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Unconfirmed rumor claims all Windows Phones to get Apollo, we're skeptical

Over at the site Reddit, tipster MS_Nerd did an AMA (Ask me anything) where he took questions from fellow Redditors. Specifically, he was talking about Windows Phone news and what's coming down the line.

We should point out that MS_Nerd has a spotty record on these things. First, he claimed that "Tango" would come with a 480x320 resolution which obviously it is not. He also noted that there was a "Tango 2" release that would come at MIX12, where also "Apollo" would be announced. Two things wrong with that one: there's no Tango 2 and MIX12 was canceled, so it'd be odd for the Windows Phone team to make a huge announcement there. Finally there was the "Zune Pass will slowly be merged with Xbox Live Gold" from May 2011, which surely hasn't happened yet either.

Point being, take this with a grain of salt as his accuracy is mixed at best. We'd hardly call him "reliable" as some sites have.

What MS_Nerd did reveal was that supposedly all Windows Phones will be eligible for Windows Phone 8 aka "Apollo" but that the carriers, as usual, will be the biggest roadblock. He also emphasized Nokia's role in hardware development:

"Yes, all current Windows Phones will receive a subset of Apollo. The carriers are the primary obstacle in the US. I hear Microsoft is pushing hard for a Mango-like delivery schedule, as are Nokia & HTC. Some Apollo features will be exclusive to the 3rd-gen devices expected to be released this fall on the MSM8960 platform.""Nokia's role is in defining chipset support (beyond Qualcomm), designing the camera-to-software interaction model, antenna & battery design, languages & regional services, etc."

In response, we'll just say even Microsoft has dodged this issue lately, leading us to believe that this is not so cut and dry. In fact, Microsoft's Myerson was purposefully guileful on this very topic. Second, we have it from our own internal sources that no, not every phone will get Apollo, in fact it's the opposite: only new hardware will have it on board. Fact is, if this was a simple as MS_Nerd has us believe, we'd imagine Microsoft would just come out and say it.

Conclusion? This is far from set in stone as evidenced by the posting of contradictory rumors by many Windows Phone sites (who seem to revel in these rumors without acknowledging how contradictory they are). While we want to believe that all our phones will get upgraded, there is nothing, absolutely nothing solid here folks. So our advice: sit back and wait for Microsoft to say something on the record or wait for some real proof, otherwise we'll be going back and forth on this topic for quite some time.

Source: Reddit; via PhonaArena, WMPU; WP8 concept image: Jozef Kocúr; Thanks, Vernon S., for the tip

Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

33 Comments
  • Getting the update and getting all features of the update are two very different things.
     
  • Agreed, but Daniel couldn't have written this article better in terms of what we know and setting your expectations
  • That's because Daniel is a beast lol
  • No reason we wont ,
    every thing is pointing to us GETTING it.  Every one that say we wont , have NO reason to back their claims.  
    But there is like 10million reasons that says we will! Cant wait till MS announces it officially to shut does negative fact less people down.
     
  • Like.
  • I think a key differentiatior is the statement that everyone is getting a "subset" of Apollo.  Not necessarily everyone getting Apollo.
  • its gona like be Tango. use the update to Bridge low end phones with high end phones. low end phone have missing features. and people with the 3gen phones (Apollo) will simply have more features then the first and second Gen phones . EXACLY like they did are doing with tango. 1. tango to bridge low end and high phones ( why not with Apollo)
    2. both Ballmer and Elope (nokia ) said in interviews at CES that they wana stay away from fragmentation ( if this is not proof enough I dunno what is )
    3. the ONLY thing that can prevent other phones from getting the update is the ROM size and/or if NOKIA changes Codes int he Core of the OS.. ( witch can be changed by removing features ) 4. mango apps to run on Apollo phones!!! I mean the list goes on and on and on.   im not worried.  seriously I maybe not a reliable source , but I’m 99.99% sure we are getting it on all GEN.
    The only phone  I can see having problems is the NOKIA 610 , and the ZTE Orbit.  
  • I'm sure all Windows Phones will get the update. If Microsoft backs down on us 1st Gen users, then they are not doing themselves any good with the small marketshare they hold. Carriers, on the other hand, should leave off OS updates to the owner and not themselves. They block what they want. Let it be like iPhone, where Apple themselves issue the updates. Easier, and even less work for carriers.
     
    Now, I know for sure, though, that all Apollo features will not be usable in all phones. That I can understand due to older hardware. But an update-update, must go through for each phone if Microsoft plans to be successful. They shouldn't let carriers get in their way.
  • Carriers suck at best on getting the updates in a timely manner. I am still waiting on at&t to give us the update for the disappearing keyboard.
  • Just got the notification for that update on my TMOUS HD7
  • Also, to add, Apollo should arrive to all current gen devices. Fragmentation will be caused, which is what Steven Elop (Nokia) and Steve Ballmer (Microsoft) said they would go out of their way to prevent. Mango apps will work on Apollo, so no, they aren't transitioning to a new OS. WP8 = WP7 with more features. Update just like NoDo to Mango. So why do people worry over Mango to Apollo? Change of whole number? Really? Sorry, they aren't going over Windows Mobile's graveyard.
     
    iOS 5 = iOS 4 with more features = iOS 3 with more features.
    Same with Android.
     
    They won't be going a different route. That was in the past.
  • WP7 does not equal WP8 as they have totally different kernels. WinCE = WP7, Windows 8 = WP8.
  • Honestly what he's saying makes perfect sense. All I'm getting from his statement is that even though first gen devices can get the Apollo update, you might not get it thanks to the carriers.
  • I believe the phones will get Apollo but some features might not be available due to hardware limitations.
  • As a first generation focus owner there is no chance that I would stick with windows phone if I don't get the Apollo update. Too much waiting around for Microsoft with windows phone. Generally speaking I think it's always best to stick with a product that a company has high on the priority list. It just seems that windows phone isn't that way for Microsoft. Great OS but I'm feeling like it will always be a little bit behind the rest of the game.
  • I think you have that partially wrong.  Microsoft does have Windows Phone high on the priority list.  It is a major part of their three-screens strategy they have been working towards for the past 3 years.
     
    US Carriers are the major issue.  AT&T (supposedly the "premiere" Windows Phone provider) hasn't been reliable with updates.  It's Microsoft's policy (at the moment) that Carriers are responsible for requesting and testing the update, then giving the green light to MS to then allow it to be distributed to devices.  I, and a lot of other people, think this is the dumbest policy MS has instituted for Windows Phone.  Everyone knows the lack of features Windows Phone has, even though Mango has brought up feature parity closer but not quite there yet.
     
    Don't get me wrong, I am a huge supporter of Windows Phone (I have both a Focus and Focus S, and I'm waiting for the Lumia 900.)  But, if MS can't fix this update policy, where MS controls THE ENTIRE PROCESS, with ODM's doing their part of testing device firmware (not to be confused with the Windows Phone OS.)  Carriers should be treated as no different than ISP's.  Hell, I completely agree with the T-Mobile CTO who recently came out and said that US cariers should no longer subsodize devices.  But that hasn't seemed to help deliver firmware updates for say O2, Orange, etc.
  • @pkacd1981
    WP is actually infront of the game , new things on WP that  peopel claim is behind the game is actually the FUTURE of smartphones ... people need to read more i think.  
    perfect of example of this is FLASH , peopel say WP is behind cause lack of FLASH , sorry to say but flash is DEAD! lol
  • You can't be serious about this. You'd rather have an Android that has an even lower chance of being updated with security fixes that can leave you with an unsecured device? Plus by the time Apollo is even out it'll be time for an upgrade. You can just simply buy an Apollo phone which is what you were going to anyway.
  • Until someone makes a new phone with a keyboard I will be keeping my Quantum with or without Apollo.
  • I wasn't really referring to switching to android. It was more the feature set of the iPhone and ios. Here in Canada it just seems as though windows phones are in the "what is that" category of smart phones. Which, given the money bags that Microsoft has lying around, seems strange and makes me assume that they are not prioritizing it. Although in light of the "3 screens" strategy that ChrisLynch mentioned, they could be just waiting to throw windows everything in everyone's faces. Is there a chance we are "beta buyers" so to speak? Sort of the consumer testing ground. If that's the case I get it and its a brilliant marketing strategy actually.
  • I think we'll get Apollo on all Phones, because believing that makes me happier. Since we don't really know anything I'll rather be happy.
  • Can someone explain to me why Microsoft can't push updates through the Zune software to all phones? Wouldn't this eliminate the carrier and be a situation where manufacturers and Microsoft have the final say?
  • It's Microsoft's update policy.
     
    Hopefully, they will change that. They could be realizing soon that carriers also contribute to OS fragmentation.
     
    Android = Carriers = Fragmentation
    iOS = Apple = Success at Updates.
  • I cannot wait for MS to say something about this issue. So far I won't buy any WP until Apollo w/ new hardware but I wish to get Apollo inside of my HD7 (Tmo US)
  • I agree that the carriers are in the US are hurting WP more than anything else. Between the lack of advertising and the lack of updates that the rest of the world have had rolled out it is an absolute joke. AT&T as the premium carrier is ridiculous. If they cant even push out the smaller updates to fix issues like the keyboard how can we expect to get the big updates. I thought when WP was annopunced MS was going to control the updates then with NODO and then Mango it seems they keep ceding control more and more to the carriers. If they cant see the success Apple has with iOS and them controlling the updates thyen we are all doomed to have phones that are always lagging behind and going the way of Android and waiting for years to get updated. I would love to just buy an unbranded 900 from Nokia but it looks as though it isnt possible with the US version. With the frequency of Nokia updates it looks as though we would never get those on AT&T.
     
  • As far as the MSFT and US Carriers relationship, MSFT was in a bind. They want their platform to be available on all the carriers meanwhile the carriers want something in return (in this case it is control of updates much like android).
     
    As far as AT&T being a "Premier Partner" is relatively obscure. They promised a wide selection of WP devices, which they do have (more so than the other carriers) - but they said nothing about the update process; therefore they never really promised timely updates, if any. It is unfortunate they had MSFT by the balls and prob forced them to submit to their bidding. If MSFT controlled all of their updates chances are none of the carriers would pick up the platform/devices and then MSFT would really be up the creek w/o the paddle.
     
    It is no wonder why AT&T has the lowest satisfaction rate among the carriers in the USA. They block WP updates and they usually are the last to update their Android devices. T-Mobile is fantastic about updating and from what i hear Verizon isn't bad either. I do use AT&T but i use an unlocked device and other methods considering i am using a Telstra version of HTC HD2. Love bypassing the carriers all together - if you know what you are doing then i suggest to just jailbreak/flash an unlocked WP7 ROM and just go that route. if you don't know then find someone who knows about it. It makes it a much better experience.
  • This is no different then they Apple updates iOS, if you don't have the hardware, then you don't get the feature, but you get the new features you have hardware for. Its not hard to figure that out.
  • It's been confirmed a long time ago from the CEO of Microsoft Sweden that all phones will get all updates.
  • ok, while I really would like my gen-1 trophy to get the update, I also totally understand if it doesn't.. for far too long MSFT has sacrificed bringing better technology for the sake of backwards comparability. it's put their products at a competitive disadvantage with the likes of AAPL's. if i have the choice between getting to keep my current phone with a slight upgrade vs. being forced to upgrade for a more sophisticated OS (i.e. blending more with w8) I'd choose the latter everytime..
  • I think it would be in the best interest of the OS/Platform that when WP8 comes out, new hardware be essential. First&second gen phones would have the wrong logo...HELLO! =P
  • If I don't get Wp8 on my Titan, I'll move to another OS.
  • If you have at&t you'll probably wait a month =(
  • This guy isn't a Microsoft employee. He knows a lot about Microsoft platforms, but he's not especialy well informed about actual product plans.