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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fragmentation in a microsoft way....

but then android its the same, only nexus devices are few exception of the rule

it would be good if they actually gave support and fixed why Windows Phone 8 is not able to send or receive Facebook messages through the message center anymore

Seeing as a lot of phone contracts are 24 months here in the UK, I welcome this increase. Seemed a bit strange to have your phone dropped 6 months before the end of your contract, this is if you bought it straight after release.

I don't see WP9 coming to my Lumia 920, however if it did then indeed every penny spent on it would an even bigger value for money.

Liaqat_ali said,
I don't see WP9 coming to my Lumia 920, however if it did then indeed every penny spent on it would an even bigger value for money.

We don't know that though, there's no reason it shouldn't. Unless we don't get 9.0 after we get 8.1 and we get something like 8.2. But if that's the case will it matter in the end? If they do these point releases then by the time 9.0 is coming the 920 and my 8X could be at least 3-4 years old.

I would normally be pleased to hear this, but since carriers get to stick their nose into the update process, I'm pretty sure we'll get screwed over.

That's awesome but the way MS handled Windows Phone 7.8 owners by: (1) not giving owners of relatively new handsets an update to Windows Phone 8 and (2) making the Windows Phone 8 SDK incompatible with Windows Phone 7 devices has left an extremely bitter taste in my mouth. Seems like every time they pull a stunt like that they come out exclaiming how much more support they will deliver in the future. I'll believe it when I see it.

Can't wait for my 2010 iPhone 4 to get iOS 7 later this year. MS and Google have a lot to learn.

I know this is said a lot, but keep in mind that MS made the tough decision to make WP8 kernel combustible with windows 8. They made the choice that is good for the future, but that meant WP7 owners would not get to update to WP8 since the two were so different under the hood. The good news about the future is that now MS can offer os upgrades like we expect. I would be very shocked if WP9 isn't offered for WP8 customers.

In a perfect world, wp8 would have been the first version and upgrades would come along as expected. Unfortunately they weren't ready and yet the market seemed to be demanding they do something when they did. I agree it sucks, but the evidence seems to point to MS not repeating that mistake.

Stupid autocorrect lol. 'combustible' = 'compatible'

Also, I forgot to point out that Apple is able to offer iOS 7 since they aren't making fundamental changes like WP8 did. I think MS is on the right track now.

Good news, laughing at how even on here people try to spin it to a negative. the mind boggles at the universal MS hate source!

duddit2 said,
Good news, laughing at how even on here people try to spin it to a negative. the mind boggles at the universal MS hate source!

Let us see, what do you prefer: the way we receive updates in W8 or WP8?........

daniel_rh said,
They're so slow they had to! Good news

Lol you beat me to it. This is much more the support ball park they should be playing in, but poor show to let down WP7 customers.

Letting carriers pick and choose though remains... dumb.

Personally I prefer Microsoft handling the software and security updates instead of handing the keys to OEM's and phone carriers. Look how Android is doing and the end result from it.

wotsit said,

Lol you beat me to it. This is much more the support ball park they should be playing in, but poor show to let down WP7 customers.

Letting carriers pick and choose though remains... dumb.

Is the WP7 issue still confusing you? ITS A DIFFERENT KERNEL! that's a big deal, its a different codebase! That's a big deal.

wotsit said,

Lol you beat me to it. This is much more the support ball park they should be playing in, but poor show to let down WP7 customers.

Letting carriers pick and choose though remains... dumb.

Carriers should still only be able to opt out of one update though, so as they are cumulative, they should come down at some point.

Nice, my HTC 8S won't be software-ly outdated now. Just security fixes though, nothing such as WP9 will run on the old hardware.

That's not probably true. My HTC Trophy probably would run WP8 if it were available for it, and I'm sure my Lumia 928 will be more than capable of running WP9, but again, it probably won't be available for it. The barriers preventing these phones from being updated are artificial, put there to force you to buy a new phone.

Darrian said,
That's not probably true. My HTC Trophy probably would run WP8 if it were available for it, and I'm sure my Lumia 928 will be more than capable of running WP9, but again, it probably won't be available for it. The barriers preventing these phones from being updated are artificial, put there to force you to buy a new phone.

Maybe, depends on how you got the phone. I think with 8.1 at least we're going to see newer hardware anyways, bigger screens, more cores, more ram etc. Those work better to get one to upgrade than just software. MS should just offer it as a unsupported upgrade option, i.e. you can do it, maybe for a small fee, $5 or so, but lose any carrier or OEM support in the process? I still think many would do the upgrade anyways.

I don't see how how you got the phone is relevant. With 8.1 they may release newer hardware, but I'm sure all current WP8 phones will get all 8.x updates. They probably won't stop updating the OS for this generation of phones until WP9 comes out. And I if I remember correctly, updates are coming straight from Microsoft now and not the carriers, so I won't be in a position like I was with the Trophy, waiting for a 7.8 update that is never coming because Verizon and HTC don't give a **** (though I updated it anyway with seveneighter).

Darrian said,
I don't see how how you got the phone is relevant. With 8.1 they may release newer hardware, but I'm sure all current WP8 phones will get all 8.x updates. They probably won't stop updating the OS for this generation of phones until WP9 comes out. And I if I remember correctly, updates are coming straight from Microsoft now and not the carriers, so I won't be in a position like I was with the Trophy, waiting for a 7.8 update that is never coming because Verizon and HTC don't give a **** (though I updated it anyway with seveneighter).

I mean if you got it unlocked like I did or from a carrier on contract. If you go it unlocked then you'll want to hold on to it and upgrade as much as you can, maybe even get WP9 unless it comes out in 2016 or something. They could just start doing point releases for a few years. If you got it from a carrier on contract then you're going to be upgrading to a new device as an option anyways, so you don't really care if the phone you have now can get WP9 because chances are you'll be up for a upgrade around that time and just get a new device.