Three sources chime in on Windows Phone 8, painting a similar picture

Get out your speculation buckets, toss a bit of salt over your shoulder and sit down for a tale that has a bit of logic to it that could be the road that Microsoft is taking forward with Windows Phone. The information comes from MSnerd who has a track record of providing insider information and he is claiming that Microsoft will deliver Windows Phone 8 to current device but the path forward is actually a Windows Phone based on the RT platform.

The small bit of information states that the new generation of devices will be based on the Windows RT platform and will utilize a different chip-set than the phones we see on the market today. 

The information is not as cut and dry as it seems though as Wmpoweruser is claiming that Windows Phone 8 will not come to current gen devices with a post penned today. But, what they are saying is that the Windows RT framework will come to current gen devices and this will allow for Windows Phone 8 applications to run on current generation devices.

These two sources appear to be conflicting each other but if you dig a bit deeper, it looks like they are actually saying something similar. Our take is that there is a loss of communication and terminology as the information gets diluted as it makes its way public. It would seem that Windows Phone 8 will be based on RT and that another variation of Windows Phone 7.X will be released that will incorporate the RT framework on to the current platform as suggested by MyNokiaBlog. 

So what we get is that Windows Phone devices on the market today will see an upgrade that makes them compatible with future Windows Phone 8 devices by giving the platform an RT framework. The version of the current platform will go from 7.5 to 7.7(rumored) and an all new Windows Phone 8 variant will roll out (Apollo) but all applications will be compatible thanks to a Windows RT framework for 7.7.

Stick around, June 20th is right around the corner and this picture should become a lot more clear as Microsoft gears up for its developers conference. 

Sources: WMpoweruser | Twitter | My Nokia Blog

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MS should use something besides a tower cam shot of the Apollo 11 liftoff from 1969 for it's phone. Heck, most people under the age of 50 probably don't know what that is. On second thought...considering most "youngsters" don't know what it is, I guess it looks like something from the future LOL.

naap51stang said,
MS should use something besides a tower cam shot of the Apollo 11 liftoff from 1969 for it's phone. Heck, most people under the age of 50 probably don't know what that is. On second thought...considering most "youngsters" don't know what it is, I guess it looks like something from the future LOL.

its fitting seeing as most people dont know what windows phone is anyway

Windows Phone Mango is branded as Windows Phone 7.5 although internally the version number is 7.1. If the 7.7 upgrade brings enough Windows Phone 8 features to WP7.x devices and use the same development framework as WP8 devices, Microsoft can still brand it as Windows Phone 8. Problem solved.

As many of us suspected, Windows Phone 8 won't be available for current gen devices as an upgrade. That really sucks for anyone who just bought a Nokia Lumia phone.

Eh gotten burnt a couple times in the past by Android, so went in with zero expectations when I bought a 900 for me and a 710 for the wife. Still happy with the devices, and since we're still getting updates and it looks like we'll compatible with the newer apps when they start rolling out, no complaints.

Max Norris said,
Eh gotten burnt a couple times in the past by Android, so went in with zero expectations when I bought a 900 for me and a 710 for the wife. Still happy with the devices, and since we're still getting updates and it looks like we'll compatible with the newer apps when they start rolling out, no complaints.
Don't encourage simplezz. He's an Android troll that hopes that Windows Phone sinks to the same level as Android, and he is unable to accept the reality of Android's fragmentation (flatly denying it in the face of evidence). I can only assume that he needs some other set of phones to have practically no support after their release to justify his support of Android.

Amusingly, if this set of rumors proves true, then it's still greater support than almost all Android phones. Unamusingly, I would still be pretty peeved at getting a half-done OS update with just an API tacked in, immediately deprecating my device even if it does keep it going for a few more months.

Well June 20 should be interesting, hope we don't have to wait till the end of the year for WP8 devices. My WP Omnia has become a bit dated, would love a WP8 device but my carrier just sent me a shiny new IP4s, if were not getting WP8 till end of the year may be back to iphone :-\

And there I was thinking Windows Phone was going to be providing the "one glove fits all" solution to the supposed horrors of Android fragmentation. Now it turns out that *pause for gasp* Microsoft are also going to leave dated devices behind? Well I never! It turns out that keeping one eye on the future and the other in the past isn't as easy as Microsoft fans made it out to be.

Leave them behind? This article specifically states they'll be updating them with the new application framework to allow the new applications.

~Johnny said,
Leave them behind? This article specifically states they'll be updating them with the new application framework to allow the new applications.

Fanboy much? This so called framework is much akin to Win32s - when you installed that, did you feel your Windows 3.11 magically turned into Windows 95 or NT? If anything this will burden developers with unnecessary support and compatibility support.

~Johnny said,
Leave them behind? This article specifically states they'll be updating them with the new application framework to allow the new applications.

Will phones also see most of the latest OS features?

~Johnny said,
Leave them behind? This article specifically states they'll be updating them with the new application framework to allow the new applications.

But the article does not come from MS, does it? So far their silence is......... unnerving?

Second year I was sure I'd be getting a Windows Phone, second year where Microsoft blew it for me. First no Dutch language support, now most likely no upgrade path for current phones.

Terracotta said,
Why is the older Windows logo being used? I thought Microsoft changed it quite some time ago.

WIndows 8 logo doesn't apply to Windows Phone.

Terracotta said,
Why is the older Windows logo being used? I thought Microsoft changed it quite some time ago.

They will probably show the new logo during the event.

Well my Samsung Galaxy S2 contract is up in about 8 months time, which puts me in the position of seriously considering Windows Phone 8 for my next upgrade

I considered WP7 this last time around, but there were no compelling hardware devices available at the time. Those that were available, didn't really appeal to me.

Microsoft simply won't be able to convince me that they can't do Windows Phone 8 identically on existing devices as they can on new devices (not counting obvious changes like faster graphics chips or the like). As the current path, if accurate, is saying Microsoft is building Windows Phone around single chipsets period, which I'm not sure is good long-term.

They are putting themselves in a situation where they have to cut off 2nd gen devices on updates post Windows Phone 8. Not good when Apple is pumping out updates to the 3GS still...

Since Windows Phone has had very strict chassis requirements they should be able to support the same Gen 1 and Gen 1 chips (since they use the same chipset) alongside the newer WP8 chips. Allowing them to push updates to the devices as long as they possibly can to ensure they can compete with Apple in the update arena.

I wish I were going to the June 20 event as I would want a serious technical explanation as to why this isn't possible if these rumors are right.

Frazell Thomas said,
Microsoft simply won't be able to convince me that they can't do Windows Phone 8 identically on existing devices as they can on new devices (not counting obvious changes like faster graphics chips or the like). As the current path, if accurate, is saying Microsoft is building Windows Phone around single chipsets period, which I'm not sure is good long-term.

They are putting themselves in a situation where they have to cut off 2nd gen devices on updates post Windows Phone 8. Not good when Apple is pumping out updates to the 3GS still...

Since Windows Phone has had very strict chassis requirements they should be able to support the same Gen 1 and Gen 1 chips (since they use the same chipset) alongside the newer WP8 chips. Allowing them to push updates to the devices as long as they possibly can to ensure they can compete with Apple in the update arena.

I wish I were going to the June 20 event as I would want a serious technical explanation as to why this isn't possible if these rumors are right.

Huh? Apple doesn't have an identical version of iOS 4 on the 3GS. Some features are stripped and removed.

That's exactly what MS is doing. It makes perfect sense.

andrewbares said,

Huh? Apple doesn't have an identical version of iOS 4 on the 3GS. Some features are stripped and removed.

That's exactly what MS is doing. It makes perfect sense.


Apple doesn't even have an identical version of iOS 5 of the iPhone 4 as they do the iPhone 4S! Some features are stripped out and removed.

andrewbares said,

Huh? Apple doesn't have an identical version of iOS 4 on the 3GS. Some features are stripped and removed.

That's exactly what MS is doing. It makes perfect sense.

Features being removed makes sense, of course. The distinction here though is Microsoft is not running the same OS on both. The WP7 devices will get some final version of WP7 which carries with it some features and WP8 devices will get a separate OS. Meaning Microsoft will stop updates pretty quickly after Apollo for those devices since the OS itself will be gone.

Apple, as far as I'm aware, maintains one core version of iOS and it toggles features dynamically based on the hardware it is on when it comes to the iPhone. I could be wrong on that understanding, but I think the iPhone 3GS or even 4 are all running iOS 5.1.1.

Microsoft is going to leave the market with TWO Windows Phone OSs WP7+ (or 7.6 or whatever cleaver name they come up with) and WP8. I think that is a bad idea.

andrewbares said,

Huh? Apple doesn't have an identical version of iOS 4 on the 3GS. Some features are stripped and removed.

That's exactly what MS is doing. It makes perfect sense.


this.

Frazell Thomas said,

Features being removed makes sense, of course. The distinction here though is Microsoft is not running the same OS on both. The WP7 devices will get some final version of WP7 which carries with it some features and WP8 devices will get a separate OS. Meaning Microsoft will stop updates pretty quickly after Apollo for those devices since the OS itself will be gone.

Apple, as far as I'm aware, maintains one core version of iOS and it toggles features dynamically based on the hardware it is on when it comes to the iPhone. I could be wrong on that understanding, but I think the iPhone 3GS or even 4 are all running iOS 5.1.1.

Microsoft is going to leave the market with TWO Windows Phone OSs WP7+ (or 7.6 or whatever cleaver name they come up with) and WP8. I think that is a bad idea.

Maybe a bad idea, maybe not. Most people will upgrade their phones. The reality is, Windows Phone hasn't sold a boat load yet, so the number of users who don't upgrade their phone after a few years will be very minimal. Apple's userbase is much bigger and so there would be more people who don't update their OS version, yet still a minority of iPhone users (and these people are unlikely to care about new features). Therefore, it makes sense for MS to cut the cord after Apollo, if need be, and continue with Apple's line of thinking for future devices; which seems to be the case considering the push on WinRT/Win8.

keyboardP said,

Maybe a bad idea, maybe not. Most people will upgrade their phones. The reality is, Windows Phone hasn't sold a boat load yet, so the number of users who don't upgrade their phone after a few years will be very minimal. Apple's userbase is much bigger and so there would be more people who don't update their OS version, yet still a minority of iPhone users (and these people are unlikely to care about new features). Therefore, it makes sense for MS to cut the cord after Apollo, if need be, and continue with Apple's line of thinking for future devices; which seems to be the case considering the push on WinRT/Win8.

I completely disagree. Microsoft has been pushing, since the Windows 8 announcement, the idea that any Windows 7 machine will run it. That's a huge difference from what the fear/suggestion is with deprecating existing devices with respect to phones (complete reversal in fact).

Also, as an owner of multiple Windows Phones, I would be incredibly disappointed if Microsoft did some weird split upgrade. Supporting Win RT would most likely keep most devices relevant, but it almost certainly implies worse performance and a less compelling platform to reasonably target, ignoring the hardware (unoptimized kernel). It also immediately adds complexity beyond multicore (to thread, or not to thread) in terms of targeted compilations. Just give us one OS!

As a community, we cannot give Microsoft the impression that it's okay to leave us behind simply because it's convenient. As someone pointed out above: Microsoft made the Chassis for WP to simplify development, and I always believed that was to simplify the transition onto the Windows 8 kernel (one chipset to adapt). If this is not the case, then Microsoft's "the smartphone beta test is over" commercial is going to be annoyingly ironic.

With all of that said, I hope that MSnerd is proven right, and all current devices get the OS. I expect them to because they technically should, and Microsoft has been on a roll playing the good guy; let's hope that charge stays the same.

pickypg said,
I completely disagree. Microsoft has been pushing, since the Windows 8 announcement, the idea that any Windows 7 machine will run it. That's a huge difference from what the fear/suggestion is with deprecating existing devices with respect to phones (complete reversal in fact).

Also, as an owner of multiple Windows Phones, I would be incredibly disappointed if Microsoft did some weird split upgrade. Supporting Win RT would most likely keep most devices relevant, but it almost certainly implies worse performance and a less compelling platform to reasonably target, ignoring the hardware (unoptimized kernel). It also immediately adds complexity beyond multicore (to thread, or not to thread) in terms of targeted compilations. Just give us one OS!

As a community, we cannot give Microsoft the impression that it's okay to leave us behind simply because it's convenient. As someone pointed out above: Microsoft made the Chassis for WP to simplify development, and I always believed that was to simplify the transition onto the Windows 8 kernel (one chipset to adapt). If this is not the case, then Microsoft's "the smartphone beta test is over" commercial is going to be annoyingly ironic.

With all of that said, I hope that MSnerd is proven right, and all current devices get the OS. I expect them to because they technically should, and Microsoft has been on a roll playing the good guy; let's hope that charge stays the same.

I understand where you're coming from, but I don't see how your method of having the same OS is necessarily more efficient. For example, current devices do not need support for dual/quad core processors, or NFC chips. Therefore, there is no need to encumber the older devices, with older hardware, with all of this extra baggage, unless they can do it without affecting performance. I'd rather have two separate upgrades if that means performance is maintained on older devices.

At the moment there's no official word, but I fail to see why you would be disappointed if older devices got a different update if it has no overall effect? Lets say full blown Apollo is version 8.0, then the update that doesn't have dual core support is 7.8 and that's distributed to older devices. You wouldn't know the difference at all if this was the case. As long as MS manage to keep update the software features, I feel the 'split-upgrade' issue is overhyped.

Of course, I'd like to see one OS and hope MS maintain this from Apollo onwards (at the very least), but the last thing I want is for MS to waste resources trying to maintain legacy support for each update they bring out just for a *very* small number of WP7 owners who don't plan on upgrading their phones for many years.

keyboardP said,

I understand where you're coming from, but I don't see how your method of having the same OS is necessarily more efficient. For example, current devices do not need support for dual/quad core processors, or NFC chips. Therefore, there is no need to encumber the older devices, with older hardware,

Hello Mr. "Older devices"........
Lumia 800 and 900 are sold now! Four months ago I paid $550 for a Lumia 800!!!!
We are not talking about old Getaway boxes unable to run W8 here.................

Fritzly said,

Hello Mr. "Older devices"........
Lumia 800 and 900 are sold now! Four months ago I paid $550 for a Lumia 800!!!!
We are not talking about old Getaway boxes unable to run W8 here.................

Older relative to Windows Phone 8 devices But I think the point still stands. Current Lumias don't require dual core support, so there may be a separate release of "Apollo" which doesn't include support for that (for performance reasons), but includes the main WP8 features. As I say, I'd like WP8 to be the same across the board, but I'd prefer performance over unusable functionality if that choice had to be made. What I wouldn't be happy with is no upgrade of any sorts.

As a published Windows Phone app designer, I am reluctant to do any more work on Windows Phone, or Windows 8 app design until I know what is happening with Windows Phone 8.

I suspect the Windows RT dev platform will take over on Phone 8 and the Windows 8 dev tools will replace the WP7 ones. With the old Silverlight based WP7 platform emulated, or supported in some fashion.

I want to know this information, before I invest a lot of time working on them.

mdtaUK said,
As a published Windows Phone app designer, I am reluctant to do any more work on Windows Phone, or Windows 8 app design until I know what is happening with Windows Phone 8.

I suspect the Windows RT dev platform will take over on Phone 8 and the Windows 8 dev tools will replace the WP7 ones. With the old Silverlight based WP7 platform emulated, or supported in some fashion.

I want to know this information, before I invest a lot of time working on them.

I share your same concern also as a published app dev.

mdtaUK said,
As a published Windows Phone app designer, I am reluctant to do any more work on Windows Phone, or Windows 8 app design until I know what is happening with Windows Phone 8.

I suspect the Windows RT dev platform will take over on Phone 8 and the Windows 8 dev tools will replace the WP7 ones. With the old Silverlight based WP7 platform emulated, or supported in some fashion.

I want to know this information, before I invest a lot of time working on them.

What you said is correct. Silverlight will be replaced and the development platform will be about the same as Windows 8.

So start focusing on Win8 right now and you'll probably be able to throw your code over onto WP8.

mdtaUK said,
As a published Windows Phone app designer, I am reluctant to do any more work on Windows Phone, or Windows 8 app design until I know what is happening with Windows Phone 8.

I want to know this information, before I invest a lot of time working on them.

Why not - if they're using the Windows 8 WinRT Framework, than it basically incudes Silverlight code anyway (with a few more additions). If they're continuing the Windows Phone 7 framework, it is Siverlight. Either way, the code experience is basically Silverlight, and all your current experience and nearly all of your code carries over anyway regardless.

Edited by ~Johnny, Jun 7 2012, 9:04pm :

~Johnny said,
Why not - if they're using the Windows 8 WinRT Framework, than it basically incudes Silverlight code anyway (with a few more additions). If they're continuing the Windows Phone 7 framework, it is Siverlight. Either way, the code experience is basically Silverlight, and all your current experience and nearly all of your code carries over anyway regardless.

WinRT is actually quite different to the WP7 Silverlight platform. Also, if the next Windows Phone is using a different platform for apps, I will need to see how I would port or adapt my current apps for the new platform. And then if I am considering moving to Windows 8 for apps also, I will have to design to support the two UI form factors.

It is the lack of information, and seeing how Microsoft have handled the transition to Metro, that is causing me to hold back on future ideas, and big app updates.

mdtaUK said,

WinRT is actually quite different to the WP7 Silverlight platform. Also, if the next Windows Phone is using a different platform for apps, I will need to see how I would port or adapt my current apps for the new platform. And then if I am considering moving to Windows 8 for apps also, I will have to design to support the two UI form factors.

It is the lack of information, and seeing how Microsoft have handled the transition to Metro, that is causing me to hold back on future ideas, and big app updates.

It's not quite different. Ignore Microsoft's fancy marketing fluff about this being all new and not being .NET based - The XAML Model is basically the same as SIlverlights (a small change with declarations in XAML is as far as it goes really), and the base supported libraries are more or less the same, if occasionally renamed or shuffled elsewhere in the framework. There's the benefit of the new async keyword, but it's the same methods, largely the same events, etc. You get additional controls and hooks into the OS that Silverlight doesn't provide, and there's a change or two to the way settings are stored, but I've ported 8 WP applications (for practice mostly) now each in just an hour two, including implementing OS features (not including properly optimising their UI's for 8, but if WinRT were on WP, you wouldn't need to do this much).

Sure, if you're talking about the HTML & JS part of WinRT, it's quite different, but hte XAML / C# side is very much similar to Silverlight. (In fact, if you go back to earliest rumours about Windows 8 you'll also see the Jupiter framework was initially based on a desktop packaged versions of Silverlight applications, and WinRT is still that - it's built around it)

mdtaUK said,
As a published Windows Phone app designer, I am reluctant to do any more work on Windows Phone, or Windows 8 app design until I know what is happening with Windows Phone 8.

I suspect the Windows RT dev platform will take over on Phone 8 and the Windows 8 dev tools will replace the WP7 ones. With the old Silverlight based WP7 platform emulated, or supported in some fashion.

I want to know this information, before I invest a lot of time working on them.

chances are you make ****ty apps or are a ****ty programmer if you are being such a whiner as if silverlight is replaced with winrt, you can always port,its not that hard. ive ported huge apps already from silverlight to winrt. i would expect this kind of whinerry from someone porting a big project in asm from one architecture to another. grow up man

If all older phones get is a subset of WP8 for technical reasons but it's enough in the update to make it worth while I think people, at least most, will be fine with it. Hell of a lot better than getting no update after Tango period. Only time will tell, the 20th can't come quick enough, unless they say nothing at the dev event. I think they will set the record straight though, for better or worse.

GP007 said,
If all older phones get is a subset of WP8 for technical reasons but it's enough in the update to make it worth while I think people, at least most, will be fine with it. Hell of a lot better than getting no update after Tango period. Only time will tell, the 20th can't come quick enough, unless they say nothing at the dev event. I think they will set the record straight though, for better or worse.

Agreed. Some features may be unavailable due to technical requirements, but they should really try to bring as much in the update as they can. Especially considering how harsh competition is in this space. I hope we get some news on the 20th...

GP007 said,
If all older phones get is a subset of WP8 for technical reasons but it's enough in the update to make it worth while I think people, at least most, will be fine with it. Hell of a lot better than getting no update after Tango period. Only time will tell, the 20th can't come quick enough, unless they say nothing at the dev event. I think they will set the record straight though, for better or worse.

More importantly if older devices do get the RT framework that means access to updated features like VPN, better networking for Multiplayer, and most of the new apps for native WP8 devices. Cant complain too much about that, keep your old device with access to new software features/apps or upgrade and get both software and hardware advancements.

And devs only need to target one broad platform, so the fragmentation cry from the haters becomes moot. Cant wait to see my Lumia 900 rocking that update.

efjay said,

More importantly if older devices do get the RT framework that means access to updated features like VPN, better networking for Multiplayer, and most of the new apps for native WP8 devices. Cant complain too much about that, keep your old device with access to new software features/apps or upgrade and get both software and hardware advancements.

And devs only need to target one broad platform, so the fragmentation cry from the haters becomes moot. Cant wait to see my Lumia 900 rocking that update.

Agreed. I hope all of these features come to the current devices...

GP007 said,
If all older phones get is a subset of WP8 for technical reasons but it's enough in the update to make it worth while I think people, at least most, will be fine with it. Hell of a lot better than getting no update after Tango period. Only time will tell, the 20th can't come quick enough, unless they say nothing at the dev event. I think they will set the record straight though, for better or worse.
If all of the features come to older devices, then it does not make much sense that the OS itself could not make the jump either. The chipset support can be added to the OS, and it almost certainly already exists as they were developing Windows 8 to run on the earlier phones to test the kernel.

I can understand not getting any feature that requires missing hardware, but that's unlikely to be the case.

As a developer, it makes very little sense to me that Microsoft would spend all of the effort making Mango, and then Tango only to discard that entire segment of the market. It makes less sense that they would waste time backporting Windows RT to an unsupported kernel (Windows CE) rather than pushing the entire OS onto the chipset that has been proven to support it.

I'm with Frazell below: it will be very hard to convince me that my Lumia 900 cannot support Windows Phone 8 because I understand the technical nature, and I know that it can. It will be even harder to convince me to buy a WP8 device instead of the next iPhone in that case as well, and I love both Metro and the WP platform. Probably the only saving grace is that I cannot stand Apple's 30% money grab with their in-app purchases, but that might not be enough.

Make the smart choice, Microsoft! Don't deprecate 3 month old devices. Even running Windows RT, this will immediately fragment the market between OS versions, and set a horrible precedent for the platform.