Thoughts on Windows Phone 8 upgrade questions
- Announcing Windows Phone 8 features now, without being clear on the upgrade questions, will distract from Nokia's Lumia launch. If they announce that WP7 phones cannot be upgraded to WP8, some buyers may just decide to wait. Even if they do announce that WP7 phones can be upgraded, the rumored higher hardware specs allowed by WP8 may also make some people wait. So announcing anything will distract from Nokia's sales. Whether it distracts as much as not announcing anything is up for debate.
- Even if WP7 phones can indeed be upgraded to WP8, Microsoft may not be as confident in promising that all phones will be upgraded, like they did with the Mango upgrade, in deference to the carriers and OEMs. Some carriers who took their time with the Mango update, may not have been too happy with the "Where's my update?". OEMs may have to supply updated drivers.
- Microsoft announced that current WP7 apps will run on WP8. This is not at all surprising. If this was not the case, the WP8 marketplace would again start from zero with a Verge ecosystem score of 0.
- I imagine WP8 will carry over features from Windows 8, like universal search and contracts. If WP7 phones cannot be fully upgraded to WP8, there is a question on whether WP7 will receive a subset of WP8 features, so that WP8 app developers can also target WP7 phones easily. Even if this was the case, some fragmentation of the marketplace will likely occur.
- It's problematic if WP8 development tools cannot easily target WP7 phones. The existing base of WP7 users serve as a ready market for the apps. If WP8 developers cannot sell to WP7, then they'll face the same problems WP7 developers are still facing. There needs to be a critical mass of users ready to buy apps from the marketplace.
- If WP8 is indeed based on Windows 8. I'm guessing that there will be a unified app store. I think developers should be able to easily target both tablet and phone form factors, in much the same way they can provide different interfaces within the Metro app itself --- Snap View and Fill View. I'd imagine Snap View itself can be easily refined for the phone.
- Microsoft presented WP7 and the Mango update to developers months before they hit the market. In contrast, they've been quiet about WP8 development. If the WP8 development paradigm is supposed to be quite different from WP7, and if WP8 is supposed to hit late this year, then they should have announced something by now. In contrast, they've already presented a lot of information about Windows 8 development. I think this indicates that there will be little difference between developing Windows 8 Metro-style apps and WP8 apps.