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I don't presently own a Windows Phone so perhaps this is a naive question.

I was thinking about buying a Windows Phone (maybe Lumia 520 or 530) to use on Wi-Fi only, so an unlocked/no-contract phone. But then I wondered, if you have an unlocked/no-contract phone, who controls the OS updates? That led me to the answer that "Phones that are branded to a carrier are subject to the carrier's update schedule even if the phone is unlocked".

Are there any non-carrier phones?

How would a developer get OS updates to test/develop against?

5

Yes, there are plenty of Windows Phones that are not carrier branded (depending on where you live). You can get those usually at Amazon or similar retailers. With those devices the manufacturer decides when an update is ready to be pushed to the customers.

As a developer you also have the option to install the lastest stable and tested build on your device through the Windows Phone Developer Preview program. This way you don't have to wait for any manufacturers or carriers to approve an update (except with the Lumia phones which are made by Microsoft of course).

Check out also this great answer to a similar question: What is Windows Phone equivalent to Google Nexus series?

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