Microsoft's newest Windows handsets are already available in many markets around the world, and it looks like they'll be joined a fourth Windows 10 Mobile device, the Lumia 650, in a couple of weeks' time. The report that revealed the February 1 announcement date for that device also claims that it's likely to be the last in the Lumia line, as Microsoft is said to be focusing its smartphone efforts on its rumored 'Surface phone', expected later this year.
Over the years, there have been literally dozens of Lumia handsets and variants - but of course, there have been many other Windows phones too. While only a handful of manufacturers were onboard for the early days of Windows Phone 7 and 8, Microsoft's decision to drop its smartphone OS licensing fees in 2014 opened the floodgates to a much wider range of manufacturers to launch Windows Phone 8.1 devices.
Some of these were simply lightly-modified Windows versions of existing Android handsets, but some manufacturers created bespoke devices for Microsoft's OS.
But while Microsoft succeeded in attracting dozens of new partners to launch Windows smartphones - as well as other devices, such as small tablets and affordable notebooks - it hasn't helped the platform's market share, which has continued to decline. And despite all these partners launching new devices, the Lumia range continues to dominate the platform, accounting for a whopping 97% of active Windows phones.
With Windows 10 Mobile, Microsoft is hoping to revitalize its mobile platform efforts, with a much heavier focus on its partners' devices, as it scales back its own smartphone portfolio - and we've already seen a variety of new handsets and mini-tablets unveiled with its new OS onboard. It will certainly be interesting to see how the company's revised mobile strategy plays out in the future - but for now, we're interested in your thoughts on Windows phones of the past and present.
We're eager to hear your opinions on what might be the best Windows handset so far. Of course, 'best' is a relative term; your idea of what's best might differ wildly from mine, his or hers - there are all sorts of ways to define a superlative device.
You might, for example, look back with rose-tinted specs at the Lumia 800, one of Nokia's first Windows Phone 7 devices, as a handset that stood out in terms of design and beauty among the other options available at the time. Perhaps the HTC One M8 for Windows would be another option, as an alternative flagship to the Lumia range-toppers of its time.
Others might choose a device like the BLU Win HD as a rather attractive mix of colorful design and capable performance. Maybe the Lumia 640 - one of our favorites - would be a popular choice, thanks to its blend of impressive specs and affordable pricing. Or perhaps you might think the best to be Microsoft's latest Lumia 950 and 950 XL flagships, crammed with high-end specs and the latest version of the OS onboard.
Let us know your choice for the best Windows phone so far in the comments below - and be sure to share some thoughts on the reasons for your particular choice too!
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