Windows Phone support lifecycle extended from 18 to 36 months

All the way back in June 2012, at the announcement of Windows Phone 8, Microsoft promised that all devices would be covered by an 18-month support cycle, guaranteeing updates and patches during that period. In March of this year, the company reaffirmed this, revealing that it would officially end support for Windows Phone 8 on 8 June 2014.

Today, Microsoft announced a change to that policy, extending the length of its product support lifecycle for Windows Phone 8 from 18 months to 36 months. In a post on the Windows Phone Blog, Tony Mestres, vice president of WP partner and channel marketing, confirmed the move - but made it clear that the revision only covers Windows Phone 8, so owners of older handsets running version 7.8 will still be stuck with the original 18-month period, with support still ending for those devices on 9 September 2014.

The new date for the end of mainstream support for Windows Phone 8 is 12 January 2016, with OS and security updates offered for the duration. But even for Windows Phone 8 users, the news isn't entirely good.

There's no change to the role that carriers play in approving (or not) each update before it's rolled out to handsets. Mestres said: "The mobile operator or phone manufacturer may control the distribution of these incremental updates and update availability may also vary by country, region and device hardware capabilities."

That means that it's still possible that your carrier, or the manufacturer of your handset, may drag their feet in approving the update, or could simply opt out of it entirely, as T-Mobile US did when it decided not to approve Windows Phone 7.8 for the Nokia Lumia 710 on its network.

Today's announcement also brought news of a new "enterprise feature pack" for Windows Phone 8, which will bring support for business-focused features - such as VPN, email encryption and improved device management and control - to the OS in a future update.

Source: Windows Phone Blog

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