Yesterday, a story emerged that the New York Police Department (NYPD) was finally ditching its 36,000 Windows phones and replacing them with iPhones this year. The article in the NY Post called the handsets "useless", citing law enforcement officials that said things like, "Nobody purchases 36,000 phones based on the judgment of one person", and, "I don’t care if you’re Jesus f- -king Christ, you get a panel of experts."
Indeed, the NY Post was quick to criticize Microsoft's Windows Phone platform, and the person that made the call to hand these phones out to officers, Deputy Commissioner of Information Technology Jessica Tisch. But in an article in NYPD News, Tisch responded.
She said that while the story was being written on Sunday, the NYPD used their Windows phones to "help respond to over 25,000 911 calls; ran 18,000 searches; and viewed 1,080 flyers of missing or wanted persons. Sunday is a slow day." Tisch went on to point out that when the decision was made to use Windows phones, it wasn't cost-effective to go with iOS or Android, due to "prior investment in custom Windows applications."
The NYPD has been planning the transition to iOS for the past year since it learned that Apple had implemented improvements that "would allow NYPD to responsibly and cost effectively move our mobility initiative to the Apple platform." Tisch also pointed out that the department's smartphone initiative is still 45% under budget, given that its Windows phone contract provided the devices at no cost, and allowed for the department to replace those phones with devices of its choosing two years later, also at no cost.
Tisch closes by saying the following:
The smartphones have made our cops smarter, faster, and more agile in their response to 911 calls, with response times down more than 8 percent. Whether it’s the parent whose child has gone missing, the driver who needs a copy of an accident report, or a domestic violence victim whose life may be saved by a faster emergency response, the smartphone program has made the NYPD, already New York’s Finest, even finer.
Sure doesn’t sound like a “useless smartphone,” does it?
Indeed, it seems like the decision to use Windows phones was the right call at the time, just like it can only make sense to switch to another platform now. Microsoft doesn't make Windows handsets anymore, and during its last earnings call, the company called phone revenue "immaterial". In fact, Lumias aren't even sold on the Microsoft Store anymore.