If you were hoping that your newly-purchased Windows Phone 8 device would be supported by Microsoft for ages, you’re in for a shocker. A quick search for Windows Phone on Microsoft’s Product Lifecycle page shows that the company plans to halt mainstream support for the operating system in 2014. You won’t be the only ones left out in the dark though. The same page also shows the company halting support for Windows Phone 7.8 two months after the support for WP8 has stopped.
According to the page, Microsoft will make updates available for the OS on your phone, including security updates, for a period of 18 months after the lifecycle start date. This gives Windows Phone 8 an extremely short (in OS terms) lifecycle of a little more than a year and a half.
The HTC Winodws Phone 8X (image credit: GSMArena)
Earlier this month, Microsoft had promised an upgrade path for Windows Phone 8 devices. The promise was made by Marketing Manager Greg Sullivan to a PCMag reporter on the sidelines of this year’s MWC.
Early Windows Phone adopters who jumped in with Windows Phone 7 and 7.5 were left out in the cold when Microsoft announced that their devices would not be able to handle Windows Phone 8. The news came out months before the launch of WP8, putting a severe damper on sales of the suddenly obsolete previous-generation devices such as the first wave of Nokia Lumias and a handful of models from LG and Samsung. The reason was that WP8 was going to use a whole new Windows kernel, requiring a new processor architecture. The decision cast long-lasting doubts over Microsoft's ability to provide an upgrade path to buyers of any future devices.
Microsoft, which did not actively participate at MWC this year, is widely rumoured to be quite far along into its next product development cycle, codenamed "Blue". This will be a product refresh across Windows for the desktop, tablets and phones as well as Microsoft's various online services. Sullivan's statements seem to indicate that it will indeed roll out to all current and future WP8 devices. Perhaps having learnt from their mistake last year, no one at Microsoft has yet clarified what exactly the "Blue" refresh is and what it will bring to the table.
The operating system was launched with great fanfare last year and made its debut with two flagship devices – the Nokia Lumia 920 and the HTC Windows Phone 8X. The operating system has been hailed by fans and critics as being a much better iteration of the original Windows Phone 7. It has a bunch of new features over the older OS, including support for multi-core devices as well as support for bigger screens and higher pixel counts.