One big question upcoming with the expected holiday season release of Windows Phone 8, code named “Apollo”, is whether or not current devices, either “1st generation” (that is, those devices that shipped at or near the initial launch of Windows Phone, for example the Samsung Focus), or “2nd gen” (that is, post “Mango” devices like the Nokia Lumias) will be upgradeable.
Microsoft has publically said that most (“95%”) Windows Phone apps will run on Apollo, but has not said publically if older handsets will get the new OS. But this week a German Windows Phone enthusiast from WP7app.de, while attending the CeBIT conference in Hanover, Germany, and visiting a Microsoft booth, was able to get a “Microsoft Manager” to admit that older handsets will indeed be able to be updated. In an only slightly nonsensical Bing translation of the German post, he explains:
I got two pretty interesting answers to my question on a there present Manager of the stand it because would look like Apollo with the update to Windows phone 8.
On the one hand, yet no exact date for the update were called the staff, the objective is however end of 2012. On the other hand, second generation equipment will definitely (e.g. all Lumia phones, HTC TITAN and radar etc.) the update in "any form" first generation devices, very probably also get. It is however must assume that some new features hardware related, not on older devices will work. As an example, use the front camera in Skype was called here, which is not for all devices for understandable reasons. This is also evidence that Skye will be integrated into Windows phone 8 into the operating system.
A second “Manager” at the booth was not able to confirm the information, taking more of a company line and saying that “there is still no official information intended for the public”. Indeed we have to take this comment by an un-named booth exhibitor with the somewhat dubious title of “Manager” in a conference in Germany with a grain or 2 or 10 of salt.
But still, while we would welcome the opportunity to upgrade our 1st gen phone, of course it would not provide the latest and greatest in hardware, including front facing phones, better graphics, etc., etc. In fact we’re waiting anxiously for Apollo to ship with a new 3rd generation of phones, conveniently right when our 2 year contract with AT&T is up. Upgrading 2nd generation phones like the Nokia 800 and 900 does seem to make a lot of sense, especially as they will only be in the middle of their contract cycles, and as it would help to differentiate Windows Phones from the fragmented Android market.
What do you think, should Microsoft make sure that Apollo is as backwards compatible as possible?