Phone Updates

15 Apr

Microsoft, quite rightly, came in for a lot of flak when it was revealed that users of Windows Phone 7.x devices would not be able to upgrade their devices to Windows Phone 8. I was affected by this, but wasn’t as annoyed by some as I only had a few months remaining on my contract before I was able to upgrade my phone, and besides I’d been through this type of pain before having owned an Android device.

It seems that Android users will regularly receive no new manufacturer implemented updates after a short space of time, typically I’d guess within a year. Sure these phones can be unlocked (often without jumping through too many hoops) and a custom ROM applied on the device. Many of these custom ROMs are of outstanding quality and implement features not found on the manufacturer equivalent… but they are ultimately unofficial. For many this is of no consequence, however it was always something I was a little uneasy with.

Yesterday I downloaded the Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview to my aging Nokia Lumia 920 (I’ve had this device 14 months, the phone itself was released about 18 months ago I’d guess) without any issues, and it all seems to be running without issue. In doing so I wondered to myself how many Android devices launched around the same time are still receiving official manufacturer updates now. Not too many I’d guess.

The Windows Phone 8.1 update will be available for all Windows Phone 8 hardware with the exception of one carrier specific variant in the US (Lumia 810?), however even users of this will be able to update via the developer programme if they want (the restriction has been imposed by the carrier that released this model apparently).

It’s not all good though. The updates will trickle out to non-developers only as the update passes approval on each device from each carrier. This seems a little crazy to me, and something Apple should be applauded for by bypassing this restriction. Still, at least there is a way to get the update early, so that’s something I guess.

Now I just wonder how long my current phone will be supported for with further updates? By virtue of the fact that the OS is getting increasingly lightweight and running on ever less powerful hardware, I’m hopeful updates will continue for quite some time yet.

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