All 36,000 police officers in New York City now carry smartphones powered by Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system, which was discontinued in 2015.
The New York City Police Department recently finished equipping all of its officers with Lumia 830 and Lumia 640 XL handsets, CNET reports. The department began handing them out in April 2015. Before that, officers relied on radios and a system of shared voicemail boxes to communicate with each other and their superiors.
The NYPD explained that using a discontinued operating system is necessary because of the custom software it has developed in partnership with Microsoft. That software includes the ability for 911 dispatchers to route calls directly to officers in the field, and a unified database search that offers officers access to names, police records, license plates, and more.
"I call it the Google of NYPD data," the department's deputy IT commissioner, Jessica Tisch, told CNET.
Microsoft released the last version of Windows Phone, 8.1, in 2014. Its replacement is Windows 10, the same operating system that runs on tablets, notebooks, and desktops. The mobile version of Windows 10 includes the Universal Windows Platform, which allows third-party developers to create apps that work on any Windows device.
Although the NYPD's choice of Windows Phone sets it apart, the agency is in fact one of many large organizations that have deployed mobile devices to streamline their workforces. Airlines like United and American have issued Apple iPads to pilots, replacing reams of heavy aeronautical charts that were expensive to update and heavy to carry around. Flight attendants and customer service reps at United also use the iPhone 6 Plus to charge customers' credit cards for inflight purchases.