Not that we were doubting it in the first place, but Microsoft has once again confirmed Windows Phone 8 will be upgradeable to Windows Phone 8.1.

steve ballmer windows phone 8 301012 Windows Phone 8 is upgradeable to 8.1, says Microsoft

Windows Phone 7 users were left in the lurch when Microsoft announced that they wouldn’t be able to upgrade to Windows Phone 8, and some have wondered if that might be the case for WP8 users when 8.1 (or 9) comes along. However, according to a Microsoft official, that won’t be the case, meaning phones running on Windows Phone 8 will be able to upgrade to the updated version of the OS.

“We will not have the same experience as we had when Windows Phone 7 was upgraded to Windows Phone 8,” said Greg Sullivan, Windows Phone director of public relations at Microsoft, speaking to Computerworld at CES. “We won’t run out of head space on Windows Phone 8 any time soon.”

This isn’t surprising, since the incompatibility between Windows 7 and 8 was due to a shift to a new kernel (Windows CE to Windows NT). Windows Phone 8.1 (or likely Windows Phone 9) won’t see such a major change in its core, meaning current handsets would be compatible with updated versions of the OS for the foreseeable future.

As usual, the ability to upgrade doesn’t mean all Windows Phone 8 handsets will be updated to 8.1, as it will be dependent on manufacturers and carriers whether they wish to upgrade an existing device or not (only flaghships will be eligible, most likely.) But an upgrade path will certainly be available, and we should find out which handsets will be making the jump around the same time Microsoft announces Windows Phone 8.1.