It sure looks like Verizon is "retiring" the eight-month-old flagship Lumia Icon Windows Phone, as WPCentral reported might be the case on October 9.
Verizon seems to have removed mentions of the Lumia Icon from the Verizon Wireless site, though the Lumia 928 (introduced in May 2013) is still featured and for sale there.
"Retiring," in this case, appears to mean continuing to sell existing inventory but not restocking, based on a Twitter exchange between Blue Chip consultant Eric Grover and a one of the people responsible for the Verizon Wireless Twitter account.
After pinging and repinging various Microsoft spokespeople as to whether this was true all day long on October 10, I still couldn't get an official confirmation -- or a denial.
Nokia launched the Lumia Icon, a k a the Lumia 929, exclusively on Verizon in February 2014. The launch gave those of us Windows Phone users on Verizon hope that Microsoft/Nokia and Verizon had begun smoothing out their rocky relationships. But since that time, unfortunately, it doesn't seem like much has really changed.
With some Microsoft products -- for example, the Surface Pro 2 -- the decision not to continue to manufacture and restock means there's a new flagship in town. But there haven't been any new or recent rumors of new Lumia flagship phones coming to the U.S. market before 2014 ends. One new rumored Lumia flagship phone, codenamed McLaren, has either been scrapped completely or postponed, according to various sites tracking Windows Phone. The Lumia 830 and 730 are more in the mid-range phone market, spec-wise. There is a nice non-Microsoft-made alternative: The recently introduced HTC One M8 for Windows, which I loved form-factor-wise more than the Icon. But the HTC's camera is so-so, and a noticeable downgrade compared to the 20 megapixel one on the Icon.
It's tough to be a Verizon Windows Phone user.
As of October 10, Verizon had still not made available to Icon users the Windows Phone 8.1 update, which includes support for Microsoft's Cortana digital personal assistant; a notification center; and a variety of new enterprise-focused features. No one from Verizon or Microsoft has provided an estimated date as to when Verizon might push Windows Phone 8.1 to Icon users. There's also no word when Icon users will get the Cyan and Denim firmware updates from Verizon, which provide some needed updates to the camera on the Icon phones.
(Microsoft does have a way to allow those of us willing to sign up as developers to grab the Windows Phone 8.1 bits, but we can't get the Cyan and Denim firmware updates without our carriers pushing them to us.)
I'm hoping to get an update some time soon from Microsoft/Verizon as to what's happening with the Icon. If and when I do, I will update this post.
Update (7:30 pm ET October 10). Via a Microsoft spokesperson, Verizon provided the following statement, which does not address the retirement issue or the status of the Lumia Icon updates:
"Icon is in stock and Verizon is actively selling it at retail stores for $99.99 after $50 MIR and 2 year contract."
No word if Microsoft or Verizon will issue any further statements clarifying the situation.