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.

163 Comments
  • 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 newegg.com 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 device...you 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 Jay...you 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 4G..you 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 of.my 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.