Microsoft: Windows Phone 7.8 launch to be determined by manufacturers
Russian wing breaks silence
News on the roll out of Windows Phone 7.8 to existing Windows Phone 7 handsets has, until now, been thin on the ground, with Microsoft's US arm refusing to offer comment on its launch.
The American giant's Russian wing, however, has shone more light on the story.
As suggested by Nokia in an exclusive statement to PocketGamer.biz earlier in January, Windows Phone 7.8 is essentially ready to ship to consumers.
The problem is, it's up to individual manufacturers to ship it.
One for all?
Microsoft Russia made the statement via the Windows Phone Russia Twitter account, informing a customer that the update – which is likely to be the last major refresh to the now cut off Windows Phone 7 platform – will be designed to run on all handsets.
However, the "final decision to issue an update to a specific model is up to the manufacturer."
In other words, it could be some time before all Windows Phone 7 devices get the new OS, if they get it at all.
Pass and move
Such news isn't surprising.
As has always been the case with Windows Phone, it's always up to OEMs to push individual updates to Microsoft's mobile OS out to consumers, and manufacturers are able to pass on immediate updates (as well as offer their own modifications) if they so choose.
Microsoft's built-in safety net, however, is that OEMs can only skip one update in a row. What's more, any update they do pass on has to be bundled with its successor at the time of its launch.
As such, Microsoft can guarantee that all Windows Phone 7 devices will, eventually, be upgraded to the latest version of the OS, avoiding the situation many Android owners endure, where older handsets are often left running archaic versions of Google's platform.
OEMs could always delay the roll out of updates, but they couldn't block them indefinitely.
When it comes to Windows Phone 7.8, however, that rule is unlikely to be enforced, given it could serve as the last major update to the original version of the OS following the roll out of Windows Phone 8 devices at the end of October 2012.
No knocking Nokia
The good news is that most manufacturers appear likely to roll the update out.
Nokia has openly promoted Windows Phone 7.8, and continues to sell Windows Phone 7 devices – such as the Lumia 800 – at retail.
Indeed, PocketGamer.biz understands that Lumia 800s currently shipping to retail outlets come with Windows Phone 7.8 already on board.
WMPoweruser also cites a tweet by HTC pointing to a similar attitude – advising consumers to "keep checking in for the latest" - suggesting the update will hit handsets sooner rather than later.
Whether such promises will be enough to convince developers to remain loyal to Windows Phone 7 while Windows Phone 8 picks up momentum, however, remains to be seen.
Nokia is certainly doing its best to argue the case, as it explains in its post about how Lumia 800 will be improved by Windows Phone 7.8.
You can read our take on the Windows Phone 7.8 debacle here.
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