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back to article Windows Phone 8 support to end in 2014

If you're shopping for a new mobe on a two year contract and like the look of a Windows Phone, chances are you'll be compelled to undergo an OS upgrade or face using a handset that's not supported by the end of your deal. The Reg offers this advice with a tip of the hat to Italian site Plaffo, which pointed out a Microsoft …

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Backwards Compatibility

"Microsoft's history is one of remarkable consistency when it comes to backwards-compatibility. It's very hard to imagine it would step away from that policy on mobile phones."

Haven't they already done so in this market more than once?

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Meh

Given

Their history with mobile phones there will be no upgrade path to the next incarnation. Maybe they will take a page out of the Android book in that if you want to upgrade you have to buy new.

One to avoid or not?

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@LarsG Re: Given

My two previous Android phones were updated with the next OS, OTA by HTC, though I realise other people's experience may differ. My personal observation is that 'older' phones may find it a strain to run the next OS and be stressed by running the latest versions of apps. e.g. my old HTC Wildfire now runs like treacle fresh from the fridge.

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Re: Given

Really? That wasnt my experience...... My low powered spare Driod - an orange badged ZTE blade - has been upgraded a couple of times.. Of course being rooted helped... now all it needs is cyanogen to release a stable build for my S3lte.

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Linux

Re: Given @ LarsG

At least with Android you can root and use CyanogenMod to keep it up to date, good luck with your Windows phone trying that one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Given

"Maybe they will take a page out of the Android book in that if you want to upgrade you have to buy new."

Not true, if you buy a pure Android phone (i.e. Nexus) Google will keep pushing you updates for quite a while. It's only if you buy something based on Android with the manufacturer's own bloat-ware sat on top of it that you're usually out of luck.

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Re: Given

Nah, unless you're really screwed (bootloader locked device) you can usually head around to XDA-Dev, Cyanogen, and so on, find yourself a guide and pick out a ROM.

Even if you have a bootloader locked device, there are some options, such as a recovery that sits inbetween the stock bootloader and acts as a multi-boot option.

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Re: Given

The Android comparison is totally unfair.

What Microsoft did when the OS changed, was made all existing apps incompatible, and old phones incompatible with new apps, leaving Windows Phone 7.x owners out in the cold with nowhere to go (they did it several times before too)

Google have ensured pretty much all Android apps work on yoru phone REGARDLESS of it's OS version. 99% of apps will work all the way back to Android 2.1, 60% or so all the way back to Android 1.5

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Pint

Re: Backwards Compatibility

Ah, stop the nonsense panic, they'll just push you to WP9.

Here, have a beer icon.

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Re: Backwards Compatibility

They have also stated that the current phones are going to be upgradable to the next major version of Windows. So there is no issue.

Companies dealing seriously with the Enterprise will always announce when specific versions of their software reaches End of Support, End of Life etc. This is just Microsoft communicating with the enterprise, and a bunch of journalists who are just a tad more clueless than journalists in general - who'd think it was possible to get even more clueless than journalists - posting sensational idiocy for the click rate. Sad really,

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Re: Backwards Compatibility

>Maybe they will take a page out of the Android book in that if you want to upgrade you have to buy new.

That was more the case when Android hardware was advancing more each year, as was Android itself. Currently released hardware, even at the mid-range, is capable enough to hold its own for a few versions... and most manufacturers are getting better at releasing Android updates- perhaps because of the negative reaction they have received in the past for 'abandoning' models.

Similarly, MS might have noticed the negative reaction that they received for not making Win 8 Phone work on WinPho 7 handsets and may avoid making the same mistake. Also, Win 8 hardware can probably handle whatever 'Win Pho 9' might demand of it, at least for core functions.

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Re: Given

At least on Android there is no shortage of custom ROMS to keep your handset pretty much up to date once the manufacturer stops offering updates.

Sammy turned their back on my Galaxy W almost immediately - however, thanks to Arco68 and the Cyanogenmod team my handset has already had ICS and is now running JB with full-on Project Butter smoothness.

Can you achieve the same on a WP powered device?

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Go

Re: Given

DOSbox works quite well on my windows 7 x64 machine. I have played a few old dos games in recent times. Even old windows games work in w7x64 with a few tweaks. You also have XP mode (poor mans XP VM) for stubborn hardware if you so require (I played with it briefly just to see if an old scanner would work, and it did).

cant see the same for WP8 though. Funny that WM6 support only ended this year though (With mobile 5.0 extended to 2015!)

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Paris Hilton

Re: Given

"made all existing apps incompatible"

The games I wrote for WP7.x run just fine on the WP8 handsets I've tested on.

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Devil

Re: Backwards Compatibility

"They have also stated that the current phones are going to be upgradable to the next major version of Windows. So there is no issue."

I very much doubt that promise is in the EULA...

I hate to be the one to break this to you, but companies frequently promise stuff and don't deliver it (and that has been exactly how MS has operated since day one in the mobile sector). There is even a very old buzzword for it : "Vapourware".

... and how are all those WinPhone users out there are going to ensure they are held to that promise ? Complain in the strongest possible terms ?

Stop buying WinPhones ?

Spam message boards with complaints about MS's shoddy support and broken promises ?

None of the above seems to have worked out for the WinPhone7 crowd. I hope the WinPhone8 crowd has better luck.

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Re: Given @ LarsG

"At least with Android you can root and use CyanogenMod to keep it up to date, good luck with your Windows phone trying that one."

No, you can't, in fact. You rarely get an upgrade to a new major Android version from Cyanogen, as it's dependent on the manufacturer's kernel/kernelspace drivers being updated. Those things are aren't available as open source, unlike the rest of Android.

I wish people would stop trotting that one out. I fell for it, too.

Cyanogen is awesome, but it won't give you Android 4.xx on many devices that shipped with 2.xx. You'll get a really nice, clean and efficient 2.xx, in most cases- but that's it.

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Re: Given

Its an unfair comparison because you don't know what you are talking about.

WP8 fully runs WP7 code so aside some minor bugs all WP7 apps run on WP8 whereas my wife has a Samsung Galaxy Y bought 13 months ago and is constantly being brickwalled by apps not running on her phones version of Android.

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Re: Given

"Maybe they will take a page out of the Android book in that if you want to upgrade you have to buy new."

My two year old Samsung Galaxy S2 has just received it's second major upgrade, to latest Jelly bean, built by Samsung and deployed over the air by Vodafone. Works flawlessly, and I've not had to muck about with Cyanogenmod builds or anything like that. Only problem is that it reinstalled all the damn vodafone bloatware when it did it, but that's easily removed.....

So I'm feeling pretty well supported actually given that a 2 year old handset is almost viewed as a museum piece now.....

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Devil

Re: @LarsG Given

New OS hard on old hardware? As if that should be a great revelation around here...

It's a general problem. Even Apple products suffer from it (namely iPhones).

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Re: Backwards Compatibility

Exactly, they consistently provide no backwards compatibility at all.

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Re: Given @ LarsG

Somewhat true but after seeing custom ICS roms (months before the unbelievable late official ics release last month) for the ugliest hackiest prototype quality phone ever produced the HTC Thunderbolt (the phone that killed HTC lol) if the Cyanogen folks won't hook you up generally someone will (assuming forum trolls don't run the devs off first).

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Re: Given

> WP8 fully runs WP7 code so aside some minor bugs all WP7 apps run on WP8 whereas my wife has a Samsung Galaxy Y bought 13 months ago and is constantly being brickwalled by apps not running on her phones version of Android.

Your comparison seems to be inverted. If you had bought a WP phone 13 months ago it would have been WP7 and _NO_ WP8 apps would run on it, and it would never get WP8.

It seems that your wife's Android probably runs 2.3.x but is upgradable, this from several months ago:

http://androidhardwares.com/root-your-android/upgrade-samsung-galaxy-y-to-ics-android-4-0-3/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Given

"my wife has a Samsung Galaxy Y bought 13 months ago and is constantly being brickwalled by apps not running on her phones version of Android."

It has nothing to do with the version of Android and everything to do with the device's screen size/DPI.

The Galaxy Y, like the Wildfire is a "low DPI" "small screen" device and unfortunately there are not a massive amount of these devices; those that do exist are usually lacking hardware OpenGL support and they are usually under-powered. This rules out a lot of games and unless developers specifically say "I support this screen size" those applications will be filtered by the store and will not be displayed.

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You are correct

Not once but twice, first with WinCE for WinPhone 7 (which while partially based on WinCE many WinCE apps wouldn't run) and now with WinPhone 7 for WinPhone 8.

Frankly they have done so in the desktop as well and while I supported the changes when it came to Vista as lets be honest, both the driver model and the "always run as admin" design of WinXP just wasn't the right path the amount of breakage when it comes to win 8 is just unreal. I have had several customers that (against my advice) bought Win 8 systems only to find so much of their software was broken that it was cheaper to buy copies of Win 7 Pro and have me install them than it was to replace the broken software, just crazy how much Win 8 broke.

Rarely do I agree with Forbes but they are right in naming Steve Ballmer worst CEO, the guy is a trainwreck and is burning their bridges and losing share in what was a practical monopoly on X86 to try to grab share in a space that its obvious they aren't wanted. The SMART move would have been to truly copy Apple (instead of the "cargo cult" way they are doing so now) and kept Metro for tablets/phones like iOS is to OSX and then focused on a "its GOT to work!" mantra when it came to ease of connectivity.

Let Metro sink or swim on its own without the Windows name and legacy, focus on having the ability to connect everything as simple as it can possibly be, and they'd have a shot at mobile. The way they are going now? Its gonna make MS Bob look like a runaway smash hit.

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Re: Backwards Compatibility

"And talking of mobile devices, Win7 adopters were burned with the non-compatibility with Win8."

Eh?

I just got an Acer W700 and everything I throw at it from Windows 7 works so far. Sure, there are some Metro quirks (like RescueTime doesn't record Metro activity, apparently) but otherwise fine. I'm even syncing Outlook between Win 7 (2010) and Win 8 (2013) with no problems.

MMMV in a few weeks, after I really get going with old stuff like DragonDictate or what-have-you, but Win 7 -> Win 8 incompatibility is not something I'd be too bothered about right now.

The Metro interface and apps is still pretty beta though, I'll grant you that. But the OS is new, swings and roundabouts, etc.

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Re: Backwards Compatibility

"Those who enjoy death riding Microsoft's mobile efforts." That was funny...

And any upgrades won't exactly help you, if your phone by reason of some odd, heretofore overlooked lacking hardware feature can't be upgraded, like every single WindPhone7, for example.

Buying anything and counting on upgradeability is like playing russian roulette.

I'm sure WindPhone8 OEM's really don't appreciate this news echoing through the media, cause it massively raises their chance of sitting on a lot of inventory people won't buy.

Finally, I now believe that Elop was recruited by the NWO people to ruin Nokia via WindPhone OS, to punish Finland for refusing to join the new, totalitarian EU dictatorship being built as we speak.

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So if I had bought a Windows Phone 8 on day of issue [1] ...

... support for the OS would be gone before my two year contract expired?

Lovely way to win friends & influence people, Redmond!

[1] That was October 29, 2012, for those not in the know ... and no, I didn't. I'm not daft.

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Meh

Re: So if I had bought a Windows Phone 8 on day of issue [1] ...

"... support for the OS would be gone before my two year contract expired?"

Dude...you're just digging now. Do you honestly think that the development of a OS should revolve around your contract with XYZ telecoms? You don't even have to own a smartphone to know this is ridiculous. I'm not trying to be an ass, but you may want to rethink your thought.

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Re: So if I had bought a Windows Phone 8 on day of issue [1] ...

No remember it resets at each point release.

You will probably get all the point releases upto 8.5.x or 8.7 or whatever.

Same way XP SP3 is still supported but the RTM Windows 7 is not (Or is shortly coming to EOL).

Cannot believe that this story has been posted anywhere. (Slashdot first then here).

They are better than Google in that they actually fix bugs whenever they find them not randomly.

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Re: So if I had bought a Windows Phone 8 on day of issue [1] ...

> They are better than Google in that they actually fix bugs whenever they find them not randomly.

Actually they only tell you about bugs immediately before, or as, they send out the fixes so that it _appears_ that way. You have no idea about the bugs that exist that they haven't told you about.

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Re: So if I had bought a Windows Phone 8 on day of issue [1] ...

actually, it looks more like a typo to me, if you go to the page referenced

http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/search/default.aspx?sort=PN&alpha=windows+phone&Filter=FilterNO

it actually ends before the 7.8 support ends.

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Re: So if I had bought a Windows Phone 8 on day of issue [1] ...

Skimming through the version history for iOS, it would appear that the support/update cycle for any giver version, i.e. ios3, ios4, ios5, etc. is a little over one year with Apple too. If you bought an iPhone 4 on day of issue, Apple expected you to upgrade the OS to the next version as it was released and didn't continue to support the originally installed version beyond 13 months if you didn't bother to upgrade to iOS 5.

iOS 4, released 21/06/2010, end-of-lifed as iOS 4.3.5 25/07/2011

iOS 5, released 12/10/2011, end-of-lifed as iOS 5.1.1 25/05/2012

iOS 6, released 19/09/2012, probably not long to go now before final update released either

If iPhone users are getting on okay with 'roughly' annual major version upgrades, why is it not going to be okay for WP users? I think this WP update cycle story has spread around the 'net without due consideration and I expect to be reading an official statement from MS on this in the next few days.

If MS don't clear this mess up with a statement, they're idiots and deserve to have consumers thinking that their partners are selling phones with an unsupported, obsolete OS, like the stories try to implicate.

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Mushroom

Re: So if I had bought a Windows Phone 8 on day of issue [1] ...

@keith.nicholas

Occam's Razor... simplest explanation is that it's a typo.

If not, then we get our wish and Windows Phone 8 self-destructs...

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@MyBackDoor (was: Re: So if I had bought a Windows Phone 8 on day of issue [1] ...)

"Do you honestly think that the development of a OS should revolve around your contract with XYZ telecoms?"

No. I think that the entire feaping creaturism of planned obsolescence in the modern connectivity world totally disgusts me. As does the "invented by marketards, not engineers" popular money-wasting culture of "must have the latest & greatest hardware, even if I won't use it past the capability I had five (ten? 15?) years ago".

By way of reference, my early 1950s Model 500 Western Electric rotary dial telephone still works just fine (yes, my local telco still supports pulse dialing :-). Where will all the money you have spent on telephones be in 60+ years? Down the toilet, that's where. Think about it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So if I had bought a Windows Phone 8 on day of issue [1] ...

"... support for the OS would be gone before my two year contract expired?"

No you would have received over the air updates taking you to the current supported version. We already know that Windows Phone 9 ("Blue") at least is backwardly compatible.

It is of course possible that Microsoft might make a change to make v10+ incompatible with previous versions, but seeing as they now have a unified kernel model across all their desktop, server and phone OSs, this seems highly unlikely.

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Facepalm

Re: So if I had bought a Windows Phone 8 on day of issue [1] ...

we get our wish and Windows Phone 8 self-destructs

Because less choice is FREAKIN AWESOME right?

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Re: Because less choice is FREAKIN AWESOME right?

You know what? When that choice is another OS that's locked down tight as a drum, where the user can only install software that's approved by the software-provider-who-must-be-obeyed - yeah, my giveatoss-ometer fails to get above zero.

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Re: So if I had bought a Windows Phone 8 on day of issue [1] ...

7.8 was released after 8.0, hence the later expiry date.

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Re: @MyBackDoor (was: So if I had bought a Windows Phone 8 on day of issue [1] ...)

And my abacus works good as new.

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Re: So if I had bought a Windows Phone 8 on day of issue [1] ...

Because Google have a great track record of ensuring apps work on older OS versions. Apple only have a handful of devices to support, and regularly end of life older kit.

Microsoft cut everyone off each time, no backwards compatibility for apps.

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Re: So if I had bought a Windows Phone 8 on day of issue [1] ...

I'd recommend you sue your old school since they apparently didn't manage to supply you with basic reading skills. Yes, Windows 8 is going out of support in 2014, but Windows 8.5 (being released this summer) is not. If you upgrade to Windows 8.5 (or whatever version number they are going to assign it then) you have full support.

Some time next year there will be Windows Phone 9, which you should also upgrade to. Then your OS support is extended even further.

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Re: So if I had bought a @tabinnorway

"If you upgrade to Windows 8.5 (or whatever version number they are going to assign it then) you have full support."

You should sue your old school for failing to develop your critical thinking faculties.

If you can upgrade your phone that's fine. But that assumes that your hardware is compatible. That the manufacturer can be bothered to release the upgrade. That the mobile companies can be bothered to test their bloatware and release the modified system (already modded by the handset makers). That the end users knows there's an upgrade, is willing to have all their personalisation and specifics wiped (probably), and even knows how, or cares to upgrade.

Apple have it easy. They aren't supporting many handset variations and they have far more control. But the future of WP will likely be the same as Android - huge fragmentation, cause by the fact that you start "losing handsets" at each step of the assumptions in the paragraph above. For the top line handsets things usually work OK in terms of availability, but once you get to the mid range and cheapies the support effort falls off a cliff when production ends.

So this really does look like a poorly judged move by MS, given their track record and poor take up of WP. It implies they don't care about the owners of handsets they've previously orphaned, and it suggests they haven't learned from Android experience. How much would it have cost them to have declared support available for another few years? The cost of continued bug and security fixes on something that's been released and supported a couple of years would be negligible. Obviously there's a concern that makers and networks might not want to do the same, but MS need to twist these people's arms, and they need to make upgrades far more automatic as well.

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Re: So if I had bought a Windows Phone 8 on day of issue [1] ...

not necessarily a typo.

"Microsoft will make updates available for the Operating System on your phone, including security updates, for a period of 18 months after the lifecycle start date."

7.8 start date was later than 8.0 therefore 7.8 will have a longer life. It doesnt mean 8.0 wont be given an extended support date though. I'd be surprised if it doesnt.

WM6 support ended this year but mobile 5.0 has extended support through to 2015 (I suspect due to many epos integrated solutions)

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Re: So if I had bought a Windows Phone 8 on day of issue [1] ...

>Skimming through the version history for iOS, it would appear that the support/update cycle for any giver version, i.e. ios3, ios4, ios5, etc. is a little over one year with Apple too

Yes and its obvious to any non Apple fanboi that Apple goes out of its way to force obsolescence. Its their business model as they are a hardware company that does software only to sell hardware (how sad is it that not only Linux but even Microsoft Windows 8 works on the Mac Pro 1,1 but the latest Mac OS X doesn't without hacks). They have gotten even worse about it lately under this new asshat CEO and with consumers catching on its also part of the reason why their best days are probably behind them. Still the only way this business model works at all is if there is significant demand for the hardware. Consumer demand and Microsoft are rarely used in the same sentence these days.

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Re: So if I had bought a Windows Phone 8 on day of issue [1] ...

>If iPhone users are getting on okay with 'roughly' annual major version upgrades, why is it not going to be okay for WP users?

Um because Apple has plenty of iSheep that will buy whatever it puts out every year. Microsoft has no such brand loyalty so trying to blindly follow Apple is why yet another of their products will fail. Blindly following the leader (yes Apple is not the leader number wise but profit wise I think they still are) is why Microsoft's market cap is still lower today than it was the day Ballmer took over over a decade ago.

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Re: @MyBackDoor (was: So if I had bought a Windows Phone 8 on day of issue [1] ...)

"No. I think that the entire feaping creaturism of planned obsolescence in the modern connectivity world totally disgusts me."

Ah, OK, now I understand. To me it read as if you thought somehow contracts with teleco's should dictate the development of an OS, which would lead to teleco's forcing new phones on everyone 6 months to keep contracts renewing and selling more hardware. Remember, cash comes first!

Sadly your argument can be extended well beyond computing...cars, furniture, houses, light bulbs...basically anything engineered for the consumer. It's a very disposable world today, even with something like FaceB0rk*, so called "Friendships" are now disposable.

* I saw someone refer to it as "FaceB0rk" on here the other day, I like it, so I'm keeping it too :-)

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