One of the things we’re looking forward to for Windows Phone 8 is that, despite having a new kernel which no longer relies on Windows CE code, it’s supposed to be backwards-compatible with existing apps. That’s hugely important, since Microsoft can’t risk alienating its already small user base if the apps they’ve already bought just stop working someday. There’s another big issue when it comes to backwards compatibility and Windows Phone 8, and one we haven’t heard strong support for one way or the other; Mary-Jo Foley recently started thinking about the chances for Microsoft to deliver WP8 as an update to existing handsets, and based on some carefully-worded statements from Microsoft personnel, she argues it’s not looking good.
Foley cites comments made by a Microsoft VP at the Mobile World Congress earlier this week, where he deftly avoided addressing the issue of hardware compatibility and instead replied to a question in terms of app compatibility. It’s this sort of thing, Foley argues, that we can likely read in to in order to divine Microsoft’s intentions (she similarly looks to the company’s obfuscated denial of iOS Office rumors as actually supporting the news).
This would be sad news if true, especially for owners of newer Windows Phone hardware, but it wouldn’t be entirely uncharacteristic of Microsoft. Would you put-off buying a new Windows Phone handset until learning more about the veracity of this rumor?