factors. I don’t see where they are an example of anything other than Microsoft being able to make hardware that is almost as nice as Apple’s.
  • Hmmm. Site formerly named Windows Phone Central finds that current readers wish Windows Phone would return.
  • LMAO! That is all.
  • Ok, we need a follow-up poll that excludes Windows Phone. Of course we all miss the promise that might have been, but what about Consumer Cortana or even Mixer? I'd like to see a Microsoft competitor in all the categories the other major tech companies are leading. Be DAMNED with the profits! And hey, I OWN Microsoft (...stock), so you know I'm committed to the tech over the money. Like Tim Sweeny/Epic, I want Nadella to put our money to work and really beat down on those monopolies. Competition is the life's blood of innovation! Get in there and compete, dammit!
  • Yes, obviously Windows Phone was the top choice, but I voted for the Band to show it some love. Maybe next time make the poll multi-choice?
  • "Be DAMNED with the profits"? Remind me to never hire you to run a company. "I want Nadella to put our money to work and really beat down on those monopolies." Monopolies? 🙄 By definition, you can't have "monopolies" in a market. You can only have ONE monopoly. Mono = one. Neither Android nor Apple are a monopoly. Please learn what the word means before throwing it around. You sound as uneducated as Epic. Which is why Epic lost. "Competition is the life's blood of innovation!" Absolutely. Android and Apple - since neither is a "monopoly" - are competing and innovating. "Get in there and compete, dammit!" MS already tried that. They failed horribly AND lost billions of dollars. Profits can NOT be damned. Without profits, companies shut down.
  • Even Apple OS resembles Metro-Tiles UI. I'd love to see Lumia with stable Mobile OS unlike the w10m. Else Android serves better and optimised MS apps. I want Groove player for Android. Neither I like iTunes UI nor YT Music.
  • I really do miss having a Lumia. Don't care what anyone says.... compared to Alexa, Bixby, Siri and Google, Cortana understood what I said 100% of the time. I do not have the thickest of accents (it's actually super light and most people can't tell) Then the Windows Phone OS was just zippy. Tombstoning apps worked great. Social media integration with contacts was phenomenal. Too bad most of the world was on the microsoft bad bandwagon, which was kinda crazy as the others were just as bad, if not worse, but I digress. I'll just remember the good ole days :(
  • Yeah, but could most of those people even name another product that MS killed off?
  • The previous article made me remember windows phone.
    Now I've downloaded Launcher 10 from Play Store. Looks exactly like W10 mobile.
    Wish I could show a screenshot here.
  • No, it does not. It doesn't have different size icons or live tiles.
  • It has both of these. The tiles are completely customizable. A large number of apps have live tiles.
  • Windows Phone will never come back. Microsoft is not prepared to spend a few billion dollars before it becomes profitable.
  • MS already lost a few billion dollars on Windows phones. They were never profitable. THAT is why it will never come back. Move on, folks. You might as well wish for the return of rotary dial phones and 8 track tapes. Windows phones are ancient history.
  • Been using Home Square launcher since I moved to Android. My Lumia 928 and 710 still work. 625(?) died a few months ago. And I've been here since 710 times, Windows Phone Central
  • I use square home launcher on my surface duo as well
  • "I use square home launcher on my surface duo as well" - is it good? Explain :)
  • It is good. I prefer Launcher 10 and run it on my SD2.
  • Widows Phone Central, you mean.
  • Microsoft really missed the boat to find the middle ground between Apple and Android. They should have given the OS away free to hardware manufacturers and enticed app developers with grants early on, but maintained stricter controls on the OS, not open sourcing the core cod elike android does, so there is not forking messes (pun intended 😁). I agree this is the MS product I long for. It had SO much promising potential.
  • "It had SO much promising potential." Except that no one bought it. So no developers supported it. So no one bought it. End of story. The world is full of products that had "SO much promising potential" that no one bought. If no one buys it, NO product has a future. Regardless of "SO much promising potential". The Duo phone is destined to end up in this category.
  • Actually if they released it now and not in 2015 it would have more chances to live as pwa and browser apps are getting much better, so by having chromium browser you won't need 80% android apps. But now I'm not sure if general audience has any trust to new os, especially from ms.
  • Windows Phone 7 was an absolute champ in terms of reliability. It never ever crashed on me. The UI was fluid and snappy. When I got me HTC HD 7, I was amazed at how smooth it was compared to my older HTC HD 2 which ran Windows Mobile 6.5 The UI on Windows Phone 7 was absolutely unique and I liked the hub feature. Zune Music was an excellent companion subscription we got late in Australia. It was near perfect. And then Windows Phone 8 came out and it was crashy, unreliable and it starting losing the integrated hubs. The reliability improved with updates but it was no WP 7.8. Windows Mobile 10 was even worse but bearable. When services started getting canned and I had to get a new phone, I had to go with an Android in 2017. I got a Sony Xperia XZ Premium. I still have it to this day. I owned a tonne of Windows Phones and I'm always a little peeved that Microsoft messed up Windows Phone. They just lost interest in Windows Mobile and had to frantically catch up after the iPhone. What a shame... A real shame. As others have opined, having a duopoly is not a good thing for consumers. Now we're left with overpriced, conformist garbage from Apple or privacy-invasive, intrusive ad-serving malware from Google.
  • I had the HTC HD 7 to.
  • With the new w11 that's coming ( Maybe out already) that's are build around cloud it should be possible to have a windows phone again? Android is a cloud os if I'm not totally wrong. Maybe even expend the partnership with Samsung and make the release a disent phone to make wphone on the market again.
  • windows phones were in some ways way ahead of time. Features which people take for granted, or which companies make a big deal about today, were already present in windows phones: -
    1. Glance Screen
    2. Iris Scanner
    3. Double tap to wake
    4. Beautiful system wide dark mode
    5. Continuum
    6. High touch sensitivity for operating phones with gloves
    7. People Based Reminders and probably a lot more. These are the ones i can recall off the top of my head. The last one particularly, i miss even today as i can't find any alternate for it on android or iOS. On my 950 XL, i would use this feature often - "het Cortana, next time i talk to mom, remind me to ask her what color sari she would like me to get for the holidays." It was so natural, so common, so useful. SO many times, we are in a situation we feel like hey this is something i need to ask. ok I'll ask this person when i call him. and then sometime, next day, for example you call them, talk for hours, and yet forget to ask that one crucial question.! I am surprised no one has done it ever since. Or maybe there is an alternate and i don't know of? In that case, please let me know.
  • Or what about when connected to car Bluetooth while driving and Cortana would read your text messages and allow you to send texts using your voice? "You got a text from, Mom. Do you want me to read it?" -> "yes" -> *Cortana reads message* -> "Would you like to reply, call back..." I used that ALL the time. True hands free experience. So far I haven't found anything to replicate it. Android Auto doesn't seem to do that. So idk. Windows phones were definitely ahead of their time and I blame Microsoft for the mismanagement of it. Can't blame consumers for not buying it when your marketing strategy for it was non-existent. Can't sell something you don't tell people you have.
  • The ads were on TV in the US nonstop when WP7 launched. Microsoft and Nokia spent like a half a billion on ads at the time. Marketing wasn't the problem, it was the product. The hardware was outdated and the operating system was always half-baked. It didn't even have a notification center until 8.1 was released!
  • iOS can read you incoming messages but I have to ask Siri to do so, I haven’t found a way to have her prompt me
  • So, in addition to WP it sounds like you miss Cortana. I also miss consumer-focused Cortana. Some believe there isn't sufficient justification for it without a mobile phone-centric ecosystem and thousands of "skills" to keep up with Alexa and Google. I disagree and think Microsoft should team up with Samsung to help bolster Bixby's skills. I actually prefer Bixby over Google Assistant. They could come up with a new name for the jointly enhanced assistant to leave old prejudices behind.
  • I loved Windows Mobile/Phone.
    If Microsoft were serious and backed it all the way it could of succeeded. Many of their products were ahead of the time such as WP, Zune, Kinect and Band but they only really dabbled and handled them as experiments. I had all these things and miss them, Cortana on Band was amazing. Kinect in Skyrim was amazing, shouting to save or dragons shouts, Fus Ro Dah.
  • I would like this to happen but realistically it won't. Microsoft are far better placed now to resurrect Windows Phone though as we have Windows on ARM and the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA).
  • If you want to use Android, use Android. There are hundreds of good phones you can buy right now. What would the point be making a Windows phone to run Android apps?
  • My kids came over last night and we started talking about how much we missed WP. We wish they would bring it back.
  • Every day that I use my Android phone I am shocked at just how difficult or impossible it is to do important tasks which were simple with our Windows phones. I still use my Lumia 950XL as a testbed, currently running both Windows 11 Pro and Windows Mobile in dual boot.
  • What did WP do easier?!
  • One word: Resuming…
  • I don;t know if this answers your questions as WP didn't just do it better, rather than WPs were the only ones who did this. People based reminders. i still need it but don't know of any android/apple alternative. i miss it a lot. "Hey cortana, next time i talk to XYZ, remind me to congratulate him for his graduation" "Hey cortana, next i talk to dad, remind me to tell him i'll be visiting them next month" and so on...
  • Note: I moved this reply over to your more detailed top-level comment.
  • I loved my 950. It was the best OS. Unfortunately, it but didn't have developer support. It was ahead of its time but late to the party and got crushed because MS didn't promote it enough. MS should have paid the top 50 app developers to write the must have apps for the platform and advertised the crap out of it. I was hoping MS launcher would have a Windows phone optional layout but no luck there either.
  • Was it late or ahead? It can't be both, that doesn't make sense. Microsoft did pay developers. You can find them talking about it. They only put enough effort in to get paid, then ignored it. You entice developers with users, and you entice users by making a great product. Microsoft made a mediocre product.
  • If only McLaren happened. Win Mobile had a lot of momentum until that device was killed off.
  • Windows phone never had moment. Never.
  • I would love to see elegant hardware like an iPhone (I am an Android owner but really liked the ip8/8+) running a supported Android 12 with all it's available apps and the ultra smooth MS UI from 8.1m. One of the best things about Windows phone was the ultra smooth interface that was one of the most responsive ever and it ran on crap hardware. Blend all three systems and you will have the ultimate phone. IMHO.
  • Might sound like a conspiracy theory, but I'm of the opinion that, a mobile device is the end goal of Windows 11, I'm forecasting 2025, but it depends on the success of Android apps on Windows 11. By then Windows should be the OS that runs everything on anything with WSL, WSA, PWAs, UWP others. We'll see though.
  • Windows sales will be half by 2025 as it will only be used for work and heavy lifting.
  • Maybe windows 11, arm processors, and native Android support will bring windows phone back!
  • This poll had two missed things:
    - It should be multi choice (yes, I want to check all of them 🙂)
    - Windows Phone 8.1 advanced gestures is missing
  • I would like the return of Windows Phone the best phone in history