Will Windows Phone 8 run on Windows Phone 7 devices?

Microsoft's Windows Phone 7, launched in 2010, represented the company's latest efforts to make a dent in the smartphone industry. In 2011, Microsoft launched a major update, Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) that could run on existing Windows Phone 7 devices. The next update, code named Tango, will be released in April and will again run on those same devices.

But thoughts are already moving towards Windows Phone 8, code named Apollo, which will be the biggest update yet to Microsoft's mobile operating system. One of the big questions outstanding is will Windows Phone 8 be made available to current Windows Phone device owners.

In a Microsoft published transcript of an investor meeting this week at the World Mobile Congress, the current head of Windows Phone, Terry Myerson, was asked in a Q&A session if a Windows Phone 7 user could update to Windows Phone 8 with a simple download. However, Myerson dodged the question, saying:

We just haven't announced this product.  So, it's kind of -- I can share what our application compatibility goals are, and applications have been written and published in the marketplace today.  The same applications to be able to download it in a future release and run.

So the message seems to be while Microsoft is promising that older Windows Phone 7 apps will be able to run on Windows Phone 8, there still some question as to if Microsoft will offer Apollo for older Windows Phone devices.

In the same transcript, Myerson also takes a shot at both Apple and Google in terms of offering new versions of their iOS and Android software on older smartphones. He states:

Statistically speaking, no Android phones get upgraded, none, ever. They have big bugs, they don't even get patched.  That's what we're seeing statistically out there.  In the case of Apple, they've shipped OS updates to hardware that makes it unusable.  It's a great hardware sales tool as far as I can tell.  Install this OS which makes your hardware unusably slow, so then you feel compelled to go back to the store and buy a new piece of hardware.

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I think the first-gen WP7 devices may not be upgradable (HTC Mozart, etc etc). Second gen WP7.5 devices will be upgraded (Lumia series, etc etc).

Then again, there's always that Lumia 610 running at 800Mhz. It is a WP7.5 device, it is second gen, and yet, i'm not sure if it would be upgradable.

This is kinda confusing.

He hasn't really said or hinted at a yes or no answer to the question. I think MS could offer it as on unsupported update option that might even void the carrier warranty on older WP7 devices for those who want to do it. The thing is that while it'll probably run on 1Ghz and 512MB of ram I'd say you'll be missing out on newer things. And at some point you'll want to upgrade to a newer WP8 device when things like games start to ask for more RAM.

Heck, I bet the OS itself will run fine on WP7 devices, but that it'll be games and some apps or newer hardware specific features that will push people to upgrade to a new phone. That phone wide bitlocker (if true) support in WP8 is probably something WP7 devices can't do, I don't think any current WP come with a TPM chip, which is something bitlocker needs IIRC.

So, ya, OS will run but you'll miss out on some things I'm sure and newer games will end up asking for better hardware to run smooth.

GP007 said,
He hasn't really said or hinted at a yes or no answer to the question. I think MS could offer it as on unsupported update option that might even void the carrier warranty on older WP7 devices for those who want to do it. The thing is that while it'll probably run on 1Ghz and 512MB of ram I'd say you'll be missing out on newer things. And at some point you'll want to upgrade to a newer WP8 device when things like games start to ask for more RAM.

Heck, I bet the OS itself will run fine on WP7 devices, but that it'll be games and some apps or newer hardware specific features that will push people to upgrade to a new phone. That phone wide bitlocker (if true) support in WP8 is probably something WP7 devices can't do, I don't think any current WP come with a TPM chip, which is something bitlocker needs IIRC.

So, ya, OS will run but you'll miss out on some things I'm sure and newer games will end up asking for better hardware to run smooth.

I tend to agree; besides BitLocker rumors mentioned that the ability to use swappable SD cards should be back and the phone, again rumors, will sync with desktops with a dedicated app not Zune; Now they could surely make this new app working with Wp7 devices but I personally believe that in the end MS and OEMs will not make WP8 available for older devices.

Quote: 'In the case of Apple, they've shipped OS updates to hardware that makes it unusable. It's a great hardware sales tool as far as I can tell. Install this OS which makes your hardware unusably slow, so then you feel compelled to go back to the store and buy a new piece of hardware.'
This is totally correct!

Yeah but if Microsoft understands that, why can't it do things differently and support WP7 devices as an upgradeable device?

companies should provides at least two years of guaranteed updates to coincide with the two year mandatory contracts

I would almost rather have Android so that I could hack my phone and install an always up-to-date ROM. ATT is holding back updates right now and it ****es me off. I wanted to avoid hacks and flashing etc.

HeresyProgram said,
I would almost rather have Android so that I could hack my phone and install an always up-to-date ROM. ATT is holding back updates right now and it ****es me off. I wanted to avoid hacks and flashing etc.

You are clueless as you can update WP7 without waiting for carrier push

Would be a pretty big mistake for MS not to provide the update and or just pass it off to the OEMS to provide it or not...you will end up with a situation with Windows Mobile or *some* android devices where the user never gets an upgrade.

Need to copy apple in this regard...you can upgrade but everyone knows your 3gs running iOS5 just isnt going to be as snappy.

Eitherway hope they clarify their intent.

I have to say I am pretty unimpressed with that.

One of the reasons I bought this platform was to avoid that kind of bull****, and they said they were going to ensure everyone got the upgrades/no-one was left behind etc.

If my phone doesn't get it, I won't be staying with the WP platform.

articuno1au said,
I have to say I am pretty unimpressed with that.

One of the reasons I bought this platform was to avoid that kind of bull****, and they said they were going to ensure everyone got the upgrades/no-one was left behind etc.

If my phone doesn't get it, I won't be staying with the WP platform.

well, after two years of getting all the updates... well id rather wp8 advance forward with its processing power and such then lag behind because of people who dont want to renew their contracts for free (or an amount <100)

The only reason i would be mad is if my wp7 device can support wp8 and they just decide not to bother. But if wp8 demands all this new procsing power and such then it is not Microsofts fault, but really only our whining taking place.

articuno1au said,
I have to say I am pretty unimpressed with that.
One of the reasons I bought this platform was to avoid that kind of bull****, and they said they were going to ensure everyone got the upgrades/no-one was left behind etc.

You didn't really buy into that "No Fragmentation", "Always Updated" marketing speak did you? Companies often make promises they can't honour. Although in this case we don't know for certain. WP is still relatively new and so hardware and application requirements don't vary too much.

No platform can stay harmonised forever, not if it wants to get the latest and greatest. Progress and compatibility are always at odds with each other.

articuno1au said,

If my phone doesn't get it, I won't be staying with the WP platform.

In all fairness, every platform you use is going to suffer from the same problem.

articuno1au said,
I have to say I am pretty unimpressed with that.

One of the reasons I bought this platform was to avoid that kind of bull****, and they said they were going to ensure everyone got the upgrades/no-one was left behind etc.

If my phone doesn't get it, I won't be staying with the WP platform.

Care to name any OFFICIAL sources saying you will be able to tun WP8 on current WP devices?..

mrpakiman said,
i thought most of windows phone 8 would allow better specs?

yeah, id be worried about this. If the wp8 demands more in terms of basic usage etc, then it (wp7) will not see an upgrade.

Like they went on with in the article, Iphones usually get all the updates, but then the new one runs slow on the older devices (whiche aparently make others buy the newer iphone). It sounds like they wanted to avoid this. But who knows right? i doubt wp8 will require so much power for all its features.

mrpakiman said,
i thought most of windows phone 8 would allow better specs?

it will allow for better specs, but I don't think that will cause the OS to become slow. This isn't android or something.

I just bought Nokia Lumia 800 and they better release WP8 for it when it comes out or I will buy Lumia with WP8

wrack said,
I just bought Nokia Lumia 800 and they better release WP8 for it when it comes out or I will buy Lumia with WP8

That will be the Lumia 1000!

Ok, reading a bit too much into this... The guy would lose his job if he gave away more information about WP8, especially if he had to offer a conditional statement of why it would or would not work.

With Microsoft using WP7 devices to run Windows 8 ARM desktop (the full NT OS on a WP7 phone), there is a good chance WP7 devices will be able to run WP8.

The only reasons they wouldn't would be some amazing set of new features or hardware requirements that the WP7 devices don't have.

His 'dodge' is a coin toss of what is the right answer, and 'avoiding' the question should not be seen as 'no'. If he was a vendor with just an NDA he wouldn't be able to answer the question, let alone an employee that would be jeopardizing his job.

I'd say it won't happen, at least for the bulk of devices. It would be nice if they released some handsets in the second half of this year that were "Windows Phone 8 ready" though.

Brody McKee said,
I'd say it won't happen, at least for the bulk of devices. It would be nice if they released some handsets in the second half of this year that were "Windows Phone 8 ready" though.

But I expect WP8 in the 2nd half of this year, so any new phones then will be WP8 devices. To be honest I think the newer mango/7.5 devices will probably get it while the first gen 7.0 devices like my LG might not get it. And really, when WP8 comes out my LG is going to be 2 years old, that's around the time most people go get a new phone anyways. I might just do the same for the right device/price.

That bit about android devices never being update is BS. All three of my devices have seen between 2 and 5 updates, with one being a major upgrade to ICS.

SharpGreen said,
That bit about android devices never being update is BS. All three of my devices have seen between 2 and 5 updates, with one being a major upgrade to ICS.

Well that's true for you. However for the average android users they don't know what OS they have, and they certainly don't upgrade it unless the have a geek friend doing it for them. Upgrades are scary you know. Also they don't want change.

SharpGreen said,
That bit about android devices never being update is BS. All three of my devices have seen between 2 and 5 updates, with one being a major upgrade to ICS.

3 Devices? Wow, quite the fanboi, aye?

In the real world, you can walk into a most cell stores today and still find devices being sold with v1.6, v2.1, etc on them, and they are new devices and NO they will not see any upgrades.

Heck check out the prepaid companies, as they can't afford to rebuild an OS for the phones.

So all devices getting updates/upgrades is in your head, along with the magical unicorns that code Android on their cotton candy pink clouds.

Android is the biggest upgrade nightmare OS model in 20 years, with the exception of some really crap Linux distros.

thenetavenger said,

3 Devices? Wow, quite the fanboi, aye?

In the real world, you can walk into a most cell stores today and still find devices being sold with v1.6, v2.1, etc on them, and they are new devices and NO they will not see any upgrades.

Heck check out the prepaid companies, as they can't afford to rebuild an OS for the phones.

So all devices getting updates/upgrades is in your head, along with the magical unicorns that code Android on their cotton candy pink clouds.

Android is the biggest upgrade nightmare OS model in 20 years, with the exception of some really crap Linux distros.

Please list the model names of each Android device in North America, released in the last 6 months that were released with 2.1 or below. I call BS. There are still a few being released with 2.2, but below that? I don't think so.

nekkidtruth said,

Please list the model names of each Android device in North America, released in the last 6 months that were released with 2.1 or below. I call BS. There are still a few being released with 2.2, but below that? I don't think so.

I honestly dont know for sure if there is 2.1 or below....

But my main concern from what that guy commented further on - is that whatever version you get, you will most likely never be able to upgrade it further. Thats the problem at hand - not that there might be a 1.6 being sold at a store.

--im not Particularly worried about what version is being sold, but if the version sold will be able to upgrade lol. --

auziez said,

I honestly dont know for sure if there is 2.1 or below....

But my main concern from what that guy commented further on - is that whatever version you get, you will most likely never be able to upgrade it further. Thats the problem at hand - not that there might be a 1.6 being sold at a store.

--im not Particularly worried about what version is being sold, but if the version sold will be able to upgrade lol. --

I don't disagree there's an issue, but the issue is one we've created ourselves. People run out and buy the latest device like it's the last phone that's ever going to be made. No one bother's to check whether the phone is going to get any future updates. Others run out and buy the cheapest phone they can find with no regard to what's on it and expect it to receive all future updates.

Changes need to be made on both ends or this will all continue.

SharpGreen said,
That bit about android devices never being update is BS. All three of my devices have seen between 2 and 5 updates, with one being a major upgrade to ICS.

The bit about Apple is BS as well. If I didn't have the option to upgrade my iPhone 4 to iOS5 I would have been pretty ****ed. It hasn't slowed it down whatsoever and I get all the new features. I think the iPhone 4 or above will be able to handle all the new releases (Apple will obviously only support them for a fixed amount of time). The 3GS and below were still pretty mediocre in terms of processor and ram as well as iOS still being far from mature when they were released - a lot of complexity has been added to iOS in the last 2 verions

SharpGreen said,
That bit about android devices never being update is BS. All three of my devices have seen between 2 and 5 updates, with one being a major upgrade to ICS.

So when will we see ICS for HTC desire or even Sensation.. Oh.. wait you won't. At least not in any workable or usable form. Desire could not even upgrade to the next gen version of android without some major consessions.

DomZ said,

The bit about Apple is BS as well. If I didn't have the option to upgrade my iPhone 4 to iOS5 I would have been pretty ****ed. It hasn't slowed it down whatsoever and I get all the new features. I think the iPhone 4 or above will be able to handle all the new releases (Apple will obviously only support them for a fixed amount of time). The 3GS and below were still pretty mediocre in terms of processor and ram as well as iOS still being far from mature when they were released - a lot of complexity has been added to iOS in the last 2 verions

Not really, technically Siri is an iOS 5 feature that's not supported on the iPhone 4. The bit about Apple is 100% true. They make it so compelling to upgrade your hardware because you usually can't get all of the features or it doesn't operate as smoothly with the newest OS when they release it. I'm not trying to speak negatively on Apples behalf, in fact I admire their business practices (except when I want to buy one of their products ), but what was said about apple is true. Just hard to hear sometimes when you buy a lot of their products

paulheu said,

So when will we see ICS for HTC desire or even Sensation.. Oh.. wait you won't. At least not in any workable or usable form. Desire could not even upgrade to the next gen version of android without some major consessions.

Quite soon actually in the case of the Sensation. In fact there was a pre-release build that was leaked not too long ago. Fail.

As for the Desire, there were technical reasons for the lack of updates, chief among them a lack of storage space.

thenetavenger said,

3 Devices? Wow, quite the fanboi, aye?

In the real world, you can walk into a most cell stores today and still find devices being sold with v1.6, v2.1, etc on them, and they are new devices and NO they will not see any upgrades.

Heck check out the prepaid companies, as they can't afford to rebuild an OS for the phones.

So all devices getting updates/upgrades is in your head, along with the magical unicorns that code Android on their cotton candy pink clouds.

Android is the biggest upgrade nightmare OS model in 20 years, with the exception of some really crap Linux distros.

No. It's called upgrading. I had the original Droid, and with my recent upgrade got another one. Then I have an Android tablet.

Given the fact that the local VZW stores don't really sell Windows Phones, it was either another Android device or some bit of apple crap.

I'd like you to go find a new Android device (ie. release in the last year or so) that launched with Android 1.6. I bet you won't find one.

Also I don't know where you got that bit about "all android device getting updates" as it certainly wasn't from me.

Edited by SharpGreen, Mar 5 2012, 3:33am :

Windows Phone 8 has hardware based encryption so its unlikely that Windows Phone 7 devices will work with the newer OS unless they make this hardware optional in the new OS, however that is doubtful as that would lead to some consistency issues moving forward (Some devices would support certain exchange policies while others would not).

tylerc said,
Windows Phone 8 has hardware based encryption so its unlikely that Windows Phone 7 devices will work with the newer OS unless they make this hardware optional in the new OS, however that is doubtful as that would lead to some consistency issues moving forward (Some devices would support certain exchange policies while others would not).

That's not a problem. Certain first gen WP devices don't support features introduced in Mango because they lack the hardware. Nobody expects to get everything in an update, but getting most of it that the hardware can reasonably support is good.

I am not sure how many IT techs are aware of the new MS approach, but let me tell you this, as from Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Sinofsky

Sinofsky's philosophy on Windows 7 was to not make any promises about the product or even discuss anything about the product until Microsoft was sure that it felt like a quality product. This was a radical departure from Microsoft's typical way of handling in-development versions of Windows, which was to publicly share all plans and details about it early in development cycle. Sinofsky also refrained from labeling versions of Windows "major" or "minor", and to instead just call them releases.

This is what they do with all MS products right now.

What are you talking about?

I have an HD7, and it's running on 8107 (the update after Mango / 7.5). No forced patching or custom ROMs here.

Razorfolds said,
What are you talking about?

I have an HD7, and it's running on 8107 (the update after Mango / 7.5). No forced patching or custom ROMs here.

He's probably trolling about the HD2, which was a Windows MOBILE device. They were not up-gradable to Windows Phone because its not the same thing whatsoever.

dtboos said,

He's probably trolling about the HD2, which was a Windows MOBILE device. They were not up-gradable to Windows Phone because its not the same thing whatsoever.


I forgot the existance of a dedicated search button is so important and must be there for wp7 to operate...

Microsoft and HTC never made any promises about the HD2 getting an upgrade to WP7. The community somehow took that as yes it will get an upgrade and kept repeating it for the next 2 years.

If you cared so much about it getting WP7, theres tons of roms available for it on XDA.

n_K said,

I forgot the existance of a dedicated search button is so important and must be there for wp7 to operate...

You never developed anything, did you?
For a developer, the most guarantees you can have the better (minimal screen size, hardware buttons, ...).