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Editorial - Windows Phone getting fragged

Fragmentation is the modern day Darwinism. Only the strong survive and technology is not above this rule. Every three months there is something, bigger, badder, better. There is no doubt in any ones mind that there is always something more amazing coming out when you buy a new phone. Back in the 1990's and early 2000's, when you bought a phone, you expected it just to work. Smartphones were called PDA's and they were like a mini computer. They were big, expensive, clunky and were complicated to learn for the average consumer. Then the iPhone was born and took the world by fire.

After the iPhone, there was Android with their unshackled operating system. There were many promises with both operating systems that there would be improvements with hardware, software, and how you would interact with their devices. No one thought they would have to buy a new phone every two years to take advantage of the newer software and hardware.

The older generation of cell phone owners keep their phones for as many years as they can. They will duct tape, glue, rubber band, their phone together because they feel they shouldn't have to buy a new phone. It should just work forever.

We can all agree, technology moves at a fast pace. Currently Android has five versions running ( Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich, Donut) in the market. with Jelly Bean just announced. The iPhone has about 3 versions of its operating system, and Windows Phone also has 3 (NoDo, Mango, Tango) which are hardware independent.

The current generation of Smartphone users are use to the 2 year cycle and getting new hardware and software at the end of their contracts. Even newer smartphone users that get their phones in 2012 always want the next big thing now!  

They don't want to wait 2 years for a new phone, because when they see what they missed out on, they get upset and sometimes cancel their accounts and start a new contract with another carrier, just to get the newest phone.

Android and Apple started the fragmentation game and we are all playing by its rules. Microsoft recently announced that current Windows Phone will not get Windows Phone 8, but will get a version of it called 7.8. Twitter users reacted with outrage because Windows Phone was the last OS that kept everyone phone current with updates. Microsoft delivered the Mango update to 100% of eligible phones last year. It is safe to say that every Windows Phone is running the current software. For most people this was a great change. No more fragmentation for a platform.

At the Windows Phone Developer Summit, Microsoft announced that with Windows Phone 8, there will be a change for hardware. This leap in technology is giving the platform, NFC support, dual core processors, higher resolution displays, and removable SD card support. The current Windows Phones hardware doesn't have any of these new specs. In order to give customers what they want, there had to be a change. It created fragmentation, but Microsoft is completely upfront about these changes.

Unlike Android or iOS, where you have to read the fine print, or scour the internet looking for clues to what devices will receive the latest software. Microsoft is being honest and telling their customers why this is happening. I can empathize with people who just bought Lumia 900's or the Titan 2, but a large amount of regular users never ask about updates. They see the phone, love how it works, and are satisfied with what they have now.

WP Central

With greater hardware comes, greater responsibility, and that is exactly what Microsoft is doing when they said that "Windows 8 devices will be supported up to 18 months of release".  Microsoft is being forthright with its community and telling them their update life cycle of each device.

At the end of the day, fragmentation is Darwinism at it's finest, because we all want the best of the best.

Windows Phone is giving us what we want, so no hard feelings, because you know up front what Microsoft is bringing to the table, can Android or Apple say the same? I think not.

  • Their timing was horrible though. 2 months after "the beta test was over", we find ourselves to have been the real beta testers. I understand why but I wish they had not released the 900 so close to the summit. Makes me feel like I wasted my upgrade and money.
  • If you phone does what you brought it for and works smoothly and consistantly what does it matter?  You never buy anything with the hope it might be upgradable, unless it's a known fact and I would question it then as well.
  • +1
  • That may have been the case in the past, but is not the case anymore.  Would you be upset if you could not apply updates to your (PC) computer?  Yet, when you have a computer that makes phone calls it is OK for companies to pigeon hole your hardware?  I have two contracts that just expired on 6/20...both of them WOULD have been used on a pair of Nokia 900s if they were getting W8P.  I can not give money to a device that is only relivent for 4 months.
  • I blame Nokia because they knew the under lying architecture of WP8 was going to change prior to releasing L8-900 hardware. However, Nokia has taken care of its customers and I'm happy with my L900 so I won't hesitate buying their next iteration of hardware of I like the design. I also knew Apollo was coming out and could be different, but I didn't have the patience to wait, so I bare some responsibility in this as well!
  • I renewed my contract but delayed my phone hardware upgrade until the fall because of lack of storage on the current line. So it should be 9-10 months thru my contract by the time I get my next WP
  • Why would you renew a contract without upgrading hardware? Was it to lock in a rate or something? Couldn't you just go month to month?
  • That was one good sales rep!
  • Well, I expect my Win7 PC to be kept up to date with fixes and patches but I don't necessarily expect it to be upgradeable to win8.
  • I'll never understand why people compare PCs to phones.
    You have a Windows 7 PC, Windows 8 comes out. They say it's designed for faster computers but, you still want it. You walk into best buy or go to and buy it. You install it on your computer, it may work but, it does not run with top perfformance. You can upgrade your computer, go back to Windows 7 or  just live with it.
    You can't do this with a phone. Windows Phone 7.5 Devices CANT run Windows Phone 8 because they dont make it for one. You can't go to the store and just buy WP8 OS to put on your phone.
    This does not even fit to compare these two....
  • This happens with PCs as well, also they are continuing to support windows phone 7 users via the 7.8 update. This evolution and it probably is never a good time to take a big evolutionary step but I am glad they are because the alternative is not to evolve or hold back those devices that are ready to evolve... Darwinism at it's best indeed...
  • Y is it relevant for 4 months? Who is putting that timing on your or the world? are u buying products just to say I have the newest and greatest or like sensible ppl, buy things because it works for them and the time at purchase did everything u need.
    4 = June to October, time between purchase and WP8 release.  I do not have to have the newest and greatest, but obviously want it...but the Nokia 900 is a value phone and a Contract has a $ value associated with it...using a contract is like spending a $200-$300 coupon...the 900 doesn't have enough over my Focus to warrant me using the Contract coupon.  To say you should ONLY live in the NOW and spend your money without a care to what will be in 4 months is asinine.  Sure, do that when you are buying a $2 burger, but not a $500 phone.
    If updates didn't matter, the companies wouldn't ever update ANYTHING.
  • Fraid that isn't the best example. In the 26 years that I have been a computer user, I have never been upset about not being able to upgrade my OS due to hardware limitations. Also, with a PC, there isn't the serious risk of bricking it if you attempted to upgrade it and something goes wrong. Wiping out the OS and establishing a new one would be similar to updating your BIOS on your PC. Only if absolutely necessary and you know what your doing. Think of the headlines if Microsoft attempted it and anything went wrong and the wp7 community were sitting with paperweights.
  • That was the point.  26 years without an issue, because there are no limitations forced onto you...Phones have been able to go through regular update processes for ~5 years and there are tons of issues all the time.
  • Well I don't think it's fragmentation, I mean come on all the old phones got mango. Granted people bought the Lumia 900 and the Titan but be honest was it expensive, I think not unless you bought it straight out. In my opinion Microsoft has to do this to move ahead. Apple is doing it now in a sense, and some of the features may not be supported on the old phones. I have a HTC HD7 and I news new phone , I don't want w8 oh my old phone.
  • But that's not fair to us who was already out of contract and itching for a new phone. You could've just not bought the phone.
  • Well thats your own fault tbh. You should have thought logically regarding that it is a new year; a new WP OS version is to be released; there is much speculation that current WP's will not be upgradeable, and that all that put together gives at least a single negative thought resulting in "I think I should wait til a conference/summit for WP8". You bought your phone for a reason because you love WP of was highly intrigued by it - or simply you love MS and its ever growing eco-system. If this is the case support what they are doing as it totally makes sense. You only have youself to blame if you got a 24 month contract this year. Also because you are viewing the WPCentral website I know you read WP news... so with all the speculation you should have known better!
  • You definitely misunderstood me. I have no regrets about buying my 900. I wanted buy my 900 close to launch date, knowing ATT always gives me an 18 month early upgrade, which is now set for Aug 2013. So I did not expect WP8, and know that I will be happy with my 900 until my next upgrade. I was simply trying to tell those individuals who claim that MS shouldn't release anything that they should have simply not bought the phone. Because it is unfair to us who wanted a phone.
  • Ok no prob - I aim this at those others then that decided to buy a new WP this year or very recently at least that feel pissed off by the new of WP8 :)
  • AMEN nailed it on the head. I'm ROFL LMFAO at all of these angry ppl. They need to get with the program and understand how the game works.
  • Too right! The company (MS) just wants to make it in this saturated mobile market but to compete it needs to be up-to-date with the latest trends. And MS needs support from all of us that love where its going with it innovation. So peeps should take a deep breath chill and if they really cant get over being foolish through buying a WP recently (especially when they are reading WP news etc) they can think of this as a learning curve for the future. BAM
  • What's foolish about getting a current-version phone? My contract is almost up and I'm enthusiastically considering a Focus 2 to replace my poor old Focus. It'll be snappier, have LTE, gyros, etc. and the same great 4" form as my beloved Focus with with my favorite OS. Sure, the WP8s will have things like NFC and DirectX but most things we will do with our phones don't require those things--it would be foolish for a developer to exclude the (still growing) base of WP7.5-->7.8 users by using those features unless they really add value. I think there's not much to worry about here. Like the article says, Microsoft is letting us know what's up, which is good. I just don't think that "better" coming up is going to make everybody regret having the great phones that they choose now.
  • And hopefully we'll all get the disappearance of the disappearing keyboard by the final updates. :)
  • You obviously didnt read my initial post. If your pissed off by the annoncement of WP8 and that current gen phones arent to be upgraded then that is foolish - read my first comment if you want to see my arguement to why.
  • Ah, I see your point now. With mobile devices it is foolish to assume that your device will be upgradable to or be supported by the next generation. It's nice when it happens though. :)
    As for continuing app development/updates in WP7, knowing now that WP8 apps aren't supported by WP7 at all, my main point stands: Microsoft told developers that WP7 apps will be supported by WP8. Unless an existing app needs NFC, etc. it's probably better to keep updating for the same OS for now. I see that as a good thing for current Windows Phone users.
  • <clicked wrong reply>
  • Friendly fire? LOL! All good. I feel the same way, man. But I'm done with these self entitled whiners. I'm going to move on with my life now.
  • Dude  life is NOT fair I bought a 900 knowing might not be FULLY upgradeable to W8P  You and I both had no firm knowledge that it would or would not be fully upgradeable.  You rolled the dice hoping that it would  be fully upgradeable  It did not happen.  NOTHING you do or say can change that fact.  Whining about it the situation wont change anything.  I have moved past it and am saviung my money for a windows 8  phone  for the first part of next year. 
  • Hold your fire! Read my reply to Jay above!
  • Calling anyone with a current windows phone a beta tester is ridiculous. That's like saying I bought a car in 2011 and in 2012 they released a new model with better gas mileage and nicer seats. I don't have those on my 2011 so I must be a beta tester!!!
    Seriously... It's just stupid. You are not a beta tester you just bought a current model that will obviously someday be replaced.
  • The term "beta testers" is mainly used by the end user to communicate the feeling of being used to develop what could have been considered an "infant" OS to its obvious and expected advancement, Apollo has been talked about as much as if not more than Mango, so yes MS gave it to without Vaseline, but they did let us know bigger and better was coming!
  • You got it for free, quiet down.
  • If they would've wait until WP8. You would've been screaming what taking them so long. They're going to be late to market.
  • I agree with you. Specially bc they advertised the lumia 900 as a replacement to those tired of iPhone or Android OS & to find out the phone they just bought will not get a full update. At least with android you could flash different ROMs. I change phone like every 4months but there are many out there that do want there phones for at least a year hoping there phone is not outdated. Android phones from last year on dual cores with lates ics that's a better promise than what Nokia & MS did with the lumia 900 to new customers that made the switch to windows phone.
  • How do you feel you wasted your money & upgrade? Did you get your WP7 Nokia amazing phone? Yes and you have will have 7.8 shortly and will continued to be amazed how awesome that why is. ^_^
  • I have an HTC Trophy, and it does everything I need it to do. They only thing id by a WP8 for would be the removable memory. Wish I had that now. I know all those features are cool but how many (average) people will actually use them. My phone now can keep up with current phones and it's two years old. Which I'm fine with. Not feature wise or app wise but I can do.basic things I need to do everyday easily. And majority of people don't care about apps or a lot of features.
  • I agree...  I look for updates to apps all the time on my Titan and have the marketplace tile front and center.  But my wife on the other hand has the marketplace tile at the button of her home screen.  I pick up her phone sometimes and see 10+ app updates waiting to install.  She wouldn't update her phone OS unless I plugged it in, so 7.8 or 8 means little to her as long as you can run the apps she wants.
  • It's only techies like us who care about having the latest and greatest. My sister has a Lumia 710 and never bothers to hit the updates on the Marketplace tile for any of her apps. It's only when OCD me gets a hold of it.
  • We must have the same wife.
  • Amen, brother!
  • As with my Girlfriend, she has a 3 year old blackberry and does not care about upgrading to any new phone. She says her phone works why would she upgrade. Its true that only gadget geeks care about this. I will bet most none tetchy people in any age range don't even know what an Android, or windows phone is and id they so they are "scared" of then due to lack of knowledge of what they mean. But I bet they know BlackBerry. Blackberry is by far the worst for fragmentation, yet those who have then LOVE them. I have both a BB and a WP. I love them both for what they are.
  • I agree with the BB fragmentation. 4.7 users couldn't upgrade to 6.1, 6.1 couldn't upgrade to 7 and 7 can't upgrade to BBX. At least with Android, if you're a techie or know someone who is they can shoehorn an OS update in there.
  • Same here. My wife, when she had her BlackBerry, she NEVER updated her OS. Now with her iPhone, if it or iTunes never told her an update was available, she wouldn't do that either. She also never updates her apps.
  • Shoot! My uncle's Focus was still on NoDo, last I saw him, earlier this year.
  • Note that Microsoft said "AT LEAST" 18 months of updates for WP8 devices. It's possible you could get more.
  • For now I would assume that be exclusive to updates, not upgrades.
  • Never forget that demand drive the phone market, don't support phone with windows 8 and see what Microsoft does for us lumia 900 owners.
  •   Since most users, like you say, won't be aware or care for updates, I would like to see Microsoft offer an upgrade incentive to people who recently bought a Windows Phone and are disapointed with Windows Phone 7.8. It could be a credit towards a new Windows Phone 8 device, or even some hundred dollars credit to spend in the Zune Marketplace... Something!   It might not satisfy everyone, but it would at least show Microsoft as saying "Look, we know it sucks, but we had to do this. Here's something to show that we appreciate that you gave Windows Phone a chance, and we hope you'll stick with us"   That's what I want to see happen.
  • I would love to see a "Trade in and Renew" program.  Own your Lumia 900 for 6 months, and you can renew a 2 year contract on a WP8.0 when you turn it in.  Heck...even a year wouldn't be all that shabby.  I don't get how the 900 can be a HERO phone when I have an 8 month old TITAN line eligable for an early iPhone upgrade but not an early 900 upgrade????
  • Didn't Apple offer something similar to that? I think a "trade in & renew" program for the lumia 900 & titan II would be perfect.
  • Lol...i think most of us got the L900 for free. I'm happy with my free phone...but hey, if they want to throw in more free stuffs I'm not going to complain. :D
  • That's why they created 7.8 to begin with but of course people have to act like entitled brats.
  • LOL! There are a lot of them here, maybe we should give them candy.
  • +1. Too many people complaining up in here.
  • Living in a fantasy world. No matter how much you click together your shoes, Microsoft, Nokia, HTC, & Samsung are not going help you to buy a new device from them. That's completely counter to their main objective as a business which is to MAKE MONEY!
  • My focus is a dinosaur but I still love it. I'm actually impressed at how long it's stayed 'current' and 'new' feeling. It may not be a lumia but it still has a special place in my heart :D. Oh and its nice that it has 22gb of storage with my integrated microsd and all:P
  • This makes a very good case for TMobile in the US. We can pay more upfront to buy the phone outright and not locked in, pay a lower monthly fee, then sell the phone for a decent % when newer models come out.
  • They have it "promo special" that how I got my Radar. I gave them my old G1 crap Android phone and they gave me $100.00 and I used it to pay for my Radar but with a new two years contact but I can upgrade my phone anytime and I have one right now just waiting for WP8. Oh with a $50.00 discount too.
  • I'm gonna get as much out Focus as I can. All I really need in a phone thereafter is a Front Facing Camera and I'm good. I'll try to get as much out of that one as possible as well. I love gadgets as much as the next person. But I've come to accept that it's just not rational or responsible to feeling like you need the "next big thing". Even if I can afford it.
  • We are not special on WP as much as we want to believe we are were not. Its technology, shit changes every day, your glossy iPhone, Android, WP whatever else is obsolete once you get it. Live with it. Its like buying a new car, once you drive it off the lot its worth way less than it was sitting in the lot. what are we really not getting in 8 than 7.8? Only a small few of us know what the hell is going on with phone updates. Most people don't even know their phone can get an update. Its not the end of the world, accept the fact that your phone is not new anymore and wait till you can do it allllll over again in two years. Nothing is gonna change.
  • well put. The fact that we are getting any updates to our phones is welcomed compared to getting a deterioating car year after year.
  • IT's possible (but unlikely) that MS could provide some WP8 features to WP7 Nokia users after WP8 is released since it's safe to bet that most users will be tied to their phones until 2014.  It might appease Nokia users from jumping ship.  It's a crazy theory, but possible.  That's what I would do if I were MS.  I'd put all my resources into making WP8 the top mobile OS and then spend some time going back to add things to WP7 primarily for the Nokia fans just to surprise them and prove that they listened, but understand that WP8 needs to be the best OS out there.
  • Highly improbable, the future is WP8. Start saving your nickels.
  • ...if you read "Windows Phone 7.5 news", there are hints that WP7.8 will not get only the new home screen but additonal featues as well. Considering that there are intentions from Nokia and others to continue to use WP7.5 on "low end devices" in "emerging countries", this would make absolutely sense and it is also highly possible that WP7.8 isn't end of the line...
  • The marketplace bonus would be great, even 50 dollars would be amazing
  • Good article, its the reality of technology. Maybe we shouldn't depend on technology so much since its beginning to disappoint its devotees. Be happy w what windows provides here and now or just jump ship to iOS or Android. Maybe buy all three and its bliss (tablet/phone) ;)
  • I am not sure I would call WP8 a fragementation. Let me explain why.
    Let's say I am a developer that wants to write an app. 
    On Android, I have to think about which version of Android APIs should I use? That's kinda easy, target 2.x and you should be ok. 
    Alright, how about resolution? Well...turns out there are many different ones. A lot actually. Pain point. about hardware keys and buttons? There many different phonese with different key layouts in Android. Some have menu buttons, some don't. Some lay out the buttons differently, etc. Pain point.
    What if it's a game? Well...which chipset am I going to target? There are many different ones on Android. Pain point.
    etc... This is fragmentation. You have too many differences to contend with making your life harder.
    Windows Phone is different. When WP8 launches. You have the choice of writing an app for WP7 API which means it will work on ALL Windows Phones regardless. If you need to write something that uses WP8 hardware features, then you use that and that's OK. It's like writing an app that needs front facing camera and older phones didn't have one. That's not a bad thing.
    How about resolutions? There are ONLY 3. You are guranteed that you will not have more than that. No funky resolutions or anything like that.
    What about hardware key layout? Just ONE. No phone out there will come out with more or less hardware keys or even a different layout. 
    What about chipsets? Two! Not to mention, with WP8 running on NT kernel, you get the driver model and DirectX as well. So going forward, you have a VERY well tested hardware abstraction layer and drivers above said different chipsets (none were announced anyway). So you won't have to cater to diffrent ones like in Android.
    So there you have it... WP8 is not fragmentation least not in Android terms. A developer will not have to bend over backwards to create apps that run very nicely on ALL Windows phones. 
    Just my 0.02 cents.
  • +100
  • +1. Very true in a developer perspective.
  • Couldn't agree more, tried to explain this a couple days ago but got flamed and banned.
  • Very well put.  You should have written this article. :-)  Everyone need to just relax and let go.
  • I just wonder about the situation of future Xbox live titles. The bigger publishers that did not jump on the wp7 train and now contemplating wp8 development due to easier porting with c/c++may just do that. Even though the game may be something simple, it still may make more sense to them to use native code than xna. This would leave wp7 users without some apps and thus fragmentation.
  • great wp8 for my L900...but I aint hatin! And as far as holding out on buying WP8 hardware to 'see what MS does for the L900", its not going to make a difference. I guarantee that the number oof devices sold in the fall when new hardware comes out will eclipse the number of L900 users. Especially the L900 users that feel they got not being one of them.
  • I really like this article. It is one of the few out there that are viewing the whole picture and calling it how it really is. Yes the timing really sucks with the Lumia 900 and Titan 2 having just come out but is everyone forgetting about Apple and how every single year they do the same thing with the Iphone? If you want the new features on an iPhone, you have to buy the newest model. They will push some of the updates to the current iPhone, but anything that is based on hardware upgrades, can only happen with a newer phone. Microsoft is doing the same thing, only being far more upfront about it. They are telling us what they can upgrade to older phones and what will only work with the new hardware.
  • As for whether folks dont care about updates, I think it depends on the age and knowledge of these things. Also whether or not these updates updates are advertised. My wife, who isn't nowhere near interested in tech outside of the basic things she knows how to use, is always aware of iOS updates. Not because she follows blogs or websites. Because these things tend to be advertised places where she sees it
  • The problem (euphemism for my problem, ofc) is with the apps. I know have no entitlement to a faster phone, or a fancy virtual wallet, but relegate WP7 to legacy app-wise it's not cool. Either way, not saying I'm going anarchy in the UK (aka droid) or start wearing a turtleneck, but it's not cool...
  • Shame on those that bought WP7 and did not do their due diligence. 
    If you bought the 900 or any phone within the past few months knowing that wp8 was coming out and expecting to get a FULL FEATURED UPDATE...again, shame on you especially knowing the issue has always up in the air, more sites were saying it will not get an update, and knowing that wp8 phones will be using difference hardware and software. 
    I bought the 900 fully expecting to not get a full update, but hoping for a apollo light which we essentially are getting.  I did my due diligence and so should everybody else. 
    In the end, phones will still get an apollo light like update and continued app support. 
  • It's all about app support and many, or a good number, think that support for WP7.x apps going forward after WP8 hits the market will just die overnight.    I don't agree, since 7.x apps will still run on WP8 hardware I think that developers won't jump on the WP8 only (basically a native app/game) development path until WP8s user base is the bigger of the two.
    The only question is how fast can WP8 grow to overtake WP7.x so that developers can drop support for the older OS and take advantage of WP8 and by extension Windows 8 as well?   Only time will tell and the market, I figure at best it will take 4-5 months after WP8 hits the market to overtake WP7.x and that's a best case IMO.   Let's hope marketing and the carriers step up.
  • I agree the 7.x app support will make the difference - but after the announcement I'm very sceptical
    Even at this developer event MS didn't announce how WP8 and WP7 development will work together. Of course I can keep writing for WP7.x and that'll work on WP8 and that's ok for updates on existing apps. But why should I start a new project with an obsolet programming model (Silverlight-based WP7.x)  when the future is Win(P)RT which seems to be WP8-only?
    So unless WinPRT comes (in parts) to 7.x I expect to see very soon new apps ONLY availble for WP8 - and there I don't mean native code games but most of new projects that are started with Win8 in mind. So as soon as the first new must-have apps are available for WP8 people will look for the missing update.
  • In WinRT, there is no XNA only DirectX. Many long time indie game developers have invested a lot of time and money into XNA over the years. So as far as for existing indie game developers are concerned they may stick to WP7 for a while since those games will work on WP8 as well. New and professional developers may probably go directly to WinRT+DirectX especially if they are porting their existing games over from another platform. It would however be an advantage for some developers to continue to write for WP7 because as more developers jump onto the WinRT bandwagon, there is less competition in the WP7 marketplace ;-)
  • Sometimes you just need to end of life a product to move on. Hell, people would never adopt Windows7 if Microsoft didn't EOL XP. Its technology, I've been in it for about 20yrs. At Intel we would say the only constant is change.
  • the editor is naive about how strongly word of mouth by enthusiasts can affect a "normal person" who would not normally care about upgrades.  Hell the zeitgeist can even depress iPhone sales.
  • Preach it :)
    Its just a phone, a smartphone. Feel fortunate to have one w such an awesome OS, windows OS!
  • The thing is, I'd like to understand these hardware limitations. Make a WP8 that works like the low power tango devices. Disable NFC, disable external storage, lower performance so it can run on one processor.
  • Hence poor quality. Microsoft is -not- going to compromise when it comes to hardware and the overall experience. They've already made lower-end devices with great power, but 1st gen or even 2nd devices are just too low end compared to the new devices.
  • You're correct that they're targeting the new experience, however I doubt that Microsoft will be exiting the low end market.
  • Fragmentation is an issue for developers much more than for consumers. Android is no called fragmented only because it has several versions in the wild but also because of the issues with app compatibility, mods, screen resolutions, etc. Windows Phone is currently much more manageable for a developer. 2 versions, 3 resolutions is nothing like Android.
  • Agreed. I would argue that even with wp8, windows phone is not fragmented...
  • I've read articles about big-time developers having like 300 (or less) android phones to test out their games.. Might have been a smaller number, might have been higher, don't remember, but it was A LOT of phones for a few apps.
  • I bought the Focus, the HD7 and eventually the Titan because of hardware and design specifics. I wanted the 900 for similar reasons. They all from functionality point of view work as designed and there was no need (unless camera, storage were issues). why did I not buy a 900? BECAUSE WP8 WAS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER and we know what that means. Everyone knows that the next best thing is um, next. I can still buy 900 and 7.8 will give me moat of the functionality of 8 device. But if I need new hardware I.e. NFC, and other junk then I should wait. Why is this such a big friggen deal?? Now if older phones had hardware support for those things and we were y getting WP8 update to actually use those features then that's a problem. MS, it seems, would have been better off to be less forthcoming and have 7.8 = 8 with a /wink.
  • I bet they could've avoided like 90% of all the raging if they had just called it Wndows Phone 8 with less features. Just like Apple has done 4ever. No one likes it, but idiots seems to be confused and seem to think that 7.8 is sooo much worse because it's a lower number then 8...
  • Thank you for this article.
  • So you're unhappy with something you were previously happy with because it doesn't have a feature set that won't be out for at least 4 months? Gothca.
  • LMAO! Finally, someone who "gets it". :) You are exactly right!
  • Great article! I'm excited for the changes coming to WP8 and hold no anger towards MS! I have to wait until November 2013 to get a subsidized price on a WP8 and I'm ok with that. If my other choice was to not have WP exist because they failed to change, then I'm 100% on board with a limited upgrade to my current device. Very very very small personal sacrifice for the BIGGER picture! I wish people would get over themselves and get behind MS in understanding how important this was for the ecosystem to continue to exist, let alone grow! Sending out WinPhan love to Microsoft and Windows Phone for doing the right thing! :)
  • I don't quite understand the outrage. The only real difference is that WP8 supports higher end hardware which in turn supports nifty things like direct x. It would not add anything to current devices except UI which is what 7.8 adds. So it would be silly. The only difference the end user would have on current hardware is that the phone says WP8 instead of WP7.
  • IPhone & android phones sucks. End of comments.
  • That's not quite fair. Every phone OS has its merits and downfalls.
  • Says the racist person
  • I kind of feel the same. I almost never have a phone longer than a year, but I am for sure a geek on that and in Austria its possible to buy open phones without contract almost all the time.
    So for me now, waiting for 7.8 and hopefully before Christmas buying a new WP 8 and maybe some Surface :)
  • Funny that this editorial comes out right as I'm in the middle of a heated battle on Engadget as to why fragmentation on Android seems to be ok, but not so much on WP. Now they're saying fragmentation offers choice and lower-budget phones, etc, but no one made those cases for WP.
  • I knew what was coming 6+months ago. Hence, the reason why I held off buying a Lumia 900. For those who got the Lumia 900, don't be upset about not having a full upgrade path to WP8. The Lumia 900 is a great phone, but doesn't support all the hardware features/mandates outlined by Microsoft for WP8. So pay up or shut up, because WP8 is for new(er) smartphones.
  • So is Microsoft going to try and make sure the next set of 'required' next gen phones (phones needed to fully utilize the next MAJOR OS upgrade) will be at the end of a 2 year window from the Windows Phone 8 launch? That way those of us sticking with the OS can get a new phone with the newest possible OS being fully utilized at the end of our mobile contract each time?
  • That is fine if they want an 18 month life cycle but then they need to get their OEM's on board with not releasing a phone 4 months away from EOL on software support. If I am Nokia I start building android devices stat so my hardcore users don't consistently get left behind (meaning custom ROMs).
  • great article. I felt and thought this and its the reality of tech
  • I'm a troll, I know, but androids openness will keep WP8 at bay forever, what does WP8 bring to consumers that it didn't already bring? There's a reason its still only ~3% market share. It sure ain't apple so going this route brings nothing good when their causing fragmentation anyways.
  • The average consumer doesn't care about Android's openness. Only reason people were buying it is because it was similar to the iPhone and the fact that its on almost every phone in carrier stores.
  • They don't care because they don't know what it it, but what it ALLOWS is what average folk love. Glad I got these phones for free, sorry to you folks that wasted money.
  • Lol. You are so silly. How the hell does the avarage consumer even know what it allows to do if they don't know what it is to begin with? The avarage person knows nothing about even launchers etc...
    Go away you are only making a fool of yourself.
  • Judging by the sheer amount of downloads for such applications, you are clearly the ignorant fool.
    Just this one "launcher" has more downloads than there are Windows Phone users. Now please, continue to make an ass of yourself :)
  • Do you have any idea how many Android users that are in total? How many percent of those do you think those figures represent? Android by now have over 200 million users worldwide. One million Android phones are being activated EVERY DAY.
  • Well there are as many as 50,000,000 that have downloaded that SINGLE applications, about a 1/4 of the 200,000,000 like you state have downloaded it because of androids openness.... So 25% for just one app? That doesn't seem huge to you? OPEN your eyes! Your stating it yourself that android is dominating. PEOPLE LOVE ANDROID ACCEPT IT
  • There's so many downloads and activations because lots of people are getting their phones replaced. How about that desgraciado
  • How about a ECOSYSTEM that Google doesn't even have or ain't even able to have beacuse they don't have a OS to begin with! Android is borrowed and built upon Linux. So Google will never be able to have a complete ecosystem unlike MS and Apple because they don't have THEIR OWN OS!
    Windows 8,  Windows Phone 8 and Surface will all share the same core. Which means games made for PC can easily be ported to phones and look excellent. Same for the Surface. Windows Phone 8 will have direct-x support among many other things...
    Shows how much you really know about WP8. It's going to kick Google's ass. Not that I really need WP to succeed though to be happy with it unlike sad persons like you that has to belong to the brand that has the biggest marketshare. So sad I almost feel sorry for you.
  • I bought a Nokia Lumia 710 only a few months ago. All my friends and colleagues have Android phones. For me I never cared about about their phones, yet everyday they look over my shoulder to see what's on my phone. And most of them will choose a WP8 as their next phone once Windows 8 is established in their workspace and at home. If you know anything about Microsoft's history, you will know that Microsoft has always been late to the game but have also always pipped their competition at the finish line. So when you see your Apple and Android phone starting to look and behave more and more like a Windows Phone, you know the end is near ;-)
  • Nice read,.......... if people would just step back and enjoy their phone for what it offers now And not compare it to what others will in six months, they may find themselve quite pleased with the WP experience.
  • We can technically call it fragmentation but it is hardly like the mess with Android. At least we don't have different phones running 7.0, Nodo, Mango and Tango at same time.
  • Yeah, at worst we have 7.8 and 8... and the people who don't give a ****.
  • I dont understand why MS did not implement the necessary drivers to support WP8 in 1. and 2. gen devices. What about future low-budget phones? Will they always run WP7 and the fragmentation will be "forever"? And btw I think WP8 will be a much better framework then WP7 Silverlight (if it is like WinRT: async/await, W8 compatibility for libraries, etc) and therefore the new framework will not only be used if the app needs newer capabilities. Also think about this example scenario: I think WhatsApp will develop a WP8 app which supports for example message count on the lock screen. This will lead to two versions of the app, a WP7 and a WP8 version. Now, which of both versions will get the new features and which version only the bug fixes?
  • It's not MS job to implement the drivers for the devices, its the device manufacturers. Even though HTC and Samsung can implement drivers for the new Windows kernel, do you think they would do that for old devices that they have already sold? No, they want you to upgrade and buy their new phones.
  • They do release updates for Android if the device is still new (since that means it's still their flagship device)
    for example, the latest android phones from samsing and HTC will probably get 4.1 
    lots of devices that were released with 2.3 are getting 4.0 updates.
    they have to balance their reputation for getting updates to customers and the ability to sell new phones.
    With WP8, the new hardware would be so much better, that it shouldn't be an issue (higher resolution, better CPU, micro sd card, NFC)
  • I don't think there is anyway to avoid "fragmentation." 
    As the hardware advances, and you want to take advantage of that and give users better experiences. As much as we all wish all updates could be hardware independent and we can use our beloved phones forever, the reality is if you want to run the latest, fastest, and to have that  best expereince, then you will have to shell out some money for upgrades. 
  • I guess Sprint's lack of support/marketing for the platform works to my favor.  Since the Arrive is all they have, that's alll I'd be getting again anyway.  I wonder if they'll actually get a WP8 device with the next round coming through or if the unit they are getting will just be another WP7.5/8 device?
    That wouldn'r surprise me.
    I do wonder though, if they plan on making hardware "updates" every couple of years that might require an upgrade to go along with their newest, brightest software/OS?
  • Can you trust Microsoft not to do that? they're reseting the OS again after just two years. they might do that again in two years. If it was really the shared core kernel that was the issue with existing devices, I'd say it wouldn't happen again. but it's not the issue.
    smartphones aren't suppose to last that long anyway...
  • What I guess I am saying is, Microsoft needs to get the Mobile Carriers on board with allowing upgrades when each totally revamped OS overhaul is launched. Apple has them allowing their consumers to upgrade their phone every year to stay up to date. There is no reason they can't have it setup in a similar manner.
  • Carriers aren't the issue here. In fact, for carriers it makes more sense to allow you to upgrade (they lose money when they subsidize your phone, it's better for them to keep you with a locked sim phone on the same plan without buying you a new phone)
    The real issue here is that a few features won't work without cetrain hardware. mainly, the security features. and Microsoft needs these features to go after the enterprise.
    Both the Surface and WP8 are enterprise plays. By allowing IT to manage these tablets and smartphones the same way they manage laptops (including remote wipes by an IT admin) they hope they can sell these devices to companies before they move to ipads/iphones (which is already happening)
    So mainly, it's the TPM chip that's missing from existing devices that's the issue. 
  • My Nokia lumia 900 is perfect I'm happy with or without the wp8 update at least we get tile time lol more tiles yay !
  • I agree with that most users especially all the people I know don't really follow upgrades.. Hell most don't really make full use of their smartphone. They buy a few apps, do social and search the web.
  • I'm also think that Nokia will release a new lumia 900 style phone with a more screen size then the current kinda like the galaxy s 3 did
  • I still maintain this is only an issue for some of the low hanging geeks among us, of which I empathize. But we too share in the decision to move onto newer hardware. We asked for specs, titles, camera that can see through walls. Removable storage, front facing cameras and porn. Well, maybe just me. But the point is, we asked for all this and it is documented so don't fall out now when wishes she being fulfilled. This phone is still awesome and will remain so after win phone 8 drops.
  • Was it just me or did the writer of this article have a lot of unnecessary commas?
  • Yeah, tech enthusiasts are the only ones that really care about this, but I agree totally that we have no reason to be upset. We should be making purchasing decisions based on what's available at the time... ie. either it will meet our needs, or it won't. If it won't we wait. I have wanted a Lumia 900 since the launch, but as a tech enthusiast, I decided to wait for the news about WP8. I made a good decision... and now I'm waiting. My decision was entirely based on wanting WP8 and the fact I already have a great Windows Phone with the Titan.
  • But iPhone is fragmented. Siri is only available for the newest iPhone.
  • that's not fragmentation. it's one feature that is not available. it doesn't affect developers ability to deliver apps to older devices. 
    there's a difference between one feature missing and only one feature (the new start screen) available.
    What Apple did with siri was lame since it was artificial and not really a hardware issue (most of the processing for siri is done on the server side. voice recognition is done by nuance and NLP by apple's servers)
  • If existing users don't upgrade their iPhones, Apple is screwed. Siri is just candy to tempt users to upgrade. They could have made OS4 not work at all on iPhone 3 but that would piss off existings users and Apple do not want their users to jump ship. So its not lame, its just business sense.
  • Love my DVP won't be seeing the Tango update or 7.8,but I'm happy with my phone no complaints.November or December I will pick up a new WP8 device.
  • Wow it worked forced the Tango update thru Zune:)
  • Awesome article and a great way to put it. People have always enjoyed hating Microsoft...and as a reseller of Microsoft products I feel that is completely unfair to MS. Come on people we all knew Windows 8 was coming. How do you expect certain phones to run this OS without the physical requirements..come on now people. Just enjoy your WP that you feel in love with in the beginning.
  • The article is wrong. The biggest problem in the WP case is that even apps recompiled with the new SDK will not work on 7.x! And that's only a few months away not 18 months
  • It might be even worse. When Mango came out, Microsoft had a hard time supporting both 7.0 and 7.5 apps. If a developer updated his app from 7.0 to 7.5 he could no longer submit updates to the 7.0 version. Eventually they found some workaround, but who knows what would happen this time.
  • So you mean in a few months time, all developers will stop developing apps that will work on million+ existing devices?? Fantastic! A WP7 marketplace with a million+ devices without any competition for the taking!! Sign me up!
  • So just as the trolling of WP 7.8 was starting to calm down you post this 'editorial'? Sorry to sound negative but I just don't get the posting of this article...
  • This time next year, NO ONE in this community will care about this topic.
  • Its probably been said before, but MS had few options regarding the wp8 upgrade situation. Unlike Android, they've changed the hardware for the benefit of the platform which presented implications to the usual seamless WP experience. I predict a Mango-esque upgrade for wp8 users... it'll be business as usual. :)
  • Admit it, technology spoils us. You buy a new car, 1 to 3 years later, design change. Do you buy a newer model? No, because it still functions as designed! Enough said, just be happy :-)
  • That's why people lease cars for three years, so they can always have the latest and greatest.
    of course, cars aren't phones. you can't compare products with that cost difference. the speed of innovation is also not as fast. 
    There's nothing that's changing faster than Mobile (if you have an HDTV you don't really need to upgrade it right now, if you have a two year old laptop, even thought the new ones are faster and lighter, you probably won't feel too much of a difference)
    your phone might still function as designed, sure, but the difference between your phone and the next one could be a lot more than a few more MPGs. with WP8, it wll be a very big difference
  • Let's make this clear. missing a few features is not fragmentation. ios does not suffer from fragmentation.
    it was a lousy move to disable siri for older iphones because the app ran find on the same phones before Apple took it out of the app store. It had nothing to do with hardware limitations, it was just the only thing the apple PR team had to market the 4S.
    Windows Phone isn't fragmentated either, not yet and Microsoft would do whatever it can to avoid it.
    Fragementation affects 3rd party development which in turns affects the availablility and quality of apps. Every time Google announces the new features for Android I add those features to the list I can't use. Now the same thing happened with WP8. All those nice features for developers will not be usable as long as the majority of users are running 7.5. 
    With ios, almost all of the idevices out there are running ios5. sure, some don't have siri. some might have a few other features disabled. but as a developer, I can target ios5 and know they can all get my app. I also don't have to test too many devices.
    You try to reperesent fragmentation as an end user issue. It's not. being dissapointed that a new device with a better OS is out is not fragmentation. 
    Again, my main worry with WP8 is that all those nice new features will not be usable for a while. It took them 2 years to get to 3-4% of the market, it will take at least 1-2 years until 7.5 devices are no longer out there in meaningful numbers
    edit: wanted to add, when I bought a PDA 10 years ago, it cost me 500$. so it was expensive, but not as expensive as the iphone which costs 650$
  • I think the biggest mistake was to change the dev language. WP7.5 users will never get access to the future new apps and games. The marketplace is the most expensive compared to the other systems...and now it has no future with wp8. Maybe I should give up WP8 for another platform... I am feeling like I was cheated by the Microsoft marketing. In my opinion, Nokia isn't responsible as they provided a well built mobile and free GPS app, fed their mobiles with new contents and apps.
  • I don't think the Wp7.8 apps will be a problem because with the New SDK for WIndows Phone, Developers have the option to code for 7.5 or 8. 7.5 apps will automatically be recoded by microsoft to be in the WP 8 market and will work on those devices. So it is just up to developers to code for 7.5 as an option, that should keep the growing app market going and shouldn't cheat anyone out of apps.  
  • Anyone ever thought of just using their current WP7.x as a backup phone. I have a Nokia 710 and I don't regret buying it 4 months ago despite WP8. I still have my trusted Nokia E51i as a backup. I'm thinking that my 710 would be my backup should I ever upgrade to wP8 later. As long as you have a solid phone, you won't regret it.
  • It's not up to 18 months, it's at least 18 months.
  • I will buy a shiny new WP8 device in Dec when my current HD7 contract expires. I know full well that Spring 2013 will bring even newer/better WP8 devices. 2014 will bring WP9. If I can get WP9 on my 2012 phone great, but if I "only" get WP8.x, that is okay too.
  • This article are well written, it tell the truth that a lot of users don't want to listen, and in fact, the truth is so cruel and real!
  • You people are missing a big point here. Apps! I bought my 900 on launch date. I'm a WP fan myself, and I perfectly understand not getting all the features of WP8. But no app compatability? With the relatively small user base out there we are going to be left behind like in a few months. No app updates, no more apps for us... We will stay at mere 100K apps (40% been on other languages, not english)... Not to mention that some of the current apps really need a lot of improvements... do you really think anyone is going to invest of fixing/improving those? that is huge... And its ok you know, I'll have the money to break my contract then, and get a WP8 beast... but in the meantime... even my current app expirience is going to suk...
  • well said EngineerArtistP ...
    We're missing two points here...
    1. Comparing with iOS, even the 2G can run apps from the iOS appstore now. the lame lumia buyers wouldnt have that benefit in a few months.
    2. No one in today's smart phone world is buying the phone for what it is. Its the ecosystem that matters. In his famos 'burning ship" memo from Stephen Elop to Nokia, he mentioned the same. Why are the so called MS enthusiasts now saying its the phone that is important and not the ecosystem/updates?
    3. The same WP fans, boasted "we dont need dual cores...our OS is so good that we do better using single core itself" and did all those "smoked by windows phone" campaigns... Now suddenly, the hardware is not good enough? There is no desktop operating system that says hey I cant run on a single core with 512mb ram. Win XP runs on it. Win 7 manages with single core 1Gig ram. Why do we have a problem with the mobiles?
    4. Why does it make a better business story to let go of these customers than write the drivers for WP8? Minus NFC, if we get upgrades to WP8, then the marketplace would be still relevant. Why are we not treated this way?
  • I do seem to remember Microsoft being very clear that new apps for WP8 would also run in WP7--with obvious exceptions (NFC, whatever etc.). Sounds like a pretty parallel scenario to a desktop computer (applications can work in Windows7 or XP). WP7 is not going to be suddenly obsolete.
  • ...intended as a reply to the thread above...
  • No. They were very clear in that WP7 apps will run on WP8. But apps developed for WP8 will not run on WP7.
  • Yes, that was it. Oops.
    I still don't think this will end up being as big of a deal as some think it is right now. There are some great WP7 devices available now that help people get things done in a style that still turns heads (good advertisement for Windows Phone 8 as more people come into smartphones and contracts continue to expire). Until then, some incredible apps are still in the pipe for WP7 and there's still a WP7.8 update on the way.
  • Its rubbish this story about hardware. Sd cards were supported in 6.5
    LTE is supported by the Lumia (hello iPhones) So please explain why they keep claiming its a "hardware" reason that they can't upgrade the current hardware. WPCENTRAL you guys just dance to the tune more like a PR site than real journalism. Microsoft knew for a long time that this would be the situation. If I was Elop or worked at Nokia, I would be angry to be screwed over. No wonder RIM want to do their own thing. They stand a better chance than trusting MS. As do customers. I am moving out of this ecosystem.
  • how could anyone say WP7.8 will be given to the abandoned WP7.5 users SHORTLY?? It'll be done VERY SLOWLY - I'm with T-Mobile UK and do not have Tango yet - it's been waiting for approval for who knows how long... Both mobile networks and hardware/software companies seem to usually not care that much about you if you've already bought their product... The same will happen to WP8 users (I might become one of them) - upgrades will come slowly and support will be cut off VERY quickly... I have a Windows Mobile 6.5 device with a strong battery and in perfect condition that was recently cut off the Windows (app) Market...
    I cannot understand some people - they express their satisfaction with being denied something... They would probably thank their favourite supermarket chain for down-sizing their milk bottles while keeping the same price and said it would make them slimmer... Guys - we need to ask for as much as we can and more from the companies we give our money to! Putting pressure on them will be beneficial to us and coupled with the competition they will face will give us cheaper, better products. Saying thank you when something is denied to us will most likely help them develop the "it might pay to rip them off" mentality...
  • Actually, the bigger question to ask is why did MS deliberately cripple WP7 OEMs by not allowing them to build hardware that was WP8 compatible.  The hardware was certainly available so why wasn't the Lumia 900 a dual core WVGA phone with LTE that would have been upgradeable to WP8.  The 720P screens were also available and the Lumia 900 could have been a Galaxy S3 competitor with WP7 upgradeable to WP8.  No one seems to be talking about that.