Lots of Lumias will finally start seeing the characteristic blue light from Microsoft's Windows 10 Mobile operating system on their home screens today.
It's taken quite a while, too, with several delays. Microsoft moved away from Windows Phone, promising Windows 10 Mobile as a replacement. Desktops have had Microsoft's latest OS for quite some time, bringing slick features like Continuum, Cortana and Windows Hello.
Just a few of the most recent Windows-based smartphones actually shipped with Windows 10 Mobile preinstalled, and joining them now are even more Windows Phone 8.1 devices.
Not All Windows Phones Are Equal
Of course, Microsoft was careful to note in its announcement that the rollout of Windows 10 Mobile only includes "select" Windows Phone 8.1 devices. These include the Lumia 1520, 930, 640, 640XL, 730, 735, 830, 532, 535, 540, 635 1 GB, 636 1 GB, 638 1 GB, 430, 435, BLU Win HD w510u, BLU Win HD LTE x150q and MCJ Madosma Q501.
If your Windows smartphone isn't on the list, Microsoft suggests downloading its Windows 10 Upgrade Advisor app to really make sure if the Windows 10 Mobile upgrade is available for your specific unit.
We've observed, however, that Windows 8.1 devices with less than 1 GB of RAM aren not, and most likely won't be included in the upgrade.
"As Windows 10 delivers significant new innovations, many older devices are not able to successfully upgrade without an impact on the customer experience. Our goal is to only offer the Windows 10 upgrade to devices that we are confident can continue to deliver a good customer experience," Microsoft explains.
Get The Upgrade
Even if a user happens to be among the luckier ones to have their device listed for the upgrade, software updates like this aren't all in Microsoft's hands. Just like with Android updates, the rollout may just trickle out to users quite slowly, depending on a user's carrier.
There are nonetheless two ways to get Windows 10 Mobile on a smartphone. The first that Microsoft suggests makes enough sense: just use the Windows 10 Upgrade Advisor app to see if the update is available and to prepare the device for installation.
Microsoft's second suggestion, however, isn't really a helpful one at all.
"Buy a new phone," the company writes, adding, "Check out the latest Windows phones designed for Windows 10 Mobile."
Currently, Windows phones that come with Windows 10 Mobile include the latest Microsoft Lumia 950, 950 XL, and lower-end Lumia 550, which cost $549, $649 and $139, respectively. These are straight from the Microsoft Store and are unlocked.
For those with the extra cash, that just might be the way to go. It could be worth it for features like Continuum that basically turn a Windows smartphone into a mobile desktop using a separate display, mouse and keyboard.
The Features Are Worth It
New apps for the new OS will be also be supported. Microsoft has made it easier for developers by letting them build for Windows 10 without having to differentiate between a desktop app and a mobile app.
This is because, when an app is made for Windows 10 on a desktop, it will also run on Windows 10 Mobile smartphones or tablets. That feature has allowed Twitter, for example, to update its app to support Windows 10 Mobile and is a good sign for other companies to follow suit.
Besides new apps making their way to Windows, Microsoft has added new features, such an audio recording app, a new alarm app, new context menus, sticky keyboards that can be attached to either side of the screen and a more informative notification menu.
With all these features combined, Microsoft has made enough changes and upgrades to its mobile operating system that this Windows 10 Mobile update should help those with older Windows 8.1 devices feel like they've got a brand new phone in their hands. That is, as long as their device is included in the upgrade list, of course.