Okay, So Is Not Having An Upgrade Path To Windows Phone 8 That Dire In The Long Run?

As a break from the controversy surrounding Windows 8, let’s take another look at the issues surrounding Windows Phone 8, instead. I recently wrote an article about how not having an upgrade path to Windows Phone 8 could potentially be a major disservice to both consumers and Microsoft, itself. At the risk of being a hypocrite, let’s switch views for a second.

Let’s take a look at a few reasons why not offering an upgrade path isn’t that bad of an idea, also, why it might not hurt them as much as we think.

Recently, Paul Thurrott let us know that an upgrade isn’t happening. This is a man who generally has 100% trusted information, so I’d say he is more than likely correct. His reasons for why Microsoft aren’t going down that route also make sense.

Windows Phone 8 is going to be based around Windows 8, not CE, from the sounds of it. It will also require much more powerful technology. While it might be possible for a Windows Phone 7.5 device to run the new OS, it would do it poorly and could further create fragmentation. Other reasons he mentioned include lack of users currently owning Windows Phone 7.x devices. Why support a legacy device if their isn’t that much user base?

While putting a divider up between Apollo and Mango devices is creating a sort of fragmentation, it is an easier to understand barrier than what happens on the Google front. With Android you can have two devices that run the same version of the OS, yet one device is really weak and doesn’t run half the apps you are interested in.

With Apollo and Mango, the lines on what can and can’t run would probably be a lot clearer. Sure, there would be fragmentation, but it would be more controlled than with Google.

Even Apple has a little fragmentation, it’s hard to avoid completely.

If I bought a new Lumia phone and found out that it wasn’t supported by the next OS would I be mad? Yes and no. I clearly bought the phone because I like the way it looks, the features, and the current OS. If Microsoft continues to properly support the device with great apps and minor updates, I see no reason it’s the total end of the world. To help reduce the sting, it would probably be wise

If Nokia/Microsoft offered a special rebate/coupon/etc that gave users X amount of credit towards getting a new phone. If I could buy a Lumia now but receive a credit towards a new phone in another 6-12 months for $50-100 off? Yah, the might interest me. Having new hardware and software is better than just a software update, any day.

This isn’t going to make a huge difference in the long run, as the Xbox proves. The Xbox did fairly well in the gaming market, but never truly had the big numbers of users. In 2005, three months before the release of the Xbox 360, Microsoft stopped producing the original Xbox altogether.

Most gaming projects were halted and moved to the 360. Basically the support for the last 6 months of the Xbox’s life was spotty at best. I had bought an Xbox shortly before this happened, about 7 months before the 360 came out.

I remember being annoyed by the total drop of games, and when the 360 hit stores, the Xbox disappeared completely, nearly overnight. Still, a few years later? I owned and loved my Xbox 360. I wasn’t an early 360 adopter, because I was stung by the abandonment. Luckily, there were many users who never had purchased an Xbox, or did so when it first arrived in 2002, that did. I came around, despite the wounds.

The same will likely happen for Windows Phone 8. I also think it will be easier to support great bridge features between Phone 8 and Windows 8 if the right hardware is in place, and not a bunch of older legacy hardware.

That being said, I took a look at a few reasons why it might not turn out so dire if Windows Phone 8 doesn’t offer an upgrade. Do I totally agree? I’m still mixed, my earlier article about how it could hurt things is also a possible option for how things will turn out.

What do you think? Will not having an upgrade path really be the dire for MS in the long run?

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  • techblogger

    I remain confident that Thorrott is wrong here…at least where these second gen phones are concerned. Having said that, even if I am not upgraded, I’ll still be ok. Bottom line for me is that my app purchases will still work, my phone remain fast, and that future apps still run on my Lumia 900. I’m living within the Microsoft Ecosystem. That supersedes everything else for me and I’m sure countless others.