[sc:mobile-category ]A while ago I wrote an article on the issue of hardware upgradability for WP7 devices, now’ the time to take a quick look back at it.
What we know now is that WP7 phones won’t be upgradable. Full stop. WP8 is going to be new hardware only. From my original article:
However if MS does go with the NT kernel (and in my opinion they should, they get all kinds of benefits like the standard driver model, true multitasking, etc.), then it seems unlikely any WP7 phones will be upgradeable as the amount of effort to create new drivers for the NT kernel would not have enough return on investment.
Which is spot on. It comes down to simple economics on this one, writing new drivers for hardware that you are never going to use again makes no sense.
So lets assume the worst case for a moment, no WP7 hardware will be upgradeable to WP8. First generation devices, like my HD7, will not be upgradeable, however they will have been out for over 2 years by the time WP8 ships. For most users this will be at the end of their contracts and they will be looking to upgrade to new hardware anyway.
My worst case scenario above has come true, but the mitigation for most users of first gen WP7 devices is easy, a few extra months with WP7.8 and they will be able to upgrade to new hardware and get WP8.
Where it gets ugly is for the people who just picked up their shiny new Titan II or Lumia 900, these users, if no upgrade is available, are likely going to be stuck with WP7.
Again, those that just purchased their phones are the ones hardest hit. But this is true any time you buy a new phone, there’s always something better coming along. Even with that though, a Titan II or Lumia 900 will still be a great phone for the majority of users until their contracts expire. The questions of application support will likely be the critical issue for these users and in general the apps that are available now will continue to be so. The new apps will continue to roll in for at least the next six months and more likely year or more as it will take a while for WP8 to get similar market share to WP7.
But when I say “stuck”, perhaps “stick” would be a better term. Let’s face it, WP7 is great and no matter what WP8 is, that won’t change.
This is still true, WP7 is GREAT. To make it better WP7.8 will at least bring the new start screen to WP7 devices and maybe more.
So yes, there may be some disappointment about when a user can upgrade to a WP8 device, but that is just life in the fast moving world of mobile phones.
This is true in all technology, just even more so these days in mobile.