Windows Phone 7.8: There is Reason to Feel Disappointed
By on June 30th, 2012

Last week, at the Windows Phone Summit in San Francisco, Microsoft officials revealed some key features of the next version of Windows Phone, Windows Phone 8. Among other things, they noted that existing devices will not be able to upgrade to Windows Phone 8, and instead, all devices running Windows Phone 7.5 will get a free upgrade to Windows Phone 7.8.

Not much was revealed about Windows Phone 7.8 besides the fact that it will have the new Start Screen from Windows Phone 8. Of course, Microsoft and Nokia touted the fact that all the existing apps will continue to work on Windows Phone 7.8 and in fact, Nokia talked about updates to their Lumia apps as well as some new apps which will help in “keeping Windows Phone 7.8 fresh”.

However, as an early adopter of Windows Phone I feel disappointed that I won’t get much of the Windows Phone 8 goodness. I don’t feel cheated as such, because a good friend gave me his Lumia 800 and I am quite happy to wait for Windows Phone 8 devices, but I can imagine you feel so if you bought the HTC TITAN II last month at a subsidized price of $199. You are not only locked into a 2-year contract but in 6 months your phone will be far behind most of the devices in the market.

Most of the reasons why existing devices won’t be upgraded are well understood – new features need better hardware, some features cannot be supported without new chips (NFC, for example), engineering costs of making stuff work on older devices is way too much compared to the shelf lives of these devices and the total volume of these devices on the market – but it is not the early adopters’ fault that Microsoft felt the need to do a reset #2 just two years after their reset #1 from Windows Mobile 6.x to Windows Phone 7.

I understand that consumer-facing features in Windows Phone 8 have not been revealed yet, and Microsoft may have more up their sleeves in terms of additions to Windows Phone 7.8, but if we go by what has been revealed yet, it is highly disappointing. Add the fact that apps built for Windows Phone 8 won’t work for Windows Phone 7.8 and you see that either developers will build cool apps which Windows Phone 7.8 users won’t be able to run, or apps will be built for Windows Phone 7.8 and Windows Phone 8 hardware will end up being under-utilized. A terrible lose-lose situation.

I sure hope the only features of Windows Phone 8 that don’t make it to Windows Phone 7.8 are the ones totally dependent on hardware, like NFC and of course, the new core. Things like IE 10 and Wallet (without the NFC-related features) have absolutely no reason not to be available to Windows Phone 7.8.

One thing is certain – Microsoft has burned me (and many other early adopters, I am sure). I am not going to be an early adopter of Windows Phone 8 devices, despite the assurances given that another re-imagination won’t happen anytime soon.

What are your thoughts regarding Windows Phone 7.8? Are you ok with what has been said so far? Do you care about receiving the latest updates?

 

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Author: Romit Mehta Google Profile for Romit Mehta
Romit writes about mobile news and gadgets, and is currently a Windows Phone owner (Nokia Lumia 920). Find him on twitter @TheRomit. Personal site is http://romitmehta.com.

Romit Mehta has written and can be contacted at romit@techie-buzz.com.
  • sunco

    I’m happy with my WP first generation, but as developer, it would be nice if Microsoft give to us new tools, i mean, from the beginning i want to create an App that hangs a call, with a permission, just like the GPS feature does. Or what about ability to detect some WiFi networks and connect to it. Non-developer features like auto-answer a SMS, or not to turn Off WiFi when screen goes off. Etc etc

  • Bob

    Umm… Everyone should have saw it coming and planned accordingly. I bought my Lumia 900 without a contract because I didn’t want a contact in the way of changing my phone and/or carrier. The people that don’t follow this stuff just bought a Windows Phone 7 phone won’t realize Windows Phone 8 is out until they’re probably a year through their contract, so no biggie.
    This is the same problem everyone is going to have, no matter what tech you’re buying. Laptops, tablets, and phone last a couples or more, but new and better devices come out all the time. No matter what you buy, it can only be the best for a few months, before the next best thing is announced. It really is nothing new.
    The base Windows Phone 7 architecture will be roughly 2 years old before Windows Phone 8 is available, that’s not a bad window in the phone world (especially, when you can’t put in a new video card, memory or CPU). Remember, It’s a phone not a PC.
    If you want a Windows Phone 8 phone, wait and buy one in the fall. Just remember that next year in January at CES, they’ll announce new phones that’ll make your phone seem old then too. So enjoy having the latest and best phone for a few months, but remember that it won’t last long (and that’s the same for any phone or manufacturer).
    Go buy an iPhone if progress and innovation hurts your feelings. iAgingHippies are still stuck with 3G, a small screen that breaks if you look at it sideways, and no NFC support. But they can cram iOS 5 on a 3gs (although it runs horribly). Let’s see what happens with iOS 6.

    • TheRomit

      Good points, Bob. However, at least in the US, you get cheap phones only if you sign a 2-year contract. Someone who bought a 900 last month is now going to have to wait for about 1.5 years before they can get their hands on the WP8 goodness. Unless, there are more consumer features coming to 7.8 that have not been announced yet (quite possible, actually).

 
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