There was a lot of positive news yesterday about Windows Phone 8, but one announcement in particular nullified all that for a lot of people. For the last couple months we’ve been wondering if current Windows Phone devices would get the update to WP8. Yesterday it was confirmed that they wouldn’t, but what they would get is an update called Windows Phone 7.8.
A lot of Windows Phone users are quite upset about this. People who bought Lumia 900s especially feel betrayed since they fell victim to a huge marketing campaign, and it turns out they were still part of the beta test. They are upset because they are getting 7.8 instead of 8. But let’s take a look at exactly what 7.8 is, and why you really should stop complaining about it.
Last week Apple announced iOS 6 for the iPhone 3GS and later. Apple fans will immediately proclaim “Look mom, no fragmentation!” But is that actually true? Here’s a list of features from iOS 6 that the iPhone 3GS won’t be getting: Siri, turn-by-turn navigation and flyover, shared Photo Streams, VIP and flagged email features, and the offline reading list. Even the iPhone 4 still won’t have Siri, and it won’t get turn-by-turn navigation either. Apple still calls the update “iOS 6″ instead of something like “iOS 5.6,” and that seems to make people feel content.
This is basically exactly what Microsoft is doing with Windows Phone 7.8. Here is a quote from Microsoft’s Greg Sullivan about the 7.8 update:
“When you pull that Lumia out of your pocket after you’ve received that 7.8 update, it will look and feel the same as a Windows Phone 8 device,” claims Sullivan. “Because you don’t have a multicore chip and don’t have some of these other elements, it didn’t make sense for us to make those investments for devices that couldn’t really exploit them.”
In other words, because you don’t have a dual-core chip you don’t need dual-core support, etc. You are getting Windows Phone 8, but only the features that will work on your phone. If you think about it for a second it makes perfect sense, and this is how updating works on practically all phones of every platform. If your Android phone doesn’t have NFC you won’t get Android Beam in ICS, etc.
The only slip-up Microsoft made was giving the update a different name. They could easily call this update for current devices “Windows Phone 8″ and no one would be the wiser. So current owners, stop complaining. You are the victim of honesty in a usually dishonest industry. Enjoy Windows Phone 8.