Windows Phone 8 may or may not come to current handsets. Won't stop them from working if it doesn't

Windows Phone 8 will be available as an update to current Windows Phone 7 handsets….or not. Nobody, I repeat, nobody really knows the answer for certain. So everything you have been reading in the past few days, hours should be filed under the rumor tag. At the day of the day the question is: Does it really matter? Well, in terms of PR, Marketing and overall user trust, not releasing a Windows Phone 8 update (or a subset of it) for, at the very least, the second generation of Windows Phone 7 handsets (especially Nokia’s) would be one of the dumbest move Microsoft will have ever done. Remember, we are talking about the same company that launched the horrendous Kin handsets. Sadly, anything is possible with the boys and girls in Redmond so don’t get your hopes up.

One more thing to realize is that current Windows Phone 7 handsets are not going to suddenly stop working once Windows Phone 8 is going to be released. hopefully people will understand and stop being drama queens. The phone you are currently enjoying will still be fully functional next year and beyond. Let’s assume that their won’t be a WP8 update for a second. What’s really missing from the current Windows Phone experience ? 1080 video playback/encoding? This won’t be “fixed” by a WP8 update (requires hardware). NFC support ? Won’t be fixed by a WP8 update (requires hardware and is already possible in WP7). better integration with Microsoft’s Bing, Skydrive, etc services? This can be added by a relatively minor WP7 update (and already done via apps like the new Translator app). The one thing that would be annoying will be the apps/marketplace experience because of the lack of WinRT / Native support that will come with WP8 and thus restrict the number of applications compatible with WP7 handsets (major suckage here….there’s no way around that). I but let me repeat this: Your current handsets are perfectly fine! Do I hope that Microsoft doesn’t do the dumbest sh@t ever and indeed release a form of WP8 update for a select number of Windows Phone 7 handsets? Hell yeah! Am I going to loose sleep, throw my WP7s handset in the trash, troll all over the internet, if they don’t ? Nope. First let’s just wait for the Tango roll out which should start in early June and the official Windows Phone 8 unveiling this summer.

  • Anonymous

    true, it wont stop them from working, but there ARE issues with it and knowing that you just signed a 2 year contract and your OS is not supported anymore is just a big fat slap!
    I’d buy the Lumia in a second if i knew it gets the update because even if i like win7.5 more than iOS and Andriod, it’s not perfect. If i know they won’t be updated/fixed/enhanced, why the hell would i buy one?

  • MobileTechWorld

    Can’t disagree with you here. This is indeed a PR nightmare for MS/Nokia. It’s now up to them to find a way to get out of it. My post was definitely more aimed at users who bought their handsets 6months+ ago not new Nokia Lumia 900 owners which have every right to be pissed off for now.

  • Anonymous

    “ My post was definitely more aimed at users who bought their handsets 6months+ ”thought so. 
    I don’t understand why they don’t make a clear statement if apollo comes to the older devices.
    The only logical reason i can think of not to tell if lumias get updated or not is that it’s actually not getting the update and they don’t want to end the hype about the lumia 900 and bringing sale numbers to zero by telling people their phone wont be supported.

  • Anonymous

    I want the update to Win8 so that works more seamlessly & is more deeply integrated with the Windows 8 Desktop and i5 Tablet experience/ecosystem. What I mean by this is:

    (a) Better networking & homegroup support – I want to be able to play/view/transfer all types of files off my local NAS & Networked computers.

    (b) Better App Support – All the big developers are much more likely to develop WinRT apps – This means we will be missing out on new & updated apps.

    (c) Native RDP Client – All the current clients are poor…and I’d expect the native version to be much better – though a HD resolution phone would make life much easier.

    (d) Semantic Zoom & Grouping on the Home Screen – Aesthetically & functionally this will be much better.

    (e) Xbox Live Music/Video – It is very likely the end of Zune….and it is very likely the Xbox services will handle all media (local + cloud) – This will possibly allow the storage of music & video on Sky Drive…which I should be able to play anywhere at any time (highly likely).

    (f) PC Companion – Deeply integrated with the PC experience as explained above (No Zune Software req).

    (g) Internet Explorer 10 – Should improve general performance…including browsing speed by 30%

    (h) Improved App integration – This includes Facebook/Twitter/Skype/Nokia Services etc…but I think Microsoft will allow certain developers to integrate other services as if they were native.

    (i) Notification Center of some sort – I think Nokia will make them include this.

    None of the above are confirmed & neither do they require new hardware…but IMO are very… very likely…much more likely than the rumours currently on the internet u see everyday.

  • BucksterMcgee

    Yep that’s really the only “good” reason Microsoft has for not explaining it now. And by good I mean for their sales, it’s terrible for the actual customer.

    The only other explanation I can see is that Microsoft as of late has been playing incredibly close to the chest, meaning they seem deathly afraid to reveal anything before they can ensure they can guarentee it.

    Take Tango for example. They haven’t officially said any dates on it, most likely because when they say a date for it, they want to guarentee that everything is ready and set to go for sure before confirming it.

    And this isn’t just one example, it’s pretty much the entirety of Microsoft in recent history, because in the past when they would release something then fail to meet whatever was annouced there was a huge back-lash about it.

    I’m not saying that this silence is necessarily better (if anything they need to work on their awareness), just that this is how they have been working as of late.

    As for an Apollo update, even if you can’t update current phones to Apollo (imagine trying to update an Xbox to the Xbox 360 OS, an old Zune to the Zune HD software, or hell almost any Android phone that exists to Ice Cream Sandwich…) that doesn’t mean there won’t be a concurrent for non-apollo phones.

    Supposedly Apollo will be radically different, far more than anyone outside of Microsoft realizes, hell the core OS will actually be different, that’s no small change in itself. That’s the type of thing you just can’t “upgrade” and at the very least without completely wiping out everything on the device… e.g. something that you wouldn’t just “push out”.

    Futhermore, if the system is in fact so different then it could very well be true that current Windows Phones just don’t have the hardware for it (which makes me questions  what happens with all the emerging markets they are just starting to enter?).

    In either case, what can they really do in that situation, other than have a separate update to bring as much parity as they can to existing Windows Phone; a sort of, Windows Phone ~7.77777777777….

    This isn’t an unrealistic solution either. If Apollo is the Win 8 core, there’s a good chance that it’s been worked on next to the other versions of Windows Phone over the years side by side.

    In that case a) two (or more) updates/OS’s have been worked on simultaneously, b) features upto Mango/Tango would have to have been recreated in the Apollo core, and thus c) feature in Apollo could still be brought to the Mango/Tango devices as long as that OS supported them.

    So what does this all mean?

    Apollo will be a large shift in OS and devices, much more than just an “update”. If that large change can’t be upgraded on existing Windows Phones, then a separate upate could exist that brings as much of Apollo over that it can.

    That update probably wouldn’t be called Windows Phone 8, as that would be reserved for the new class of devices. But this raises a huge question, how long does these concurrent OS updates go on for? Just that one time? Windows Phone 8.5? Until people who bought Lumia 900′s contracts are up in 2014?

    Some how I highly doubt Microsofts wants to support two mobiles OS’s let alone market and push Windows Phone 8 while early adopters sit on an outdated OS for years…

    This doesn’t even raise the question of fragmentation.

    Officially it has been said that all current Windows Phone apps would run on the next version of the OS, but what about the opposite? Would apps written for Windows Phone 8 be able to run on current phones, even with an update? Are developers really going to have to develope two (or more?) versions of there apps to fit both needs?

    Doesn’t seem to be a great place to be in for platform that is still trying to get it’s legs going.

    Even with all these unanswered questions, hypothesises, guesses, and assumptions I feel that people are simply over reacting. It doesn’t help that all we get is silence from Microsoft, but they haven’t exactly done a terrible job so far, so I’m hesitent to believe that they didn’t see all this coming, and just don’t have an answer.

    My best hope is that we are all just seeing the sky falling and the truth won’t be as bad as we all fear it to be; in fact I expect that we will be so wowed by Apollo that we will forget all this worry.

    … well maybe.

  • BucksterMcgee

    And for the record, KIN is a perfect example of a good idea with terrible execution.

    The concept was fine, but to keep prices down the hardware just wasn’t quite powerful enough for a decent experience, and asking for a full data plan price on what is basically a smart-dumb phone just put the last nail in the coffin.

     In the end it’s for the best anyway, better to have just Windows Phone then trying to juggle the both at once.

    What’s interesting is that given today’s hardware you probably could pull off the KIN style device with a much better experience at the same pricing. I guess that’s what Tango is in a way.

  • Anonymous

    well, good points but the reason why MS is not supporting magno/tango with updates (apollo) is irrelevant. That doesnt matter for Lumia buyers when they get told: “listen, i know we sold you a phone from which we knew it’s going to be outdated in 6 months, but listen – the hardware is just not good enough/compatible for our new system”. No one will be like “ohh ok, yea, if thats the case no problem sell me another $700 phone”…
    If they decide to update two OS’ for a few years, i’m good with it because after 1.5 years i’ll probably get a new phone anyway.

    My hopes are the same as yours. Maybe we can pray together.
    I’m very confident that Apollo will blow us away. I’ll def get a tablet! But i just don’t know if i should stick to my iPhone 4 until Windows Phone 8 Devices hit the stores, or if i should buy a Lumia now.I’m all horny for the Lumia i’m telling ya. I really want it and i don’t want to use this stupid Apple iOS Stuff anymore.

  • Brandon

    One word for @microsoft:twitter if they don’t put #wp8 on ALL @windowsphone:twitter devices: fragmentation. This is what everybody dogs Android for, and MS is already walking one hell of a line with it. Verizon’s phone JUST got 8107, Sprint’s doesn’t even have 7740 yet, I don’t even think the Samsung Focus on AT&T (the “premier” partner) has 7740. Now they’re talking “512mb” and “256mb” (tango entry level) devices, and NOW they’re saying Apollo will be yet another variant? Where does it end?
    As a developer, I already now have to code specially for 256 and 512k devices. Now i’m going to have to take in to account those folks w/ Apollo and those without? This is becoming a horrible, horrible thing if they don’t push Apollo to the masses.
    So I, for one, am VERY interested in it because dammit, I don’t develop for Android for a reason, and the reason is I’m sick of having to worry about every tom dick and harry w/ outdated crap dogging my app because they’re not updated enough to get a) it at all or b) all its features or c) its features working properly because I forgot to take in yet ANOTHER permutation of OS/Hardware.

  • Anonymous

    Good post dude! I follow you and have talked to you on Twitter and this is one of your best posts. Technical challenges and carriers BS aside, not releasing Apollo to current and recent devices would be an ecosystem/platform suicide, and unfortunately, Nokia could go with down too after pretty much betting the company on Microsoft’s technologies. The show won’t be pretty, but it would be interesting to see WP7 fans start abandoning the “fail boat” amass and turn into MS-haters like those who got burned by Windows once too many times.

  • Anonymous

    If WP8 apps won’t run on WP7.x phones and the phones don’t get an OS update, that’s a really big deal.  Talk about fragmentation!  Developers will have to target two different operating systems on one ecosystem.

  • Jibberish18

    I wonder if MS would be careless and frankly dumb enough not to update at the very least the latest generation phones to Windows 8? Not to say that the first generation shouldn’t be updated as well. They should. As long as it doesn’t bog down their systems. I can tell you that if the last update I get is stupid “Tango” I’ll be pissed. At the very least, I want all the things that this damn OS is missing to be included in later updates. Windows 8 or not.