That thing about upgrading current Windows Phones to Windows Phone 8, continued…

By Kip Kniskern | In Mobile | Posted April 28, 2012 36 comments

burning-questionsIt’s the burning question of our time: will current Windows Phones be upgradeable to Windows Phone 8, or not?  Ever since WMPowerUser republished a Zwame.pt interview with a Portuguese Microsoft evangelist saying that “all actual devices will get upgrade to the next major version of Windows Phone (we´re talking about Apollo)”, we’ve been caught up in a maelstrom of “will it or won’t it upgrade?”.

While the evangelist in question, Nuno Silva, quickly retracted his statement, saying that he was talking about apps and not the OS upgrade, the waters have continued to be muddied by a variety of hints, tweets, claims, and counter claims.  What Silva did say, and what has remained true, at least coming from Microsoft, is that:

While we have given Windows Phone developers this preliminary guidance on app compatibility to help them with long term project planning, Microsoft does not have any further news to share on future products at this time.

On the “no upgrade” side of the battle, The Verge, Paul Thurrott, and Mary Jo Foley have all said that they are hearing from their sources that there will indeed be no upgrade path from Windows Phone 7.5 devices to Windows Phone 8.

But there have also been a number of recent indications that the opposite may be true, at least for some devices, Nokia among them.

On April 15th, Nokia India hinted, at least, that the Nokia 800 might be upgradeable:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/NokiaIndia/status/191433616365068289″]

Then, on April 20th, Nokia evangelist and developer from Spain, @joaoluisc, tweeted that the Nokia Lumia 610, 710, 800, and 900 are “getting #WP8”, and that the info was coming “From a confidential insider source that I trust 200%”.

WMPowerUser also reported a tip and asked if it’s possible that “today’s high end WP7 handsets become tomorrow’s low-end WP8 phones”:

Our tipster have apparently spoken to HTC and Nokia reps in South Africa, and have been told they will not be launching the HTC Titan or Nokia Lumia 900 handsets officially in the country until Windows Phone 8 becomes available, at which point they will come pre-loaded with the OS.

Another set of tweets, this time from Nokia Saudi Arabia, also seemed to indicate that current Nokia devices were in line for Windows Phone 8, again according to WMPowerUser, on April 27th:

Nokia Saudi Arabia was asked about the arrival of the Nokia Lumia 900.

They responded that the Nokia Lumia 900 will be available in October with the Windows Phone 8 update and with 100% Arabic support.

So while Microsoft isn’t officially saying anything, but apparently unofficially saying “no upgrade”, there’s at least some indication coming from various Twitter sources that at least some phones might be upgradeable.

So which way to lean?  While we’re not sure that all current Windows Phone devices could or should be upgraded, it seems like the second generation phones, especially the ones with front facing cameras (almost a necessity for Skype) could be upgrade targets.  While the carriers may not want to upgrade any phone, ever, certainly Nokia will be pushing hard for making its customer base happy.  Since the newer Mango phones will have a year or more left on their contracts, Nokia owners won’t like being left out in the cold after buying a Nokia 900, say, only months before Apollo comes out.

What do you believe?  Will all Windows Phones become Apollo Phones?  Will only the latest versions be upgradeable?  Or will Microsoft, Nokia, and the carriers leave current Windows Phone users out in the cold?

Posted April 28th, 2012 at 8:13 pm
  • Geoffery Mansfield

    It’s rather disastrous to have a new Windows Phone that gets no upgrade to Windows Phone 8 Apollo later this year.

    The reason is because it is a new OS. A new platform. App development in the future will migrate from Silverlight to WinRT. There won’t be much development of apps for the current WP7 phones.

    With WP8 Apollo phones coming in October, it’s probably better to wait (avoid the current Windows Phones).

  • Geoffery Mansfield

    It’s rather disastrous to have a new Windows Phone that gets no upgrade to Windows Phone 8 Apollo later this year.

    The reason is because it is a new OS. A new platform. App development in the future will migrate from Silverlight to WinRT. There won’t be much development of apps for the current WP7 phones.

    With WP8 Apollo phones coming in October, it’s probably better to wait (avoid the current Windows Phones).

  • http://www.facebook.com/robinvanveghel Robin van Veghel

    I Think it would be stupid if the 2nd gen Nokia phones (lumia 610 / 710 / 900) wouldn’t get the upgrade, cause they came out like a few months ago.

    I just bought myself a Nokia Lumia 710 and im loving it and its super fast, so im hoping that it will be a upgrade update for the phone.

    Although it doesn’t have a front facing camara, im not using skype on the phone, skype on the phone is good to just text with eachother. Prefer to cam on a desktop/laptop :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/robinvanveghel Robin van Veghel

    I Think it would be stupid if the 2nd gen Nokia phones (lumia 610 / 710 / 900) wouldn’t get the upgrade, cause they came out like a few months ago.

    I just bought myself a Nokia Lumia 710 and im loving it and its super fast, so im hoping that it will be a upgrade update for the phone.

    Although it doesn’t have a front facing camara, im not using skype on the phone, skype on the phone is good to just text with eachother. Prefer to cam on a desktop/laptop :)

  • http://twitter.com/RussEby RussEby

    I think it’s not just about if they can be upgraded but if all companies involved want to do the work to get it to be upgraded. The carriers need to handle the bricked phones that occur with updates (as well as the minor testing that needs to be done). Handset makers need to have drivers ready. Also there is a difference in preloaded and upgraded. With upgrading, data must be saved. Is there enough room to allow upgrading with data in place? If a ROM was made available to just flash the phone (but this would clear the data off the phone), it would be easy to upgrade all the WP7 phones to WP8. But can it be done safely? I wish Microsoft and Handset makers would give the option. Release a package that would push WP8 onto the phone. Yeah, it would clear data but as long as it was made clear that the phone would be a clean slate I don’t think anyone would care.

  • Russ

    I think it’s not just about if they can be upgraded but if all companies involved want to do the work to get it to be upgraded. The carriers need to handle the bricked phones that occur with updates (as well as the minor testing that needs to be done). Handset makers need to have drivers ready. Also there is a difference in preloaded and upgraded. With upgrading, data must be saved. Is there enough room to allow upgrading with data in place? If a ROM was made available to just flash the phone (but this would clear the data off the phone), it would be easy to upgrade all the WP7 phones to WP8. But can it be done safely? I wish Microsoft and Handset makers would give the option. Release a package that would push WP8 onto the phone. Yeah, it would clear data but as long as it was made clear that the phone would be a clean slate I don’t think anyone would care.

  • Brandon

    I think the tell-tale sign will be if Microsoft does a developer beta program with Apollo like they did with mango. If they do, then it stands to reason that there will be an upgrade path, since (presumably) no devs will have Apollo hardware. If they don’t, and Apollo is as major as mango was, which by all accounts it is, then that says it right there.

  • Brandon

    I think the tell-tale sign will be if Microsoft does a developer beta program with Apollo like they did with mango. If they do, then it stands to reason that there will be an upgrade path, since (presumably) no devs will have Apollo hardware. If they don’t, and Apollo is as major as mango was, which by all accounts it is, then that says it right there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/reportered Ed West

    Let’s hope Microsoft don’t get this wrong, they must provide an upgrade at lease to the current line-up of phones otherwise their sales will just stop in a couple of months and may never recover.

  • Ed West

    Let’s hope Microsoft don’t get this wrong, they must provide an upgrade at lease to the current line-up of phones otherwise their sales will just stop in a couple of months and may never recover.

  • Mario Albertico

    I imagine Microsoft would be open to the idea of an upgrade path if phone manufacturers are fully devoted to the task as well–Nokia, with its seemingly keen interest in nurturing a strong loyalty from its recent customers, might very well want to work with Microsoft and AT&T to deliver WP8 to newer Lumias. The main point being, as you brought up, Kip, the contract cycle and customers practically unable to purchase new phones anyway.

  • Mario Albertico

    I imagine Microsoft would be open to the idea of an upgrade path if phone manufacturers are fully devoted to the task as well–Nokia, with its seemingly keen interest in nurturing a strong loyalty from its recent customers, might very well want to work with Microsoft and AT&T to deliver WP8 to newer Lumias. The main point being, as you brought up, Kip, the contract cycle and customers practically unable to purchase new phones anyway.

  • Anon2446

    My guess is that an upgrade is technically possible but MS are in negotiation with phone vendors / carriers (who probably don’t want to offer an upgrade – Nokia aside). They will be trying to get MS to sweeten the deal (incentives, etc.) – basically paying them to do it.

  • Anon2446

    My guess is that an upgrade is technically possible but MS are in negotiation with phone vendors / carriers (who probably don’t want to offer an upgrade – Nokia aside). They will be trying to get MS to sweeten the deal (incentives, etc.) – basically paying them to do it.

  • the andyman

    The issue here is ambiguity of the term “upgrade” – no doubt a lot of Windows Phone devices out there today could run Apollo and hence will be able to “come pre-loaded with the OS” when it is out, but I doubt that there will be a clear upgrade path from 7.5 to 8, especially if architecturally WP8 is a lot more like Win8.

    Devices might support it in terms of hardware requirements but I imagine it would have to be a fresh install without keeping any existing customisations, user data or installed apps, which would also suggest carriers and even MS would be reluctant to ship it out to existing users.

    Let’s not forget that iPhone users with the oldest devices can’t upgrade to the latest versions of iOS, not to mention the fragmentation of Android upgrades. If WP8 is quite different to WP7 then I see no reason why an upgrade *should* even be offered.

    • http://about.me/lapsrj Leandro

      The need of a clean upgrade isn’t a problem. While installing WP8, zune could copy the user files and preferences to the pc, format the phone, install the WP8 and put the files back. As users don’t have access to the file system, Microsoft knows exactly where the files will be.

    • http://jvd897.blogspot.com jvd897

       Yeah, it does seem that this article mixed up two different potential uses of the word “upgrade”: even if current models of WP7 phones are to be reimaged and sold as WP8 phones, that doesn’t mean that end users will be able to perform an upgrade themselves.

      • http://www.LiveSide.net Kip Kniskern – LiveSide.net

        I agree, it may be one thing to sell older handsets with WP8 installed, and quite another to “upgrade” an in-use phone.  It is interesting, however, that the Nokia India tweet: “we continually provide updates on our devices across our portfolio” seems to hint at the latter. 
        If Mango era hardware can run Windows Phone 8, diehard fans will probably be able to “upgrade” whether it’s officially sanctioned or not, if they know where to look ;).

        • http://jvd897.blogspot.com jvd897

          True, I can definitely see the enthusiast community taking this up as a challenge! But you’re right, that is an interesting quote from Nokia. I have to wonder what the support (updates, etc.) will be like for 7.5 once 8 is out.

    • Larry

      Are you serious when talking about iOS?  The only thing that stops an iOS upgrade is hardware being to old to support the OS to the customer satisfaction standards of Apple.

      I do believe that the 3GS supports the latest version, which is a 2.5 year old model.

      Flat out if Microsoft does not provide an upgrade to any phone running Mango, Windows Phone will die.

  • the andyman

    The issue here is ambiguity of the term “upgrade” – no doubt a lot of Windows Phone devices out there today could run Apollo and hence will be able to “come pre-loaded with the OS” when it is out, but I doubt that there will be a clear upgrade path from 7.5 to 8, especially if architecturally WP8 is a lot more like Win8.

    Devices might support it in terms of hardware requirements but I imagine it would have to be a fresh install without keeping any existing customisations, user data or installed apps, which would also suggest carriers and even MS would be reluctant to ship it out to existing users.

    Let’s not forget that iPhone users with the oldest devices can’t upgrade to the latest versions of iOS, not to mention the fragmentation of Android upgrades. If WP8 is quite different to WP7 then I see no reason why an upgrade *should* even be offered.

    • http://about.me/lapsrj Leandro

      The need of a clean upgrade isn’t a problem. While installing WP8, zune could copy the user files and preferences to the pc, format the phone, install the WP8 and put the files back. As users don’t have access to the file system, Microsoft knows exactly where the files will be.

    • jvd897

       Yeah, it does seem that this article mixed up two different potential uses of the word “upgrade”: even if current models of WP7 phones are to be reimaged and sold as WP8 phones, that doesn’t mean that end users will be able to perform an upgrade themselves.

      • http://www.LiveSide.net Kip Kniskern – LiveSide.net

        I agree, it may be one thing to sell older handsets with WP8 installed, and quite another to “upgrade” an in-use phone.  It is interesting, however, that the Nokia India tweet: “we continually provide updates on our devices across our portfolio” seems to hint at the latter. 
        If Mango era hardware can run Windows Phone 8, diehard fans will probably be able to “upgrade” whether it’s officially sanctioned or not, if they know where to look ;).

        • jvd897

          True, I can definitely see the enthusiast community taking this up as a challenge! But you’re right, that is an interesting quote from Nokia. I have to wonder what the support (updates, etc.) will be like for 7.5 once 8 is out.

    • Larry

      Are you serious when talking about iOS?  The only thing that stops an iOS upgrade is hardware being to old to support the OS to the customer satisfaction standards of Apple.

      I do believe that the 3GS supports the latest version, which is a 2.5 year old model.

      Flat out if Microsoft does not provide an upgrade to any phone running Mango, Windows Phone will die.

  • Rustam Sydykov

    Hello,

    If Nokia/MS provide upgrades of current Lumia phones to WinPhone 8, that will be the wisest move for Nokia! I haven’t used Lumia phone yet (though pre-ordered 900), but I know that people are happy with their Lumia phones and having them upgraded to next version of Windows Phone will allow Nokia/MS to build a very grateful and substantial fans base. It will eliminate any talks with Apple/Android lovers in terms of: “Will you phone get upgrade?” :)
    I will be very surprised if mobile operators object to upgrade Windows phones. First, Apple does it. I understand that Apple has a “weight” to bend any operator, but I am pretty sure that if Nokia/MS releases upgrade and makes sure that everyone knows about it, customers of these mobile operators will make enough fuss to force these operators to listen.

    Cheers,
    Rustam.

  • http://profiles.google.com/rsadykoff Rustam Sydykov

    Hello,

    If Nokia/MS provide upgrades of current Lumia phones to WinPhone 8, that will be the wisest move for Nokia! I haven’t used Lumia phone yet (though pre-ordered 900), but I know that people are happy with their Lumia phones and having them upgraded to next version of Windows Phone will allow Nokia/MS to build a very grateful and substantial fans base. It will eliminate any talks with Apple/Android lovers in terms of: “Will you phone get upgrade?” :)
    I will be very surprised if mobile operators object to upgrade Windows phones. First, Apple does it. I understand that Apple has a “weight” to bend any operator, but I am pretty sure that if Nokia/MS releases upgrade and makes sure that everyone knows about it, customers of these mobile operators will make enough fuss to force these operators to listen.

    Cheers,
    Rustam.

  • Eric

    I just have to chime in with some dippy assumptions, wild speculation, restatements of the obvious, and redundant commentary… eh, looks like even the redundant commentary is already overdone. Nevermind.

  • Eric

    I just have to chime in with some dippy assumptions, wild speculation, restatements of the obvious, and redundant commentary… eh, looks like even the redundant commentary is already overdone. Nevermind.

  • Stefanfo

    Could someone please answer me what we will be missing if we don’t get an upgrade? Which feature?
    If already the phone is good with 7.5, why would we really really want/need 8?

  • http://www.facebook.com/stefan.nordendal Stefan Nordendal

    Could someone please answer me what we will be missing if we don’t get an upgrade? Which feature?
    If already the phone is good with 7.5, why would we really really want/need 8?

  • http://twitter.com/rich_coleman Rich Coleman

    This is easily fixable if they allow Nokia 900 users buying the new Nokia 9xx windows phone an early upgrade with a two year plan again.  iphone does this all the time.

  • http://twitter.com/rich_coleman Rich Coleman

    This is easily fixable if they allow Nokia 900 users buying the new Nokia 9xx windows phone an early upgrade with a two year plan again.  iphone does this all the time.