Microsoft vows Windows Phone 8 will be upgradeable
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) pledged Windows Phone 8 smartphone owners will be able to update their devices to future versions of the mobile operating system, avoiding the fate that befell previous Windows Phone users.
"We're going to have an upgrade path going forward," Microsoft Senior Marketing Manager Greg Sullivan told PCMag.com.
Microsoft released Windows Phone 8 in late 2012. Because features and applications optimized for Windows Phone 8 smartphones are not backwards-compatible with devices running Windows Phone 7.5 and below, Microsoft built Windows Phone 7.8, a stopgap OS release that brings WP8-like experiences to older handsets. Windows Phone 7.8 began rolling out last month.
Sullivan said Windows Phone 8 is flexible enough to adopt new hardware components, while previous iterations were locked into prescribed specifications. "Windows Phone 8 can evolve. We have an architecture that enables portability and is fundamentally hardware independent," he said. "As the market evolves and customer requirements demand it, we'll evaluate options."
Sullivan did not make any formal announcements about Windows Phone 8's future, noting that the current version is only a few months old and still in the middle of its product cycle. "Over the course of the next several months, I wouldn't be surprised to see some exciting new devices and more interoperability before we start talking about what [operating system] is next," he said. Sullivan also declined to comment on rumors that the next version is codenamed "Windows Phone Blue."
The Windows Phone platform has struggled to make inroads with consumers: Research firm comScore reports Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS combined to dominate 89.7 percent of the U.S. smartphone market in the final weeks of 2012, with Windows Phone far behind at just 2.9 percent, trailing even the fading BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) OS at 6.4 percent.
Sullivan nevertheless contended that Windows Phone is still in a stronger position than the new BlackBerry 10 or Mozilla's forthcoming Firefox OS because "it's part of an ecosystem," explaining that while BlackBerry has some leverage in the enterprise sector, it lacks integration with core Microsoft services like XBox and Office. In addition, Sullivan said Firefox OS lacks both a "great user experience" and an overall ecosystem.
- read this PCMag.com article
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