NYPD ditching 36,000 out-of-date Windows Phones

Police department switching to iPhones after lack of support for Nokia models

The NYPD is switching from Windows Phones to iPhones, binning 36,000 smartphones because they're no longer supported by Microsoft, according to local news reports.

The New York Police Department only finished rolling out the smartphones to its officers in April 2016after a two-year trial, but they're already out of date. The NYPD Mobility Initiative included specialised apps to support officers in the field, which the department last year claimed was behind a 12% fall in response times.

Microsoft stopped supporting Windows Phone 8.1 in July, three years after it first arrived. Stats suggest smartphones running Microsoft's mobile OSes held less than a percentage point of the market globallyand about 2% in the US. Of those, a fifth were running Windows 10 Mobile, which is still supported by Microsoft.

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The NYPD bought two types of Nokia handsets, the Lumia 830 and 640XL, which landed in 2014 and 2015. Both can technically beupgraded to Windows 10 Mobile, though it's unclear if the NYPD's dedicated apps would run on the newer OS. Plus, Microsoft's lack of enthusiasm for the software has been noted, with little mention of it at keynotes and other events, and cutting swathes of mobile-focused jobs.

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The report from the New York Post suggested the NYPD will be flipping to new iPhones by the end of the year. Apple is expected to announce a new iPhone in September.

The decision to purchase the Windows smartphones has been pinned on deputy commissioner for IT Jessica Tisch, with the report noting she made the decision to stick with Microsoft partially because the police force uses software from the company to run its surveillance programme. The NYPD didn't give any comment, noting Tisch was on holiday.

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The NYPD's $160 million upgrade wasn't funded from its own coffers, but the smartphones, as well as tablets, were purchased using money from a fine against BNP Paribas for violating US anti-terror sanctions.

It's unclear how many other companies are still on Windows Phone we asked Microsoft, but have yet to hear back but the company admitted in April it had "no material Phone revenue" during the previous quarter.

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