If you own a Windows phone today, you won't be able to get all the hot new features and Windows 8 integration announced today in Windows Phone 8 without buying a new Nokia, Huawei, Samsung, or HTC phone.
The good news (well, sorta good news) is that you will be able to get the newly revamped "live tiles" design on the home screen of your WP7 phone via an update to Windows Phone 7.8.
Microsoft explains that the new cababilities and features that come in Windows Phone 8 reach deeply into the guts of the phone, and require new phones with new hardware to support them.
For instance, Microsoft says, WP8 is designed to run on next-generation phones that have multi-core processors, new graphics engines, higher screen resolutions, microSD storage, and near field communication radios (for mobile wallet functions). The one thing that existing Windows Phone 7 phones can handle, apparently, is the new user interface on the home screen.
All those people who bought the much-hyped Nokia Lumia phone will get a new home screen and some upgraded apps in 7.8, but will be stuck with a phone that will seem old come next Fall when new WP8 phones hit the market.
Does this sound familiar to anyone? Microsoft may have some good reasons for Windows Phone 8 not being backwards-compatible, but it seems like Microsoft has consistantly disowned its faithful by cutting them off from new developments in the OS.
Windows Phone 8 is expected to go into general release with the Windows 8 operating system this fall, but Microsoft did not say exactly when the 7.8 upgrade would become available for WP7 users.
The first Windows Phone 8 phones will come from Nokia, Huawei, Samsung, and HTC, and will be built with chips from Qualcomm.
Microsoft rolled out the new features in a Windows Phone platform preview for developers (who need to know the new features early) held in San Francisco Wednesday.