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Windows Phone 8: Current WP Devices won’t get ‘Apollo’, Confirms Nuno Silva; Will Offer Customization & Differentiation to OEMs; Integrated Carrier Operated Services

Windows Phone 8

A few days ago, a Microsoft evangelist, Nuno Silva in an interview said that all “actual” Windows Phones devices will be able to be upgraded to Windows Phone 8 “Apollo”.

His statement fueled the controversy on Microsoft’s actual plans for the upcoming platform, and forced Microsoft to say that “we have nothing to share about future releases.” Although the company does note that “We have stated publicly that all apps in our Marketplace today will run on the next version of Windows Phone. Beyond that, we have nothing to share about future releases.”

Verge, who posted the above Microsoft statment also notes that a “trusted source close to Microsoft” says that an upgrade path from current Windows Phones to Windows Phone 8 is “absolutely not the case,” that instead “there will be no upgrade path from Mango to Apollo.”

Here is a short transcribed video excerpt of the hour long interview in Portuguese. Here’re the translated quote from the clip:

Q: In terms of devices, who today have one is it expectable that…

A: What Microsoft said/stated and what I’m allowed to tell you is that all actual devices will get upgrade to the next major version of Windows Phone (we´re talking about Apollo)

Q: When you say actual devices. Are all that came out to market?

A: Are all that came out. Since the first generation that were bought. The LGs and SAMSUNGs.. OMNIA 7 which were the first devices with Windows Phone reaching the market.

Now, in today’s blog post on MSDN, Silva notes that he mistakenly stated that all devices would be compatible with Windows Phone 8 — “I mistakenly confused app compatibility with phone updateability, which caused the rumors we saw yesterday. I did not intend to give the impression I was offering new guidance on any products under development or their upgradeability,” he said.

Here is Silva’s full statement:

I recently participated in an interview with the Portuguese website Zwame, where I made some comments on the future of Windows Phone that created confusion. Rumors are swirling, so I feel the need to clarify my statements.

The point I was attempting to make was simply that existing Windows Phone applications will run on the next version of Windows Phone. This is the same guidance that Microsoft shared late last year.

I mistakenly confused app compatibility with phone updateability, which caused the rumors we saw yesterday. I did not intend to give the impression I was offering new guidance on any products under development or their upgradeability.

While we have given Windows Phone developers this preliminary guidance on app compatibility to help them with long term project planning, Microsoft does not have any further news to share on future products at this time.

As always, you can tell I am very excited about Windows Phone and I hope you are too! 🙂

Nuno Silva

Also, in news is that the “Tango” update (or “Windows Phone 7.5 Refresh”) to Windows Phone 7 will be coming to phones worldwide sometime in early June.

“…the update is ready and is undergoing approval by all operators who sell phones with the operating system Windows Phone 7. It is anticipated that the upgrade to Windows Phone 7.5 Tango is available in both free mobile Zune to the market and subsidized by the operators in early June 2012,” revealed a Spanish site Mi Movil Windows.

Tango is minor update for Windows Phone that allows devices to run with just 256 MB of RAM, amongst other minor features that help bring the operating system to lower price points and developing markets.

Also, note, that Microsoft is planning to unveil a number of “customization and differentiation improvements” in Windows Phone 8 to OEMs soon, according to a copy of the “high level agenda” of a Microsoft summit on Windows Phone 8, at Microsoft’s UK headquarters in Reading, Berkshire in the coming weeks, posted by Netbooknews.

The agenda focuses on Windows Phone 8 “Apollo” schedules, application development capabilities, and connectivity / APN management for the upcoming smartphone operating system.

The topics that will be covered during the summit include:

  • Apollo Review
  • Windows Phone Schedules and releases plans/processes
  • Customization & Differentiation opportunities
  • New Windows Phone 8 application development capabilities
  • ‘What’s new’ feature review of Apollo
  • Connectivity and APN management
  • Better together with Windows 8

Now, according to Verge, Microsoft will likely discuss the integration of Rich Communication Suite-enhanced (RCSe) services directly into Windows Phone 8, and plans “to allow operators to be able to integrate their own, or third-party, voice and messaging services directly into the People Hub of Windows Phone 8.” According to sources familiar with Microsoft Plans, “this integration will go even further, allowing carrier voice over IP services to look like normal voice calls when they are received on Windows Phone 8 devices,” Verge reports.

Also, as previously heard that Microsoft has similar plans for integrating Skype into Windows Phone 8, and it seems MS is preparing to allow its partners to bake their chosen services into the OS too.

And, that Microsoft’s wallet payment service, that will utilize the NFC chipsets in Windows Phone 8 devices, will also be opened up to operators and will allow them to brand those services in a similar way to the RCSe integration.

Although Microsoft has not spoken publicly about its plans, a number of Android handset manufacturers have been integrating RCSe services in preparation for carriers start to rollout their offerings more broadly.

By working with the the mobile operators on such opportunities, Microsoft surely sees this as a key offering for its mobile carriers that will ship Windows Phone 8 handsets later this year.

Wheather or not the current devices will get Apollo, MSnerd, claims that Nokia and Microsoft are currently testing Windows Phone 8 on a Nokia Lumia 610, and that the performance is currently not up to spec at this time.

Also, wpxap, a Chinese forum is reporting a new Windows Phone 8 device dubbed “Nokia Lumia 800” is in testing. The post also states that there are some compatibility issues with some applications but those are in the process of being repaired. “my friend is Lumia 800 WP8 system, do not ask cannot be upgraded,” the post reads.

A few more details have surfaced on Chinese, the list of details include: Windows Phone 8 will supposedly bring an overhaul of Internet Explorer, folders, bulk SMS/MMS deletion and enhanced support for the Chinese language, while a VPN option could also be making its debut in the new operating system.

Additionally, a feature of Windows Phone 7.5 beta that was pulled before its release — “ability to close an application by touching a small x in the top corner when surfing a list of open apps,” could make its way back in to WP8.

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