Microsoft evangelist corrects comment that Windows Phone 7 devices will get upgrade to Apollo

Issue leaves some Nokia Lumia 900 buyers wondering

A Microsoft developer evangelist has corrected his earlier comments that all current Windows Phone 7 phones, including Nokia's new Lumia 900, will be upgraded to the next major version of the operating system, Windows Phone 8, dubbed Apollo.

The evangelist, Nuno Silva, said in a blog Thursday that what he meant to say to Portuguese Website Zwame was "simply that existing Windows Phone applications will run on the next version of Windows Phone ... the same guidance that Microsoft shared late last year."

In the earlier video interview, posted on Zwame on Tuesday, Silva said (in an English translation of his comments) that all existing Windows Phones "will get upgraded to the next major version of Windows Phone ..." The comments on Zwame were captured by the website The Verge, but his video interview appears to have been removed from Zwame's site.

In his blog, Silva said he had "mistakenly confused app compatibility with phone updateability, which caused the rumors we saw yesterday."

Silva's blog leaves the question unanswered of whether the new Nokia Lumia 900 will be upgraded to Apollo, which has caused some concern for Lumia 900 buyers and others.

"What's the point of buying a ... Lumia if it won't receive a single major update after its release?" wrote Bilal Akhtar in a comment on a post from Computerworld blogger Preston Gralla.

One AT&T store representative said he is telling customers that the Lumia 900 "might, or might not, get the next upgrade, which is all the information we're getting."

Officials at both Microsoft and Nokia said they have nothing to share about future releases of Windows Phone, although a Microsoft spokeswoman confirmed that "all apps in our marketplace today will run on the next version of Windows Phone."

A Nokia spokesman added: "Since Microsoft hasn't actually officially announced a new mobile OS beyond the current Windows Phone 7.5, it would be premature for us to speculate on what the features or requirements for any future iterations might be."

Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, said Nokia and Microsoft must be working together on future versions of the Windows Phone OS. Many factors could determine whether the Lumia 900 and other devices are upgraded to a new OS, he noted, including whether the hardware, such as a dual-core processor, is needed for the next OS. The Lumia 900 has a single-core processor.

If the new OS comes to market at the end of this year or later, it won't matter much to some Lumia 900 buyers today if there's no upgrade path, Gold said. "The other issue is, how many users will actually care?" he asked. "We sometimes get caught up in the tech talk, but a lot of users may not care or notice that they don't have the latest OS version powering their phones. How many Android users return their phones when they find out a new version won't make it to their device?"

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

See more by Matt Hamblen on Computerworld.com.

Read more about mobile oses in Computerworld's Mobile OSes Topic Center.

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