Some of the Windows Phone 7 users out there are kind of upset that their current phones will not be upgradable to the new Windows Phone 8 operating system. They will be upgradable to Windows Phone 7.8 though, which will look a lot like Windows Phone 8 except it won’t support certain things. Oh hey, that sounds a lot like what Apple does with their iOS upgrades, except Apple still calls the latest version iOS 6 even though you may not have all of the same features as iOS 6 might include depending on which device you’ve actually got it installed on.
Would it have made you feel better if Microsoft had said, “Yes, current Windows Phones will be upgradable to Windows Phone 8, except it won’t have IE 10, Wallet, 3rd party speech UI integration, GPS navigation background support, etc., etc.”?
From a user perspective, Windows Phone 7.8 will probably look a lot like Windows Phone 8. You’ll have the same start screen, the same live tiles, the same integrated apps. A few of the integrated hubs might have some subtle changes. You’ll still only be able to get your apps from the Windows Phone store. Would you really care if some apps (that probably wouldn’t even show up in your version of the store) require the newer hardware? If you did, then that would be incentive to buy a new phone. How is that any different from Apple requiring new hardware and a new device to enable certain features on their iOS devices?
There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of public outcry when Apple releases an OS update that’s heavily crippled on older hardware yet still has the same name as the OS update installed on other iOS devices. Would there be less public outcry if Microsoft had done the same type of thing with Windows Phone 7.8?