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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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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By JasonMick (blog) on 4/23/2012 12:34:53 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
It looks like the kool aid drinking Microsoft fanboys again refuse to accept reality. If the new release is six months out and they are saying "no comment", what do you THINK that means? When someone says "yes it will get upgraded" in a foreign interview, then the WHOLE INTERVIEW gets retracted, and they revert back to "no comment", what does that tell you?

This is shaping up to be very entertaining. I simply can not WAIT to hear the wails from the dejected fanboys when they realize they got a "free" phone on a 2 year contract that is essentially rendered useless and obsolete by Windows 8. Should be pretty fun listening to Microsoft and Nokia trying to spin this too!
First off, I think there's a difference between fanboys and multi-platform users who like Windows Phone because of the superior UI. I think at this point, given that most users with Windows Phone had to ask explicitly for it (given that carriers did not try to sell it to customer until recently), such users are in the majority. I think your fabled "Windows Phone fanboys" are largely non-existent -- most Windows Phone users are multi-platform users who have experience on Android and/or iOS.

I like Android, but I don't like the ICS UI as much as Mango's gorgeous UI. Likewise I like iOS's core apps, but not as much as Windows Phone's hubs graphically appealing hubs.

I use virtually every major OS -- I had a MacBook Pro (bought for the great weight/battery vs. similar designs at the time) and spent most of my time in Windows 7, but occasionally would dip over to OS X. While I hate OS X, I could appreciate some things on it -- e.g. search is very fast vs. Windows 7.

(Build issues have crippled my MBP for now, awaiting screen frame repair. I'm largely using a bulkier MSI GT460 at this point...)

And I am a heavy Linux user and enjoy the customization of exploring shell scripting. But on a day-to-day basis for word-processing internet-browsing I prefer Windows 7.

(My C/C# development time is roughly split 50-50 between Windows 7 and Linux.)

I use whatever works.

If that makes me a "fanboy" of whatever platform, so be it.

I do have to say that if Mango users think they're getting an upgrade, they're being unrealistic at this point. But I also think those who are eager to attack the platform with little knowledge or experience of what it's like (such as yourself) are just as bad.


By karielash on 4/23/2012 1:18:07 PM , Rating: 3
The Windows phone is a refreshing change, the UI is indeed very slick and very fast, I have owned multiple Android phones (dropping an Android to get the new Windows phone) and the Lumia 900 is by far the best overall experience I have had to date with a smart phone.

That's not to say I now hate Android, but I think this particular iteration of Windows phone is the best on the market for the money at the this time. I am sure in two years when I look again things may have changed.

Most people in technology in this day and age rely on multiple platforms to get business done (I support an environment with at least a dozen different flavours of Unix Linux and Windows) and the phone is no exception. Screaming Fanboy any time anyone chooses something you personally do not like doesn't exactly enhance your argument.


By Reclaimer77 on 4/24/2012 6:56:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
First off, I think there's a difference between fanboys and multi-platform users who like Windows Phone because of the superior UI.


Calling it "superior" just made you a fanboi lol :P


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