By: Roman David DeSilva
Edited By: Chris Ashley
Why I believe that the high-end Windows Phones like the Lumia 900 will be updated. The short and sweet is that Microsoft may not have a choice.
So there have been big debates over the Blogosphere as to whether the newly released Lumia 900 will get updated to Windows Phone 8, code named Apollo. These rumors came fresh after much of the tech-press decided that the Lumia 900 wasn’t worth buying just prior to the new release. Many of them cited sources close to or in Microsoft and we seemed to have made these statements gospel. The short and sweet of this is that current high end windows phones will get the update. Arguments to the contrary are FUD.
Never mind that sources can be wrong. The fact is that sources can be anyone. For example: A few months ago I was going to do a small piece on Xbox 720 (Infinity) & the used games discussion. I asked someone in the gaming industry what this meant. My source said banning used games meant that Microsoft was making it so downloaded games from the Marketplace can only be burned to a disk only once. So no more making a bunch of copies of one game & selling them. Who was my source? Steve Ballmer or Bill Gates, a top level Microsoft employee, someone in the Xbox division? Nope, it was a store clerk at GameStop. Had the person told me not to reveal his identity and I reported it. I could’ve called it an anonymous source. However that’s not really a reliable source. Since this person is not a good source I never ran the piece. The truth is sources can be any idiot that is looking to feel important at their meager jobs more importantly, they can also be wrong.
Making matters worse, others have just been pulling crap outta their collective asses. Here’s how the line of their reasoning goes. Windows Phone 8 will share the kernel with Windows 8 which means that Windows Phones minimum hardware requirements will be changed and will require dual core (this is not even a minimum spec requirement of Windows 8), 1Gb of ram and the current resolution of current windows phone including the Lumia 900 is simply too low. I want to say before I start debunking the tech press that I’M A DOG WALKER. MY DAY IS SPENT WALKING AROUND NYC WITH A DOG OR 2 IN HAND AND PICKING UP THEIR CRAP. If you haven’t noticed, I don’t post a lot. That’s because I have an exhausting day job & I’m learning how to develop apps. Plus I have a damn life. I shouldn’t know better than people who blog for a living. Please read the minimum requirements for Windows 7 & Windows 8.
Now much of any of this do you really think applies to a phone? No really? Remember what Steve Ballmer said, “We’ve learned our lesson that a phone is not a PC”. Windows Phone 8 may share a kernel & some UI with Windows 8 but after that I doubt anything else. But the main arguments that Lumia 900 like phones won’t be compatible are that the Ram and CPU requirements are getting bumped up. The minimum CPU GHz need for Windows 8 is 1. My old Toshiba Satellite laptop that was $300 at BestBuy sporting a 1 GHz single core Celeron processor runs Windows 8 just fine. Another argument is the Ram requirements of Windows 8 (1 GB) means that the Lumia 900, Titan 1 and Titan 2, HTC HD7, and Samsung Focus S won’t run Windows Phone 8 even though they all have 512 MB of ram & at least a 1GHz CPU power. Let alone the low end phones like the Lumia 710 and the HTC Radar which are in the 256 MB bracket.
This would all make sense if Windows Phone 8 devices could run side by side apps by snapping them on either side of the screen. Or if Windows Phones could have a full desktop under the Metro UI or any of the various other features that Windows 8 will come with. If you believe that Windows Phones will be able to run a full blown version of Microsoft office. Then you’re dumber than the guy that gave George Lucas the rights to Star Wars after the movie was released. Windows Phone currently doesn’t need dual core CPUs or a lot of memory to run in the 1st place. Minimum requirements are 800 MHz single core CPU and minimum 256 Mb of ram. Microsoft has been priding itself on doing more with less. I can believe that 256 may be too low. But 512 is going to be the bare minimum for running Apollo on current devices. Don’t even get me started on the CPU.
Apollo will have no problem running on Windows phone 7 devices. As for screen resolution, I’ve seen Windows 8 running on the Crapiest of netbooks from the sale bin of my local Wal-Mart. Those screens are not exactly iPad 3s. Those minimum requirements are for tablets, 7 to 8 inches and up. Not phones! You are not going to be able to snap apps next to each other and run them conterminously.
Another reason that I believe that most current Windows Phones will run Apollo is Nokia REALLY WANTS TO OWN THE LOW END MARKET. That is not going to happen if Windows Phones require a minimum of 1GB of expensive ram & a high end CPU. Microsoft is not going to screw Nokia over. Not after pouring millions & billions of dollars into them. Especially over what’s really a good idea that is in line with Microsoft’s sales philosophy. Say what you want about Microsoft. They are not stupid. They know you can make a lot of money selling a lot of low end to mid-range phones. They’re not going to screw themselves by making Windows Phone solely a high-end device OS. That and this will be a point of pride for Microsoft.IOS-5 can run on the iPhone 3GS which has 256 MB of ram & a 600 MHz CPU. The iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S have 512 MB of ram with a 1 GHz CPU. For Windows Phone to need more than this to run will not only hurt their bottom line. It will be an embarrassment of epic proportions. So it is more likely that windows phone 8 will run on today’s high end devices like the Lumia 900. The Lumia 710 on the other hand.
If you want to call Microsoft an Apple copycat then you have to believe that Microsoft is going to follow Apples philosophy that the best low end phone is the last generation devices. Today’s high end devices are tomorrows low end devices. But all this is why I think Microsoft, the OEMs and the carriers will update most of the current devices. But I’m also sure of something else. I DO NOT THINK MICROSOFT, THE OEMs and THE CARRIERS HAVE A CHOOICE IN THE MATTER. Windows Phones market share is a drop in the bucket compared to Android and iPhone. Currently there are around 11 million users worldwide. By the time Windows Phone 8 launches, that number can possibly double. That is not a lot of people compared to Android or iPhone 100 million or so users. But that is a lot of people to screw over. That could be around 20 million ANGRY and socially connected Windows Phone users. 20 million angry Windows Phone users on the social networks pissed at Microsoft when their launching a new Phone OS, tablet\Desktop OS all at the same time.
Windows Phone user base may be too small to matter. But it is too big to screw over at the same time especially when there’s so much on the line for Microsoft. Unless Windows Phone 8 devices can be used as a hover-board and cure cancer then Windows Phone 8 will get “Kinned” before it is out the door. It only takes 5 million angry hash tags for CNN to make it a top story. Microsoft won’t risk any bad press that could cost them BILLIONS of dollars. Neither are the carriers’. AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint aren’t going to make their 3rd ecosystem a bust before it hits the market. Then their left at the mercy of Apple and Google. The OEMs aren’t going to screw the pooch because it would look really bad for them if Nokia updated their devices but not Samsung, HTC, LG or Dell. Even if you believe their all out to kill Nokia by not fully supporting Windows Phone, they’re not stupid. The current high end devices that sport a 1 GHz processor and 512 MB of ram will see Apollo. That means the Lumia 800 & 900, the Samsung Focus,& Focus S, The Titan 1 & 2, HTC Arrive, HTC 7 Trophy, and the HTC 7 Pro. Devices like the Nokia Lumia 610 may be stuck with windows phone 7.5 with ongoing support as they have less than 512 MB. This is not that bad (I sound like a member of the 1%) but today’s high end devices are tomorrow’s bargain basement devices or mid-range at best. You won’t get anything your hardware doesn’t offer. Your devices won’t sprout NFC if it wasn’t built in. You’ll just get new software features. Don’t expect Windows Phone 9 on todays 1st and 2nd gen devices.
This is my prediction. I don’t simply believe that most devices will get windows phone devices because I believe they can. I believe Microsoft really doesn’t have much of a choice. I’m in good company. Andy Inahtco, Surur, feels the same way. Windows Phone 8’s success depends on how Windows Phone 7 users are treated. I do not believe Microsoft has to come out and detail everything about Windows 8; however it could hurt sales of current devices if they do not come out and say something about future updates for current devices. Our numbers may be small. But we do matter. We were the 1st in the stores. We dragged people in to buy these devices. People like me started blogs and marketed the damn things for free. At 11 million and counting, we’re too big to screw over. I have faith that Microsoft and the powers that be know this.
The Nightmare Scenario:
You can argue that it doesn’t matter if the current line of windows phones don’t get updated. That many of the 1’st adopters bought their phones 2 years ago & will get a free upgrade to a new phone. Here’s the problem with that: What about all the people that bought their phones this year. especially the people who like me went out and bought their HTC Titans, Titan 2, Samsung Focus S and Lumia 900’s? Those phones that were new and high end for Windows phone less than a year ago and in the case of the Lumia 900 would become obsolete pieces of junk in a short matter of months. Microsoft has made it clear that mango apps will be compatible with Apollo. I’m pretty sure that Apollo apps will not be compatible with Mango. So Windows Phone users who were the 1’st in line to get the best windows phone available. Said goodbye to MANY APPS that are available to iOS and Android. Will be screwed over by Being locked into a 2 year contract with their phone that can’t be updated. With what will be an app count of 120,000 apps by the time Apollo launches? “Well just buy a new phone?” Well that sounds like a good idea. But there’s no guarantee that I’ll ever buy a windows phone again. An iPhone can be updated for up to 3 years. Why should I buy a Windows Phone that won’t be updated to the next version of the O.S? “But this happens to Android users all the time. Gingerbread has more market share than Ice Cream Sandwich.” Yes but I can get a Google branded phone & be sure to get updates. That and Android comes on more powerful hardware and has way more apps. plus if I wanted to be screwed over on updates, I would’ve gotten a droid and had MORE APPS.
Screwing over current windows phone users would mean starting over from scratch again but with an angry mob of windows phone users screaming over internet. I can already tell you that I’ve stopped recommending windows phone on this rumor alone. I’m not risking my reputation for devices that may not get upgraded. It behooves Microsoft to come out and say whether these devices are upgradable. I’m the person that gets their friends to go buy a Windows Phone over the competition. and when the sales people at AT&T, Verizon, TMobile and Sprint talk them into a iPhone or Droid I drag them back to the store & have them exchange it. How much does Microsoft pay me? Nothing! I’m not the only one who does this. Microsoft and Nokia have a lot of free advertising to lose. In addition to be a tech lover and dog walker I’m also a political junkie. 1 thing that translates here is that in politics, YOU DON’T SCREW OVER YOUR BASE OR YOU LOSE. At this point 80-90% windows phones entire market share is the base. I don’t Know how much upgrading current windows phones will cost. I do know it will be MASSIVELY EXPENSIVE if a lot of them don’t.
1’st adopters won’t be the only ones burned by this. Troubled Nokia who’s all in with Windows Phone will suffer the most. Followed closely by Microsoft that’s having trouble making a dent in the mobile market. If windows phone fails that’s it for Microsoft in mobile. The other OEM’s like Samsung and HTC and the carriers always have Android and the iPhone. For Microsoft and Nokia to stay into the mobile game and not get kin-ed all they have to do is update the phones that are currently out in the wild. Not Doing so will definitely spell the end of Microsoft and Nokia in the mobile space.
UPDATE: Made a error: The Lumia 710 and the HTC Radar have 512MB of RAM, not 256MB. Thanks Paras Valecha Twitter (@ParasValecha) greatly appreciated =D