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By tying NFC and in-app purchases together, Microsoft killed support for legacy devices

Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Windows Phone 8 is fast incoming and promises to deliver more substance behind the company's already slick Metro graphical user interface.  But a key storyline has been the controversy surrounding Microsoft's decision to leave legacy device users out in the cold with no upgrade path to Windows Phone 8.  Instead, they get a partial update -- Windows Phone 7.8.

After Microsoft made that clear, much discussion has focused on which features will and won't be included in Windows Phone 7.8.  The Verge has dug up details from the Windows Phone Developer Center on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN), which indicate that Windows Phone 7.8 users will not get in-app purchases.

Microsoft chose to launch Windows Phone from the ground up. As a result, certain commonplace features like cut and paste were mysteriously absent at launch.  Many of those missing features were included in a series of updates -- the biggest of which was Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango".

But Mango apps still lacked in-app purchases, an essential feature for Android and iOS developers.

Rather than go for half-hearted near-field-communications (NFC) wireless payments and in-app payments, Microsoft decided to make a brand-new shiny "Wallet" hub for Windows Phone 8, which securely stores users' credit cards and allows a common payment API.

Windows Phone 8
In-app purchases are only for Windows Phone 8, not WinPhone 7.8. [Image Source: The Verge]

The bad news is that by tying NFC and in-app payments together, Microsoft essentially nixed in-app payments for legacy devices, which lack NFC.  It's still possible that the feature might creep into Windows Phone 7.8, but for now MSDN says that in-app payments will only be available for Windows Phone 8.

Sources: MSDN, The Verge

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RE: *wah*
By JNo on 8/7/2012 11:01:11 PM , Rating: 3
The only exception I have seen to this is Apple ... but all the older gen iPhones get the new iOS, but don't have the hardware to support the new features,

Shut up! :)

Older iphones *do* often have hardware capable of running new features but are deliberately left out by Apple. The iphone 4 didn't get siri, turn-by-turn or speech to text and is capable of all of those. The 3GS doesn’t support FaceTime, offline reading, shared Photo Streams, VIP lists or Flagged Smart mailboxes. The ipad2 doesn't get cellular facetime or siri. The ipad doesn't get iOS6 at all.

It's deliberate, aggressive, shameless, forced upgrade behaviour from Cupertino.

RE: *wah*
By melgross on 8/8/2012 6:26:48 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, it's so terrible that Apple still supports phones that are 3.5 years old with new OS updates that give more features, even if they can't support all of them. It's also bad that this allows more newer apps to run than would otherwise be possible.

As for the 33GS, we still have one here, even though we don't use it as a phone anymore. iOS 5 runs just fine on it. It's not slower. My older 3G had problems with iOS 4. Some of that was fixed with later updates, but the phone still ran slower. The 3GS had a number of speed ups which has continued to work out fine.

That apparently Apple is going to release 6 for it is pretty decent of them. When new Android phones come out with an OS that's already 6 months (or in the case of the new Sony, a year) outdated always amazes me. But then, most people don't even know their phone runs Android. They bought the phone because of the size, or, most likely these days, because it's a Samsung, another company with a poor record of supporting older models.

The thing about Win Phone, is that Microsoft needed to come out with this in a real hurry, and they did the easy thing. They could have gone to the version of CE that allowed multi CPU cores, but that would have been more work, and more time. They must have known from the very beginning of development that these phones wouldn't have been upgradable. It's sad, but I think they felt they had no choice.

RE: *wah*
By WalksTheWalk on 8/8/2012 10:41:24 AM , Rating: 2
Let's be honest:

1. Apple has better support for iOS devices than Android or WP, hands down. They update older phones with the newer OS more often. You can also bring it to any Apple store and get good customer service for it. The tradeoff is that you need to have an iPhone and there are very few models.

2. Android's OEMs do not update as often or very timely, but most do get some minor or major updates. It all depends on the OEM and it's hit or miss. The tradeoff is that you can choose from many devices and features.

3. Windows Phone has had a good track record for updating WP7 devices up to the point of WP8 where a brick wall is hit. The problem here is that there are no future updates for the current hardware, guaranteed, and there is limited hardware to choose from. Once WP8 hits shelves, MS will probably do a great job on updates assuming they don't do another full reboot of the OS. For WP7 devices there are not good tradeoffs. No WP8 update, where the entire API will change and apps will not be backward compatible, AND lack of hardware choice.

RE: *wah*
By tayb on 8/8/2012 11:24:20 AM , Rating: 2
Apple: Some software features deliberately left out of new software versions. Almost all products receive an update.

Android: No software update available for many phones, ever. Vast majority of the market still stuck with 2.x versions.

WP8: No updates for "legacy" phones... even if the phone is 8 months old.

It's deliberate, aggressive, shameless, forced upgrade behaviour from Cupertino.

Compared to Android updates it is a godsend. My Droid X stopped receiving updates less than a year after it was released. At least old Apple products get updates with some features stripped.

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