HP has confirmed it’s not making any more of its Elite X3, one of the few remaining Windows 10 Mobile handsets available.
The Elite X3 was a showcase for an interesting Windows 10 Mobile feature called Continuum, which allows the smartphone to be connected to a big screen and keyboard, and function pretty well as a desktop computer.
It is sold in bundles that include a Desk Dock, which provides a range of connectors, and a Lap Dock, a laptop-like device without local processing or storage capability that only functions when used in conjunction with the Elite x3 phablet.
According to The Register, which first reported the story, HP had planned a number of products but this strategy was cut short when Microsoft changed its own mobile plans.
In a statement HP told ZDNet: “Many customers are finding value in HP’s 3-in-1 device, the HP Elite x3. It enables mobile workers, including first responders, field services, and others to have a smartphone that can provide a tablet and PC-like experience — the one device for them.
“We will continue to fully support HP Elite x3 customers and partners through 2019. We will continue to evaluate our plans with Windows Mobile as Microsoft shares additional roadmap details. Sales of the HP Elite x3 continue and will be limited to inventories in country. HP remains committed to investing in mobility solutions and has some exciting offerings coming in 2018.”
When ZDNet reviewed the Elite X3 late last year it described it as the ‘most compelling Windows 10 Mobile phone yet’, however HP’s move is not hugely surprising.
Microsoft has all but abandoned Windows 10 Mobile smartphones, and now so have most other handset makers.
Microsoft’s own website now only lists two handsets: the Elite X3 and the Alcatel Idol 4S. However German company TrekStor and the UK’s Wileyfox have both said they will be building handsets too.
Despite spending buying Nokia’s phone business in 2014, which was meant to catapult Microsoft back into the top echelons of the smartphone market, its phones never really made enough of a breakthrough against Android and iOS devices.
A mere two years later Microsoft was forced to swallow a $7.6bn writedown on the acquisition of Nokia’s devices and services business, and cut 20,000 jobs in the process. Since then Microsoft has been slowly stepping back from the smartphone business to the point where it has now all but vanished.
Microsoft never quite rules out the idea of having another go at mobile, perhaps with its new Andromeda hardware and software, but it will find it an uphill struggle as its customer base continues to shrink.