We’ve caught ourselves in some twisted back-and-forth with our favorite device manufacturers. Several years ago, they didn’t care so much about software updates. A few years ago, we didn’t care so much about software updates. I can’t quite place when the transition happened, when we all suddenly became so focused on those future pieces of software, but there’s no denying that it’s not just the people talking about it anymore.

Just look at the product launches. Most recently we watched HTC launch their new One device, the flagship of 2013. In typical Android-based device launch fashion, despite the handset being brand new, it’s not running the newest version of Android. Indeed, the One is launching with Android 4.1.x out of the box. But, here’s the kicker: HTC has already stated that the update to Android 4.2 is scheduled soon after the device’s launch.

And now, Microsoft is talking about the future, “reassuring” folks who have already purchased Windows Phone 8-based handsets, like the Lumia 920 or the Windows Phone 8X, that their device won’t be left in the cold when updates for their mobile platform trickle down the pipe. You’re safe. Your phone can be updated.

Okay, so that’s great, those devices (and all the other ones running Microsoft’s mobile OS) won’t be left behind. Of course, there’s a reason Microsoft is trying to calm any worry that might be out there, especially with Windows Phone rumors starting to pick up speed. We all know what happened with Windows Phone 7 devices, and the fact they didn’t get updated to Windows Phone 8. Some of them are running Windows Phone 7.8. It’s not quite the same. Is it mostly the same? Yes. But, still, it isn’t the software that people want or expected when they bought their phone.

HTC isn’t the only company that’s talked about a software update following a product’s unveiling. Motorola’s done it, too. It’s just the nature of the beast, it would seem, if you’re using Android. Is it all that bad? It used to be, sure. But now that Android is as good as it is, being upgraded to Android 4.2 shouldn’t be that huge of a deal for most people.

And this is where one would say, “But most people don’t care about software updates!” Yeah, I know. But obviously someone does. And no, it isn’t just to appease us “tech people.” The truth of the matter is, the moment you announce a new device and it doesn’t have the newest software –that’s currently available--, the conversation isn’t about “what’s coming next.” You’re launching a new device on old software. Oh, you’re going to update it at some point in the future? Of course you’re going to update it sometime in the future.

Or you won’t. Because that’s happened before. Phones forgotten. Never updated. Left to decay with their already ancient software. Left to live on the island of non-updated devices.

As I mentioned earlier, we’re caught in some strange version of the “chicken and egg” game. Did manufacturers start caring about software updates because the people started caring about software updates? Or did people start caring about software updates because companies talk about them?

My uncle has a Motorola DROID RAZR. Before his phone got updated to Android 4.1, he saw a commercial on TV that showed the DROID RAZR M. It was the one that featured Google Now, front and center. He didn’t care about the phone, but he asked me what the software was. I told him, and told him what I thought of it. He asked me if he could get it, and I said not yet, because his phone didn’t have the right version of Android.

In that moment, my uncle cared about which version of Android he was running. Before that? Not at all. After all, he bought the phone for what it did at the time, not for what it could do eventually. That changed when he was made aware by a national commercial showing Android’s new features. Now he asks me if there’s anything new coming to his phone.

He’s been converted.

Here’s my question to you, though: Should Microsoft be bringing up future Windows Phone updates at all? What happens when they talk it up, and then at some point down the road they can’t update every single Windows Phone 8-based device? That’s a pretty bad moment for Microsoft, if that were to happen. So why not just leave it alone? Let me know what you think.

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Comments & discussions  

18 Reactions to this post

"Microsoft's busy confirming upgrades down the line. Does that make you feel safer in purchasing a new Windows Phone 8 device?"

Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
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Josef Ruiz
Josef Ruiz Doubt it. Talent Trust - Offshore with a difference
Anonymous I bought a Lumia 920 a few weeks ago and haven't looked back. I haven't experienced any issues with it. I think the issue with Windows 7 upgrade is that it was Microsoft's first foray in a totally different kind of mobile OS, so they left a lot of things out of consideration when developing it. I love Windows Phone. I don't understand why people badmouth it so much. It's the most beautiful, fluid and stable mobile OS that I know of (don't know about BlackBerry's new one as I haven't trialled it yet though). As for apps, there is no shortage. I have all I need and more, and Instagram's on my iPad anyway.
Jeff Seaver
Jeff Seaver No way using WP8 phones when have option of using my iPhone or Android. Not one reason can show me me should of use WP8
Kevin Joel
Kevin Joel forgot my DVP that my bid sis is enjoying after getting off my touch 4g
Kevin Joel
Kevin Joel make that 50. my family own 2 lumia 920s we make fun of dumb cousins with iPhones =D
Eric Magana
Eric Magana Ha at least windows is a smooth os that you don't have to root it make it better.
Eric Mitchell
Eric Mitchell All of the new WP8 devices should receive the next upgrade. If not, they are worst than Android.
Erik Rosli
Erik Rosli i think wp8 is awesome. however i need to point out some popular apps take too long for developers to port. i.e. still no call support from viber while its ios/android counterpart have already been enjoying the call function for a while... smh
Bo Abe Vorachack
Bo Abe Vorachack I love windows n android, that's why I have both:)
CeeGii Borels
CeeGii Borels theres 48 of us you dumbass fandroids and iSheeps
Christopher Williams
Christopher Williams WP8 is such a boring mobile OS.
Ashley Hinds
Ashley Hinds I'm sure the 47 people who bought one feel better with their purchase now
Ken Reil
Ken Reil Nope. Their phones still suck.
Stephen Victor
Stephen Victor The new wp will come with a new hat.
Michael Scott
Michael Scott I gave up on their slow ass. Bought a Galaxy Note 2
Brandon Holley
Brandon Holley Well atleast they're confirming upgrades instead of updates, apparently that's a big difference in the tech world.
Rich Field
Rich Field WP8 is garbage.
Charles ThreePercenter Berg
Charles ThreePercenter Berg no. windows sucks

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