by Jonathan Rothwell

[LINK] No Windows Phone 7 → 8 upgrade path: users to be offered WinPho 7.8 instead

On confirmation that first- and second-generation Windows Phone devices (including those on the market today, such as Nokia’s Lumia line) will not be upgradeable to Windows Phone 8, I was ready to write an angry, “this is pathetic, Microsoft—fuck you!” diatribe.

On the other hand, this seems like it could be an acceptable compromise.

Instead, they'll receive an update called Windows Phone 7.8. The only feature that Microsoft has confirmed will be included in the 7.8 update is the new Start screen with its full-width tiles and greater customization. However, company representatives left open the possibility that other Windows Phone 8 features might be included in the update.

What Microsoft sticks in the WP 7.8 update will be telling, to say the least. I’d be pleasantly surprised if the enhanced TellMe features were included (Apple’s reason for not supporting Siri on pre-iPhone 4S iOS devices is due to the microphone set-up and hardware-accelerated audio clean-up.) The new start screen will be a bonus, although its utility with no 7.5 applications able to use full-width tiles is questionable, to say the least.

If Microsoft bring most of WP8’s userland features (Nokia Maps, VOIP, the wallet1, et al) to WP7.8 then there will be, at least, some comfort for current Windows Phone users. I have a HTC Mozart with around a year left on my contract: a decent selection of WP8 features would make the wait until July next year acceptable for the most part.

On the other hand, if all that’s new is a few threadbare features and the new start screen, I would think very hard about buying or recommending another Windows Phone, because it would indicate in a nutshell that Microsoft don’t give a shit about their existing customers. And for the company that’s kept Windows XP alive for far longer than its shelf life, that’d be a great shame.

  1. Without NFC support, of course, which is a welcome addition to the new Windows Phone platform.