Microsoft Windows operating systems (be it desktop or mobile versions) have always been upgradeable. Well, no longer for the upcoming Windows Mobile 7 OS.
At the recent Mobile World Congress, Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, has mentioned that the new Windows Mobile 7 Series phones will have certain minimum requirements. This means that current Windows Mobile 6.5 phone users will not be able to upgrade to the new mobile OS as the phone may not meet that requirements.
Even the newest and fastest Windows phones won’t be upgradable to Microsoft’s next-generation mobile operating system, Windows Phone 7 Series, when it lands later this year.
Natasha Kwan, general manager for Microsoft’s Mobile Communications Business in the Asia-Pacific region, told APC Mag that current phones running Windows Mobile 6.5 OS will receive incremental upgrades, but they can’t be upgraded to Windows Phone 7 Series because they don’t meet the hardware criteria that Microsoft has mandated for phones running the new OS.
That will inevitably lead to some buyers’ remorse for current Windows Mobile users, such as those who just bought the brand new HTC HD2. The HD2 meets most of the hardware criteria that Microsoft is mandating for Windows 7 Series phones: It includes a 1-GHz Qualcomm processor, a high-res capacitive touch display, a 5-megapixel camera and a 3.5-mm headphone jack. However, the phone is being ruled out because it has five buttons rather than the three buttons mandated for all Windows Phone 7 Series devices.
Microsoft last month introduced Windows Phone 7 Series at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. To address the issue of fragmentation — a complex hardware ecosystem that requires developers to code several versions of one app to sell on one platform for different types of phones — Microsoft is working more closely with manufacturing partners in the design process of their hardware. Microsoft has been vague about exactly what the required specifications would be for Windows 7 Series phones.
Long story short, the bad news is current Windows Mobile users won’t be able to upgrade to Windows Phone 7 Series. The good news is it appears Windows phone developers will be able to code apps for three different types of phones — as opposed to making apps for all sorts of different handsets from various manufacturers, like they had to do with Windows Mobile 6.5. Ideally, the new implementation of three standard chassis should spell out to easier development, and thus more Windows Phone 7 Series apps for users.