In just two weeks time, what may be the last ever Windows 10 Mobile device to go on sale will be launching in several European countries.
The Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro, launched late last year in the United States, is finally making its way to other parts of the world. But in 2017, should you even consider buying a new Windows phone handset? The answer is a resounding no.
Windows 10 Mobile is in a bizarre place right now, its Insider Program is a sad state of affairs, and support for the platform from developers and indeed Microsoft itself is nothing short of a joke. The entire platforms mantra has transitioned from being a platform for fans to a platform on life support for HP and its Elite x3 in the enterprise market.
There's zero consumer focus with Windows 10 Mobile in 2017, and the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro is just that, a smartphone for consumers. It's not an enterprise device like the Elite x3; it's for people like you and me, who buy smartphones with the intent to use them every day for communicating with friends, taking photos, watching YouTube videos, and staying informed. For most people, Windows 10 Mobile is dead.
Buying a new Windows 10 Mobile handset in 2017 is a risky purchase because we simply don't know how much longer this platform has before Microsoft ups and abandons it altogether, as it did with Windows RT and Windows Phone 7 before it. I'm betting Windows 10 Mobile has no more than a year before Microsoft leaves it in the dust for whatever it has planned next.
Microsoft is, in fact, working on yet another attempt at Windows on phones, but in its inability to actually communicate with fans, Microsoft won't say if existing handsets will be supported when its next attempt is finally ready. If history is to repeat itself, the answer is no; they won't be supported. Of course, Microsoft may surprise us, but we've got no reason to believe that will be the case.
The question is simple: Will existing Windows phones like the HP Elite x3 and Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro be upgradable to Microsoft's next version of Windows on phones? If the answer is yes, then recommending the IDOL 4 Pro would be easy, but Microsoft won't say if this will be the case. Since Windows 10 Mobile isn't even getting an actual full Fall Creators Update release, I wouldn't bet on it.
So, no, don't buy the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro. Until Microsoft can clearly and coherently outline its plans for Windows 10 on phones, recommending a Windows phone to anyone in 2017 would be unreasonable and unfair. It's a shame, too, because the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro is a great phone on its own, but with Windows 10 Mobile's future so uncertain, it just isn't a phone that can be recommended to anyone.
If there's anyone out there who should buy this phone, its Windows phone fans who refuse to give up on the platform. If you're a Windows phone user in need of a new phone and have no plans on switching to another platform, then the Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro is a great buy. But for everyone else, steer way clear.
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