Windows Phone 7.8/8 Upgrade paths

| June 21, 2012 | 85 Replies

I got a couple of mails trying to clarify the reasons why there is no clear WP8 upgrade path for current users. The current situation is a sort of  two pronged approach. First, current Lumia handsets aren’t completely abandoned – they will get an update in the form of WP7.8 which brings amongst other things we’re not yet sure about, the new start screen. As to whether there are any more, I don’t know. Second, next generation Lumia will be on WP8, and there is at least a possible option perhaps to flash your current Lumia to that at your own ‘enthusiast’ risk, but strictly it’s for new Lumia (and other new WP handsets).

So, is it just because it’s a hardware issue? If so, how are WP8 handsets supposed to go sub 100USD, even cheaper than the 610? Vineet and Rich explains is more to do with the change in the base kernel. You can see their posts below:


Vineet says:

The general consensus in the blogosphere seems to be that the reason for no 8.0 upgrade is hardware constraints. This isn’t the case. You might in fact see low cost WP8 devices running on 1 Ghz Single Core and 512 MB RAM (the base specs of WP7.0). The main reason for the lack of upgrades is the fundamentally different kernel and architecture. Basically, WP8.0 is +1 in name only, in reality it is a completely OS, you can’t change the base kernel (and middleware and drivers and everything etc) with an OTA update.

Speculation: It might be possible to reflash current phones completely and install WP8.0 (so like wiping a PC clean and installing a fresh OS) but to do this would require complicated steps and procedures with a very high risk of users bricking their devices. Alternatively Nokia Care stores could do it but the cost and time to reflash potentially millions of devices would be extremely prohibitive. Not to mention they’ll first need to invest in and actually make a version compatible with current phone hardware.

The Single core 1 Ghz ability of WP8.0 is kind of obvious since WP7.X series is now officially dead (no backward app compatibility), so what is Nokia going to use for mid and low end WP in the immediate future? Dual Core 28nm 1.5 Ghz MSM8960 with Adreno 225 and 1 GB RAM? Unlikely. 🙂

Rich also mailed in to share his opinion on the WP8 upgrade path

Why Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 Upgrade Path is Correct

  • So what Microsoft has done is the sensible option – release a “Windows Phone 8 lite” for existing handsets so that the features that will run will be provided, and anything that can’t be provided will be reserved for new handsets.
  • Microsoft’s changes were wholly necessary. The existing kernel for Windows Phone does not allow for the seamless integration and interaction between Windows Phone and Windows 8, so a change had to be made. This change was better to happen now while the userbase is relatively small rather than wait for the operating system to gain more marketshare.


I searched ‘no wp8 upgrade’ to see what the general opinion is:

I searched ‘no wp8 upgrade bad’ to find out what the more negative consequences are:

Well, whether it’s a good decision, or a bad decision, it is Nokia who has to weather the effect on sales such news might have to customers. The biggest worry may not be the inability for a firmware update to sprout hardware features such as a HD screen, dual core and NFC as some seem to expect. No. It might be to do with the fact that consumers may now be limited to what apps they’re going to get because WP8 apps aren’t directly compatible for WP7 (though WP8 owners can take advantage of WP7 apps – imagine how much worse that would be if suddenly all those apps could not be used on future devices).

On the upside, there are over 100,000 apps in the marketplace. Also there is still hope that developers can code their apps to make it compatible for both. I’m not sure exactly how much effort that would take. Certainly if they make it WP7 compatible, they make the app available for a wider set of consumers but risk not taking full advantage of WP8.

This matters most in the early days of WP8. Should it get established with the possible catalyst in W8, looking at the bigger picture, it doesn’t matter as the WP7 userbase is so small. Unfortunately, it seems, you WP7 guys have been smartphone betatested (ah, what a fail of a campaign). and quite rightfully you should be disappointed.




Category: Nokia, Windows Phone

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Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]