Windows Phone 7's Upgrade to WP8 Apollo Now Unclear

Consumers who currently own Windows Phone 7 devices may not see an upgrade past 7.x, as there's indication that Microsoft won't distribute a Windows Phone 8 upgrade to past, present and future 7.x devices. The revelation arrived during Mobile World Congress this week thanks to Terry Myerson, the Corporate Vice President of Windows Phone, while speaking to the financial analyst community.

According to ZDNet, a participant in the meeting asked Myerson whether there will be forward or backward capability between Windows Phone 7.x and Windows Phone 8 (codenamed Apollo). But rather than confirm or deny that existing Windows Phones are compatible with the Apollo release later this year, Myerson danced around the question and talked about app compatibility.

"We haven’t announced Windows Phone 8, but in terms of I can show you our goal to all Windows Phone 7 applications will run on Windows Phone 8," Myerson said. "Application compatibility is always something, where there’s always stuff on the fringe…. The spirit is our goal that all Windows Phone applications today run on our next release."

Additional sources claim that Apollo won't be pushed to existing Windows Phone users. The decision may be based on carriers and/or Microsoft itself. If that is indeed the case, consumers who purchase a Windows Phone 7.x device just before Apollo’s release won't receive any new features save for what apps bring to the table. They'll also be locked out of the unified experienced that Windows 8 promises for multiple devices.

"Statistically speaking, no Android phone gets upgraded," Myerson said during the meeting. "None. Ever. They have big bugs that don't even get patched. That's what we're seeing statistically out there. In the case of Apple, they ship OS updates to hardware that makes it unusable. It's a great hardware sales tool, as far as I can tell. Install an OS that makes your hardware unusably slow so you feel compelled to go back to the store and buy a new piece of hardware."

He added that consumer expectations of updates can be a "landmine," and that Microsoft plans to be clear about what consumers can expect in that particular area. He then took another shot at Apple, saying the company has created a "great hardware upgrade incentive system." Yet to some degree, Microsoft is seemingly doing the same thing, forcing Windows Phone 7.x owners to purchase a new Windows Phone 8 device if they want to enjoy the full multi-screen One-OS-To-Rule-Them-All experience.

"The most familiar UI for people worldwide will be Metro very soon," he said. "And that's great for the phone business."

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  • Could this relate to the fact that the majority of android phones that are sold today have some version of android 2.x installed, that the majority of android tablets currently sold have a version of android 3.x installed, that most phone and tablets manufacturer have distributed lists of devises that they plan to be upgradedable soon to android 4.x but yet, after more then half a year since the release of ice cream sandwich, none of those updrades have been made available?
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  • I bought the HTC HD7 yesterday , and i wake up with this news ? How unlucky could i be ?
    tomorow news will be " No HD7 updates at all " :O
  • More FUD from Microsoft... color me surprised.

    Let me translate all that marketing PR babble for you:

    "No. WP7 phones are not going to get upgraded to WP8 (it's technically unfeasible, but there's no point explaining this in detail to your typical dumb consumer of electornic gadgets). Still, please do not stop purchasing WP7 phones. We need to grow our 'third ecosystem' and improve our measly single digit % market share."

    You are welcome.
  • I didn't buy my Samsung Focus S (Microsoft gave it too me free at an app building competition), but I really do hope I can upgrade it to Apollo.

    I love the WP7 interface so much more than that of my iPhone. I only use the WP7 as a dev phone and extra toy to play around with on Wifi because I am in the middle of my contract on Verizon and I'm NOT going to switch to AT&T, but come time to buy a new phone I sure hope there is a good WP8 phone on Verizon!