It’s safe to say that many early adopters of Windows Phone weren’t best pleased when Microsoft revealed that the newest iteration of their mobile OS: Windows Phone 8, wouldn’t be compatible with older generations of the same platform. Well, it looks as though history could repeat itself come the second half of next year if they have anything to say about it.
Following the wave of anger throughout Windows Phone 7 users last time around, Microsoft are looking to better publicise the life cycle of each iterative OS release. Presently, older Windows Phone 7-based handsets are now receiving, or have already received updates to Windows Phone 7.8; a stop gap, designed to try and keep longer standing users sweet and within the Windows Phone ecosystem. With a new table recently drafted on the Microsoft website, we now learn that 7.8’s days are numbered with mainstream support set to end on the 9th of September next year.
The news doesn’t end there however as the newer Windows Phone 8 is on track to end it’s lifetime even sooner on the 7th of August, 2014. So what does this mean? Although the company say that these dates can fluctuate from region to region, they’re highlighting what looks to be the life cycle strategy for the OS going forward, with 18 month stints for each major release.
Unlike say iOS which sees support for around two generations of older iPhones, with diminishing functionality in each annual release, it’s not clear as to whether the previous 18 months worth of Windows Phones will see the ability to upgrade or simply be left to fizzle out with another WP 7.8 equivalent. This strategy would force users to upgrade for the latest software features, ensuring that Microsoft and hardware manufacturers would have solid revenue, that is of course based on loyal customers from a customer based which we don’t think Microsoft have to toy with.