Microsoft's Windows Phone 7.8 isn't a bad deal

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: June 23, 2012

It has only been a few days since Microsoft took the stage and showcased the next evolution of their mobile operating system, Windows Phone, but as you can expect people are still talking about it. The Windows Phone Summit wasn’t all about what the end user will see, and it wasn’t laden with features. Microsoft did manage to show off and talk about plenty of things that should get the consumer excited, though, including a new Start screen, and plenty of new support for different (and faster) hardware. It was a tease, but a tease is better than nothing I guess.

Well, unless you aren’t a fan of waiting.

In any event, we now have an idea what Windows Phone 8 will look like on new handsets, even if we don’t know what the new handsets will look like. All of that will come later. What’s better, though, is that we will also find out what other new features Windows Phone 8 will have for the end user. Like I said, this was just a tease, but the next event should be the one that swings a lot of new customers into the arms of Microsoft.

Especially considering current handsets won’t be upgraded to the next version of Windows Phone. We had heard rumors about this for quite some time, but the reaction after the announcement was pretty standard: not the best. People expected currently devices, especially handsets like the Lumia 900 by Nokia, to get upgraded to Windows Phone 8. It’s a high-end device, after all, and targeted as the flagship device for Windows Phone. But now it won’t be upgraded to the next version, so it’s a bit of a letdown to say the least.

Or is it? I’m not so sure.

I do believe that software updates aren’t handled the best in some situations, but the truth of it is that you won’t make everyone happy. Someone is going to find something to complain about when it comes to a company upgrading software. You just can’t do it where everyone is happy with the results. Just look at the upgrade path for iOS 6. We’ve seen the same responses from Android, BlackBerry OS, webOS, and now Windows Phone. It won’t be any different in the future, probably, either.

But, Microsoft is easing the “pain” by releasing Windows Phone 7.8 for some current devices. As it stands right now, that means the new Start screen will find its way to most devices that are currently running Windows Phone 7.5, or Mango. The trouble is that’s all we know right now. So, that’s one new feature of Windows Phone 8 that will be provided for older handsets. Obviously people aren’t happy about that.

But, they seem to have forgotten that the Windows Phone Summit was mainly for developers, and not the end user, and they only talked about one new feature for the consumer. One of the main new features, sure, but just one of them. I honestly don’t believe that Microsoft is going to bring only one new feature from Windows Phone 8 to Windows Phone 7.8, so I’m sure we have plenty to still look forward to later this year, even if you can’t (or won’t) upgrade yet.

Microsoft has their own self-imposed standard for Windows Phone, and they’re doing what they need to do to keep it. If that means that they do not believe previous devices would benefit the most from being upgraded to Windows Phone 8, then that is obviously what they’re going to do. I think it’s a good thing that they’re giving something to current Windows Phone owners, because we’ve seen in the past that manufacturers don’t mind leaving owners in the dark after their initial purchase. Microsoft’s upcoming release of Windows Phone 7.8 shows that they knew the news of no upgrade path to Windows Phone 8 would be upsetting to most, so this is them trying to smooth things over.

And honestly, if Windows Phone 7.8 has most of the new features that Windows Phone 8 will have, then what’s the problem in the long run? That may be a loaded question, so we’ll have to wait and see.

Are you excited to get your hands on Windows Phone 7.8 if you don’t plan on upgrading your current device? Or are you going to upgrade as soon as a new handset is announced for yourwireless carrier? Let me know in the comments!

Image via Mashable