Right about the same time I was writing my last blog post, Microsoft officially announced Windows Phone 8, the new version of their phone-only operating system. I kept half an eye on Engadget’s coverage of the announcement via their Twitter feed, and there was one announcement that caught my eye: Windows Phone 8 will not be available for current Windows Phone 7 devices. Instead, people with those devices will get Windows Phone 7.8. Windows Phone 7.8 will support a number of the new features from Windows Phone 8 like the new Start screen, but it will not run apps written for Windows Phone 8.
Again, this makes me wonder about whether they’re really learning the right lessons from Apple. Recently there has been a glut of commercials for the Nokia Lumia 900, Nokia’s flagship Windows Phone, stating that “the smartphone beta test is over”. The premise is that the Lumia 900 is the ultimate in smartphones. However, those who bought a Nokia Lumia 900 now get to learn that they won’t even be allowed to run the most recent version of Windows Phone. By comparison, the iPhone 3GS was released in 2009, and can still comfortably run the most recent version of iOS (5.1.1). More, the 3GS is a supported platform for iOS 6. If a nearly three year old iPhone can run the latest and greatest iOS version, why can’t a Windows Phone-based handset that was released two months ago get the latest and greatest version of Windows Phone?
Sorry, Nokia and Microsoft. It seems to me that you’ve still got quite a bit of beta testing to go.