Microsoft has recently announced that all Windows Phone 7.8 and 8 support is starting to end, and it is expected that all support will stop at the end of 2014. The Microsoft Product Lifecycle support page indicates Windows Phone 8 and 7.8 are already past their lifecycle start dates. According to this page, Microsoft plans on ending mainstream support for their windows phones 7.8 and 8.
Microsoft said it “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. Distribution of the updates may be controlled by the mobile operator or the phone manufacturer from which you purchased your phone.” Since this announcement, Microsoft hasn’t made another announcement explaining the situation in any more detail.
What if you’re about to buy a Windows Phone?
So, you’re looking at purchasing a Windows Phone? Typically this phone is available on a 24 month contract. Once 18 months have gone by, you would imagine that you will have a handset that no longer has software updates. However Microsoft have said that there will be updates, but we think they could be intermittent; as Microsoft noted, “update availability will also vary by country, region, and hardware capabilities.” So, it doesn’t mean that everything is lost for you and your phone, it simply means that Microsoft may or may not release an update for it, but only time will tell.
Has this been done before?
Yes. That is the simple answer. Those who had them at the time of the Windows Phones first release encountered the same problem. Last year Microsoft stopped support for the Windows Phones running the 7.5 OS, and those running it where not able to update to the newest OS 8.
Microsoft hasn’t confirmed another phone at this point in time so the whole situation is a bit cloudy. However we will most likely see a new phone at the end of this year, due to the leaked information about a project known as Blue, that Microsoft is working on; this is supposed to be the next Windows Phone OS. This suggests that Microsoft are pushing you off the old OS’s to get you onto the next one.
This seems like a brave move by Microsoft at this point in time. However if they can pull it off, and put all Windows Phone users onto a new phone, they may well be successfull in the phone market.