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Why Current Phones Won’t Get The Windows Phone 8 Update

Radford C. Jun 20, 2012 0


Microsoft has officially confirmed the rumor, reported back in April, that Windows Phone 8 will not come to current handsets thanks to a streak of leaked documents and screenshots.

Why are they doing this?

“The nature of the investment [in Windows Phone 8] is primarily in areas that are not exploitable by existing hardware,” explains Microsoft’s Sr. Marketing Manager Greg Sullivan. “Lumia 900 getting support for using dual-core or NFC doesn’t mean a lot,” says Sullivan, “because it doesn’t have the hardware to take advantage of that.”

“To do the work to bring all of those elements to a platform that can’t exploit them wasn’t necessarily the most efficient use of resource,” explains Sullivan.

So what does this mean to current Windows Phone users?

With the huge big marketing push of the Lumias and Titans making their rounds, one can’t help but wonder what exactly is Microsoft’s intention of leaving out current Windows Phone owners who’ve plunked $100-$200 on a device that gets only Windows Phone 7.8.

First of all, we’re unsure of what WP 7.8 will cover aside from the new Start Screen. Secondly, there are hardware requirements. “When you pull that Lumia out of your pocket after you’ve received that 7.8 update, it will look and feel the same as a Windows Phone 8 device,” claims Sullivan. “Because you don’t have a multicore chip and don’t have some of these other elements, it didn’t make sense for us to make those investments for devices that couldn’t really exploit them.”

Fragmentation?

More like a clean break. Windows Phone 8 follows in the footsteps of iOS 4 and 5 when Apple stopped supporting the original iPhone and iPhone 3G. These were all due to the same issues – hardware requirements of new operating system. This makes tons of sense.   When the original iPhone was released, iOS stopped supporting the device at version 3.1.3. When iPhone 3G was released the last update of iOS to support the 3G was 4.2.1, all of which went quietly in the wind. While this may presumably seem ok for owners of much older Windows Phones like the HTC Arrive, Samsung Focus. New owners of the Lumia 900 have been vocal about today’s headlines as they continue to comb for information about the Windows Phone 7.8 update.

And what does this mean for Microsoft? Stay tuned as we’ll be doing a special episode of Wireless Weekly with Mr. Tony Hannides.