It was just a few months ago that we learned of Microsoft's commitment to support its Windows Phone 7.8 and Windows Phone 8 devices for 18 months. Today Microsoft announced that it's extending that support lifecycle for Windows Phone 8 hardware, though, promising WP8 users an even lengthier period of updates.
In a post on the Windows Phone Blog, Microsoft has announced that it will support Windows Phone 8 hardware with updates for 36 months. This support will include security updates as well as other "incremental" software bumps. However, Microsoft cautions that the phone manufacturers and carriers may be in charge of the availability of these updates, and so their distribution will vary.
As I've said before, it's not often that a manufacturer comes out and straight-up announces its support plans for its mobile phones but that's what Microsoft has done. Sure, the fact that the updates are described as "incremental" don't make them sound terribly exciting, but any update is a good update if you ask me. Today's pledge from Microsoft means that Windows Phone 8 devices will continue to see support in the form of security and other incremental updates through January 12, 2016.
Along with its Windows Phone 8 support lifecycle extension, Microsoft today announced plans to release an "enterprise feature pack" for WP8. Expected to roll out in the first half of 2014, the purpose of the update is to give IT departments more control over their Windows Phone products and to provide employees to with enhanced productivity features. Some of the goodies that'll make up the filling of this enterprise feature pack include improved app management (including the ability to allow or deny app installs), support for EAP-TLS on enterprise Wi-Fi and access to corporate resources that are behind a firewall with an app aware and auto-triggered VPN.