Microsoft Might Allow Windows Phone 7 Upgrades
Microsoft is hinting that consumers might be able to upgrade a Windows Mobile 6.5 phone to Windows Phone 7 when it comes out late this year.
The radical redesign of the Windows Phone 7 operating system has rendered Windows Mobile 6.5 obsolete, even though Microsoft has spent years hyping WinMo 6.5 and WinPhone7 is still many months away. Allowing customers to upgrade phones to the new platform would help keep sales strong until Windows Phone 7 actually releases.
The news comes from a Twitter exchange in which someone asked about the possibility of an upgrade and Microsoft's Alex Reeve replied: "It's early days yet, and that's really for our hardware partners to think about."
The fact that Microsoft didn't flatly deny or simply refuse to comment speaks volumes, as does his intimation that Microsoft will leave the upgrading to manufacturers. It indicates Microsoft has thought about this, too.
It's not a bad idea, especially considering that there are a lot of good Windows Mobile 6.5 phones coming out that people might pass up because they know something much better is coming later this year. It also offers Microsoft an opportunity to sell Windows Phone 7 to current customers without needing to sell a phone with it.
Don't get too excited and run out to buy a Windows Mobile 6.5 phone just yet, though. Windows Phone 7 has some very strict hardware specifications, and most WinMo phones on the market right now won't be compatible.
Unless the WinMo 6.5 phone isn't built with certain features, such as a large capacitive touchscreen and a 1GHz processor (still rare in the phone world) WinPhone7 won't be an option. That may be why the decision to allow upgrades will lie with the manufacturer. If they don't plan to build WinMo 6.5 phones capable of being upgraded, then Microsoft can do nothing about that.