Smartphones that use the Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system haven’t exactly made a dent in the market share enjoyed by iPhone and Android devices. And yet, Microsoft has refused to throw in the towel, hoping to entice new users with today’s introduction of Windows Phone 8. Alas, if you’re one of the few people who have been holding on to your Windows Phone for when the new OS came out, you’re out of luck.
At today’s big announcement, Microsoft confirmed that WP7 users would not be able to upgrade to WP8 but would be getting a separate upgrade to WP7.8, which will not run any future apps that are built specifically for WP8.
This is not good news for people who, for whatever reason, have decided to go down the WP7 route. Or the people who may not read tech news and have no idea about today’s announcement. Right now, you can still go on the AT&T website and buy new WP7 phones for upwards of $199 (with a two-year contract, of course).
One recent purchaser of a Nokia Lumia 900 fired off a letter to executives at Microsoft, Nokia and AT&T:
I just watched the Windows Phone 8 announcement and learned that the Lumia will not be upgradeable to WP8, it will more or less get a skin with the new live tiles and a few other features. This to me is the worse offense of all, I understand the Lumia doesn’t have the multicore and NFC built in so all three companies will say the hardware doesn’t support it, but at the end of the day unless one of you responds and convinces me to stay with Microsoft Windows Phone, Nokia Lumia or Att wireless I will just wash my hands of all three companies and move over to Verizon. I hear Google makes some nice LTE phones over there.
Nokia’s president and CEO Stephen Elop actually replied to the message, though he seemed to miss the point of the customer’s complaint.
“We have a lot of exciting capabilities coming as part of a pattern of updates for the existing Lumia products,” writes Elop. “This includes some of the most significant visual elements of WP8 – for example, the new start screen.”
That’s all well and good — for WP8 users. But not for people with brand new, obsolete WP7 phones.