Here's why current WP phones won't get Windows Phone 8

26 June, 2012

Microsoft caused a lot of excitement when they announced Windows Phone 8, but also a good deal of disappointment when it became clear that the new OS won't be coming to the current crop of Windows Phone devices.

There's a reason for that - the two OSes may look similar on the outside, but they are vastly different on the inside. The new core that enables so many cool features (multiple CPU cores, better graphics) is shared with Windows 8 RT (based on Windows NT) and not Windows Phone 7 (based on Windows CE, same as Windows Mobile).

Microsoft’s senior marketing manager for Windows Phone, Greg Sullivan, says that it's not impossible to port WP8 on older devices, but the cost of doing that would be very high and the benefit very little - WP8 enables multi-core support, higher resolution screens, NFC, microSD card support and so on, none of which will make a difference on the legacy hardware.

What they are getting (as part of the Windows Phone 7.8 update) is the new start screen - it's the most noticeable change in the OS and will actually benefit the current Windows Phone smartphones.

Users who move to the new version of the OS will get to keep using their Windows Phone 7 apps as those will work on WP8. There's no backwards compatibility for the newly developed WP8 apps though and there's nothing that can be done about it - for example, the Adreno 205 just won't cut it for games intended for a Snapdragon S4 (which packs an Adreno 225 or 305).



Reader comments

  • Anonymous
  • 18 Jul 2012
  • U{r

In this case, I think Microsoft is helpless. The reason is that Windows 8 and Windows 7.5 are far way different. Most of the cons in Windows phone 7.5 are healed in Windows 8. Still they are providing 7.8 update..

  • Laughing and WP
  • 29 Jun 2012
  • q3j

LOL! Another fail for Microsoft and WP. So glad I went with Android and don't have to deal with this garbage.

  • business fail
  • 28 Jun 2012
  • 3xC

one more legendary cock up from microsoft how can they treat their customers like that? WP7.5 users were all left with relatively new hardware that can't be upgraded with new software. Do they actually do any sort of long term planning or do they sim...

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