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Lack of upgrade path gives cause to pause, but may not affect the average buyer significantly

While the official party line from Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) is that it has not announced whether there will be an upgrade path for Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) handsets, such as the Lumia 900 LTE by Nokia Oyj. (HEX:NOK1V), to future operating system versions, the rumor-mill is abuzz that the answer is "no".

I. No Upgrade Path for Windows Phone Mango

No one knows precisely when the next version of Windows Phone will land.  But leaked slides from 2011 point to a Q2 launch of a lightweight variant (Tango) and a Q4 (likely October alongside Windows 8) launch of the next high-end release --- Windows Phone 8 (code-name: Apollo). With Mango devices like the Lumia 900 finally starting to appeal from an aesthetics and hardware perspective, the question on the minds of many is whether these second-generation Windows Phones will be compatible with the third-generation Apollo operating system.

Again, there's been no official word from Microsoft, but signs pointing to "no" began when blog WMPowerUser interviewed Microsoft developer-cum-WP promoter Nuno Silva, who claimed that the devices would be eligible for upgrade:


That possibility was cast into serious doubt, when Mr. Silva posted a blog followup retracting his claim and apologizing.  In the blog he writes:

I recently participated in an interview with the Portuguese website Zwame, where I made some comments on the future of Windows Phone that created confusion. Rumors are swirling, so I feel the need to clarify my statements.

The point I was attempting to make was simply that existing Windows Phone applications will run on the next version of Windows Phone. This is the same guidance that Microsoft shared late last year.

I mistakenly confused app compatibility with phone updateability, which caused the rumors we saw yesterday.  I did not intend to give the impression I was offering new guidance on any products under development or their upgradeability.

While there has been no official word, that denial coupled with reports from top reporters with ties to Microsoft -- SuperSite for Windows' Paul Thurrott [link], ZDNet-veteran Mary Jo Foley [link], and The Verge's Dieter Bohn [link] -- indicates that it’s unlikely that any Mango device will receive an Apollo upgrade.

Paul Thurrott offers perhaps the most insight, writing:

First, there’s no economic imperative; Microsoft’s partners have sold very few Windows Phones, and supporting a new platform on legacy hardware would be expensive. Second, the experience would be terrible; Windows Phone 8 is based on Windows 8, not Windows Phone 7.x, and requires headier, higher-end hardware with two or more core processors. Third, handset makers and wireless carriers would never support this upgrade; they want to sell new phones. And finally, wireless carriers would never, ever, ever, ever deliver this update to users.

Of course Microsoft has already made it absolutely clear that Mango will continue to received patches and updates -- including bug-fixes, performance enhancements, and security-updates -- until end-of-life (EOL).  So, no upgrade does not mean "no update", by anyone's estimation.

Sources: YouTube [Interview], MSDN, SuperSite for Windows



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Misleading Title
By Mitch101 on 4/23/2012 11:35:41 AM , Rating: -1
Is it No or Unknown. Looks like Unknown to me.

"While the official party line from Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) is that it has not announced whether there will be an upgrade path"

"Again, there's been no official word from Microsoft"

"While there has been no official word"

Keep in mind there are two Windows 8 platforms x86 and ARM and Microsoft delivers the update not the carrier.




RE: Misleading Title
By geddarkstorm on 4/23/2012 11:56:24 AM , Rating: 1
WP8 is a completely different kernel from what I understand. Everything about the OS is different. I don't think WP7 can be simply "updated", hence why MS has made no promises that it will or can. If it could, they would have made an announcement already, as that's an important factor for their marketing of the WP7 devices.

MS is rather clever though, so we'll see if they are able to figure out a way.


RE: Misleading Title
By acer905 on 4/23/2012 12:12:56 PM , Rating: 1
Think of it this way. Can you "upgrade" from XP to Vista or 7? Or can you re-install the new OS over top of the old one. If they do it right the update, which like Mango will be a tethered update, should be able to do a full OS re-install if needed. The kernal change really shouldn't have that much of a factor, especially if they keep app compatibility.


RE: Misleading Title
By Mitch101 on 4/23/2012 3:36:53 PM , Rating: 2
Windows Phone 8 being tested on Nokia Lumia 800, new features detailed
http://wmpoweruser.com/rumor-windows-phone-8-being...

Nokia Lumia 610 on the low end and Nokia Lumia 900 on the high end will indeed get the Windows Phone 8 update


RE: Misleading Title
By ictia on 4/23/2012 12:13:17 PM , Rating: 2
having a different kernel does not preclude an upgrade. if you don't recall, we all did this when we upgraded win 3x to 95 to xp and the linux folks do this almost like every day. this really has nothing to do with whether or not there will be an upgrade. upgrading software is *always* possible "provided" that the hw is supported -- i don't see how hw just released (eg. lumia 900) will no longer be supported by wp8. it could be that wp8 requires 1gb ram, whereas the lumia has only 512mb, but again, we can keep talking and guessing, but we'll just have to wait and see ... in the meantime, wp7 is still very much supported and it's one lean mean os!


RE: Misleading Title
By Mitch101 on 4/23/2012 3:39:19 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed and Microsoft is not going to abandon the 80,000+ apps and make everyone start over again.


RE: Misleading Title
By corduroygt on 4/23/2012 3:43:06 PM , Rating: 2
WP7 apps working under WP8 and running WP8 on WP7 devices are two completely different things. First one is easy enough to accomplish, the second one depends on the hardware requirements for WP8


RE: Misleading Title
By Mitch101 on 4/23/2012 4:13:07 PM , Rating: 2
I hope you don't think I'm implying running WP8 on WP7 that's like expecting Windows 7 64 bit apps to run on XP 32bit.


RE: Misleading Title
By epobirs on 4/25/2012 9:14:29 PM , Rating: 2
Really? How many people went all the way from Win3.x to XP on the same machine? I had a Pentium 133 that was the newest thing you could get when Win95 shipped, so there was some overlap with Win3.x there. I would not have wanted to try running XP on that machine.

I don't think you realize how much of a kernel change is involved here. This isn't like a new Linux revision. It's more on a par to the shift from Mac OS 9 to OS X, which was a version of NextStep that had been taught the Mac APIs. For WP, it's going from a code base descended from WinCE to a ARM version of the NT code base. It is only abstraction and APIs keeping the existing software running, as the underlying OS will be a very different beast.


RE: Misleading Title
By mcnabney on 4/24/2012 9:36:23 AM , Rating: 2
MS is not clever. In fact, for the amount of talent they employee they are amazingly stupid.

For example, they couldn't figure out how to do an upgrade from WHS1(32 bit) to WHS2 (64 bit). Durrrr. Step one - make new 80GB partition (that is all that it needs). Step two - install WHS2 into that partition. Step 3 - reboot into that partition and begin process of recognizing existing file structure/tombstones and rebuild from the previous install. Step 4 - Delete the old 40GB OS partition. Done. MSFT with all of their billions of dollars and thousands of employees couldn't figure that out. And they wonder why WHS2 was a complete failure?


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