When Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8 last year, it also had to break a bit of bad news to the early adopters of its new Windows Phone platform by revealing that Windows Phone 7 hardware would not be upgraded to Windows Phone 8. Instead, those devices would be bumped up to Windows Phone 7.8, which recently started rolling out with the new Start screen and resizable Live Tiles of Windows Phone 8 but without some goodies like over the air firmware updates and removable microSD support. The good news for Windows Phone 8 users is that they won't face a similar experience.
Greg Sullivan, who works at Microsoft as a senior marketing manager, today confirmed to PCMag that Windows Phone 8 is upgradable and that WP8 users don't need to worry about a repeat of the whole Windows Phone 7/7.8 situation. "We're going to have an upgrade path going forward," Sullivan explained.
Windows Phone 7.8 was a nice update for Windows Phone 7 owners, bringing several of the cosmetic changes of Windows Phone 8 and breathing a bit of new life into the WP7 hardware. It's also worth noting that many of the new features of Windows Phone 8, like support for higher-resolution displays and NFC, don't matter to Windows Phone 7 users anyway because they're hardware-related.
Still, it's kind of a bummer that the Windows Phone 7 crowd wasn't able to officially be bumped up to Windows Phone 8 to enjoy more of the new OS's features, especially since the folks that bought WP7 hardware were the early adopters of Microsoft's new platform. It's good to hear that Microsoft avoided a repeat of that situation with Windows Phone 8, because even though we don't know exactly what Microsoft has in the pipeline for Windows Phone, it means that current WP8 users don't need to worry that they may not get the fresh firmware that Microsoft has planned.
The Microsoft executive also touched a bit on why his company has been so quiet during Mobile World Congress, which officially kicked off on February 25. Sullivan said that Microsoft has been keeping itself busy with multiple partner meetings on each day, but that it opted not to hold a big press conference because of its new "shut up and ship" mentality. He elaborated by saying that Microsoft doesn't plan to announce new versions of Windows Phone months before they're available. Instead, Sullivan teased that we could see "some exciting new devices and more interoperability" announced before Microsoft reveals its next operating system. Exactly what Microsoft is planning is a mystery for now, but with today's news about Windows Phone 8 upgradeability and this tease of new hardware and increased interoperability, it seems like Windows Phone fans have a lot to get excited about.