Microsoft's mobile ambitions have seen their share of resets, seemingly every few years over the past decade, frequently leaving behind current users in the process. It happened with the jump between Windows Mobile 6.5 and Windows Phone 7 in 2010, and again with Windows Phone 7 to Windows Phone 8 just two years later. So is it so hard to imagine that yet another reset is on its way between Windows 10 Mobile and whatever is supposed to be coming next?
Let's be real for a minute here. Windows 10 Mobile isn't exactly shaking up the industry. But Microsoft simply can't, and likely won't, abandon the mobile market — that would be suicidal in a world that's increasingly mobile dominant. Windows needs a foot in the mobile market, somehow, somewhere, and it's evident that Windows 10 Mobile as it currently is won't be that platform for Microsoft.
So, assuming Microsoft is working on something new for the mobile market, powered by Windows, would another platform reset be such a bad idea? The likelihood of another reset is actually pretty high if you think about it. With Microsoft already cutting off support for devices like the Lumia 930 and 1520, which I'd argue can run the current builds of Windows 10 Mobile absolutely fine, I honestly wouldn't be surprised to see Microsoft cut off the remaining devices support within the next year and start fresh with new software.
What's more, with rumors that Microsoft is looking to bring Windows 10 on ARM (whether that be desktop Windows, or another SKU entirely is still up for debate), Microsoft will likely use this as an opportunity to leave behind current adopters and start afresh, just like before with Windows Phone 8. Microsoft ended up releasing a Windows Phone 7.8 update for Windows Phone 7 users at the time, as a sort of swan song update. Rumors suggest these new "feature2" builds for Windows 10 Mobile are following in those exact footsteps.
Now, unlike the jump between Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8, another platform reset this time wouldn't necessarily be due to technical limitations. It might be, in some instances, but most modern devices like the HP Elite x3 should be able to run whatever Microsoft is planning for the future just fine. By the time Microsoft is ready to "try again" in the mobile industry, these devices might old enough to warrant being left behind anyway, so who knows in that regards.
It's completely possible that another reset might be the very last straw for fans. It doesn't exactly paint an encouraging picture, and I'm sure questions such as "how do we know they won't do this again in another four years?" will begin to be asked. It's a legitimate question, and one that I expect fans will definitely be wondering to themselves when they're thinking about buying whatever Microsoft plans to offer next. That's if Microsoft plans on offering something in the future. At this point who even knows?
But would another platform reset really be that bad of an idea? A the very least it would allow Microsoft yet another attempt at bringing a successful platform to the mobile market, and as fans I know that's exactly what we're hoping for. At this point, the small Windows 10 Mobile user base is composed primarily of fans, so the outrage at leaving Windows 10 Mobile behind might not be as bad compared to previous platform resets (which admittedly also happened to small user bases).
I think, if there's ever been a better time for a reset, that time would be now. You burn the least amount of people possible, and while some will be angry, it's not like anybody's phone is going to stop doing the things it did before the new version came out. Besides, the number of people to potentially upset here is so low that it might not even matter if they're upset anyway, right?
Of course, the best case scenario would be that a platform reset doesn't need to occur, and whatever Microsoft's next attempt at a mobile platform is can come to older devices too. But even if that isn't the case, the next Microsoft mobile platform might not be ready for a while, so maybe by the time they are ready today's devices won't be good enough anyway. Or there'll be nobody left to upset.