Windows Phone design head reveals plans for Windows Phone 8 are 3 years old

It seems WP7forum.ru had an interesting discussion with Eugene Gavrilov, head of design integration for Windows Phone, at a Microsoft conference last week. Gavrilov has been with Microsoft for about 5 years now, from the time the company started rebooting their mobile strategy, so he had some interesting tidbits about Windows Phone 8.

Basically he says that Windows Phone 8 is what they wanted to ship 3 years ago, but it would have been impossible due to all kinds of limiting factors. Instead they took a more limited approach and relied on Windows Phone 7 users to assist in the development process through suggestions and testing.

Talking about the new Start Screen with resizable tiles he reveals that resizable tiles were always a planned feature for Windows Phone but that they never had proper time to implement it in previous versions due to technical limitations.

He also mentions, quite frankly, that Windows Phone 7 was sort of a test version for all their ideas, and that most of the features we now see in Windows Phone 8 were planned from the start but never implemented due to technical limitations and time constraints. In fact, Gravrilov explains, that by the time a version of the OS ships, all the designs and features for the next version have to be planned so the code work can begin right away. This is why designers have to work 6 months and sometimes a year in advance.

Another bit of the interview that’s certainly interesting and encouraging is when he explains that Microsoft does indeed pay a lot of attention to suggestions from users on their User Voice page, each suggestion being collected, assessed and reviewed for technical feasibility.

Lastly he mentions that Windows Phone 7.8 might be the last version for the legacy OS, which goes against another rumor that has been circulating lately, but that it all depends on how the markets in India, Russia and China respond to the Windows Phone 7.8 devices that are currently being launched there.

Be sure to check the source link for the entire interview. Fair warning though: it’s in Russian. And drop us a line below with your comments.

​Source: WP7forum.ru via: WMPU

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it should be no surprise that those features were planned three years ago. FEATURE PHONES three years ago had features that wp7 never had. WP7 had many holes in it

Talking about the new Start Screen with resizable tiles he reveals that resizable tiles were always a planned feature for Windows Phone but that they never had proper time to implement it in previous versions due to technical limitations.

That has to be the biggest load of nonsense I've read in a while. Pretty much all, if not all, Windows Phone 7 phones will be upgraded to 7.8, which includes the new Start screen with resizeable tiles. So what technical limitations where there when those phones hit the streets that suddenly have been resolved in 2012?

.Neo said,

That has to be the biggest load of nonsense I've read in a while. Pretty much all, if not all, Windows Phone 7 phones will be upgraded to 7.8, which includes the new Start screen with resizeable tiles. So what technical limitations where there when those phones hit the streets that suddenly have been resolved in 2012?

I think he meant technical limitation also known as "time"

I've had a WP7 device since day 1. I never felt ripped off or as a "test subject" ( * though the phone did keep notifying me about cake). All of this faux anger is just bull****, Microsoft never did anything wrong. If you really want to blame someone you can blame Nokia for using a retarded marketing campaign but besides that they did not do anything wrong.

I do think it is also worth remembering that Microsoft were still continuing with the Windows Mobile 7 programme at the time that they reset the entire development process to deliver Windows Phone 7. It is hardly surprising that many, many features were unable to be delivered in the first release of Windows Phone.

I wonder if Nokia could be retroactively sued for advertising "the smartphone beta test is over" When MS saw WP7 as a giant beta test? Well, I know they could be sued for that in the UK.

Rosyna said,
I wonder if Nokia could be retroactively sued for advertising "the smartphone beta test is over" When MS saw WP7 as a giant beta test? Well, I know they could be sued for that in the UK.

There's a difference between releasing a version with plans for a better version in a couple of years and a Beta test. I find it very hard to believe that a case like that would go anywhere, even in the corrupt courts of the EU...

ill never understand the hatred towards the EU coming from this place. microsoft and intel were also investigated and tried in the US for the very same crap, if I´m not mistaken

Eh, I guess you can say it's like every version of a new product. Be it the first iPhone, Blackberry, Android phone, etc.

Just glad I waited

Nice! Not surprised though, this is usually the case when developing for larger corps. It's a long lengthy process before products come to life. It's nice to see his transparency and honesty.

j2006 said,
It's nice to see his transparency and honesty.

He can be this open now obviously, but surely people would've preferred this transparency and honesty from Microsoft earlier. It shows that although they had these plans in place, they chose not to say anything and kept people in the dark until they announced WP8. It makes me doubt that even their partners knew about this when they chose to support WP7.

I know that I wouldn't appreciate signing into a potentially lengthy contract for a WP7 device, only to learn that I was running a "test version" for Microsoft later on.

Manish said,

He can be this open now obviously, but surely people would've preferred this transparency and honesty from Microsoft earlier. It shows that although they had these plans in place, they chose not to say anything and kept people in the dark until they announced WP8. It makes me doubt that even their partners knew about this when they chose to support WP7.

I know that I wouldn't appreciate signing into a potentially lengthy contract for a WP7 device, only to learn that I was running a "test version" for Microsoft later on.


I think at this point, it's safe to assume that ANY company is working on a new version when you buy the current version... You then upgrade when you can / want to... I really don't see this as a big deal. I am still on WP7, but will update to WP8 when I can. Just waiting for some business class features first.

Manish said,

I know that I wouldn't appreciate signing into a potentially lengthy contract for a WP7 device, only to learn that I was running a "test version" for Microsoft later on.

It's not a test version. They were testing the market with new features and ideas.

M_Lyons10 said,

I think at this point, it's safe to assume that ANY company is working on a new version when you buy the current version...

Yes a software company will most likely be working to improve its product and yes you are free to upgrade when and if you want to. That isn't something that I was refuting, neither is it something that I have an issue with.

I was focusing on what Microsoft did differently. If we look at its main smartphone competitors (i.e. Apple and Google), they haven't ever abandoned the entire previous generation of devices like Microsoft did (I'll overlook WP7.8 on purpose; it's not about the features but more so about what the developers are likely to be supporting). If you're happy with your WP7 device, then good for you (not meant in a harsh way). However I personally would not be pleased if, for example, I'd bought a Lumia 900 on a 12/18-month contract a few months prior to the WP8 announcement.

It seems like an awful decision from Microsoft for rushing a product to market because their hand was forced by Apple and Google, even more so if they had any remote plans of canning that product later on with what they felt they should've released in the first place. I'm not trying to make it a big deal though, I'm merely stating my opinions on the matter.

rfirth said,

It's not a test version. They were testing the market with new features and ideas.

I was simply quoting the article, but I have rephrased that sentence earlier in this post.

So you would prefer they released nothing for two years, continue pushing Windows Mobile (Because that's all they had at the time) and lose the mobile OS fight? Where's your bleeding heart for the poor sap who purchased a Windows Mobile phone only to find out shortly after that Windows Phone had replaced it?

You run this risk all the time. How do you think people feel when they put down their cash for a new car/computer/TV/appliance/whatever, only to find out that if they waited another month, a brand new and improved model would've just been released? This isn't specific to mobile operating systems, and you run that risk all the time.

What about the poor plebs who just have to have an iphone and buy the current generation a month before the new and "improved" version comes out? Sure, the software may be similar, but it doesn't change the fact that you ended up with previous generation hardware, for the contract length.

So please, stop crying as though this is Microsoft's fault and somehow, only specific to Microsoft. It happens everywhere, all the time. That's life, get over it.

Ideas Man said,
So you would prefer they released nothing for two years, continue pushing Windows Mobile (Because that's all they had at the time) and lose the mobile OS fight? Where's your bleeding heart for the poor sap who purchased a Windows Mobile phone only to find out shortly after that Windows Phone had replaced it?

Has WP7 helped them win the mobile OS fight then or did it make negligible difference? Were there many Windows Mobile users expecting to be upgraded to Windows Phone? I feel sorry for them too.

This isn't specific to mobile operating systems, and you run that risk all the time.

Yes I've already discussed this. Obviously stuff gets upgraded, however it is unexpected for major mobile OS updates to leave the previous generation behind completely. This is not normal behaviour within the smartphone market.

What about the poor plebs who just have to have an iphone and buy the current generation a month before the new and "improved" version comes out? Sure, the software may be similar, but it doesn't change the fact that you ended up with previous generation hardware, for the contract length.

See above. The problem isn't being left with previous generation hardware. I wasn't expecting Microsoft to turn up outside WP7 users' homes and swap their phones. But I also didn't expect them to put an end to the WP7 ecosystem without allowing a software upgrade to WP8. Yes these individuals will get 7.8, but will app developers still be supporting it over the length of the next 2 years?

Meanwhile, an iPhone 4S user could update his phone to iOS 6 and receive practically every software feature that iPhone 5 users got, and not have to worry about whether apps will support his device or not for the next few years to come.


So please, stop crying as though this is Microsoft's fault and somehow, only specific to Microsoft. It happens everywhere, all the time. That's life, get over it.

I'm not crying about it (it's not like I bought a WP7 device). As I stated earlier, I was just giving my opinions on this matter. Am I not allowed to be critical of Microsoft? Furthermore, this issue is fairly specific to Microsoft, as they've "reset" their mobile OS twice now. It doesn't matter how times you keep repeating yourself, this does not happen everywhere and all the time. If it's not Microsoft's fault, then whose is it?

Did Microsoft send you a wonderful Xmas gift for defending their corner so vigourously?

Edited by Manish, Dec 25 2012, 12:32am :

well, it was pretty clear, after MS confirmed, that WP8 is Windows-based, not CE. My Trophy is 2 year old now, time to change. This is okay. For someone, who bought Lumia 900 half a year ago - a bit pain...