Why after yesterday’s event, I still convinced my friend to buy a Lumia 900.
As I am sure you’ve all heard by now, Microsoft announced yesterday that all Windows 7.x phones will not be upgradable to Windows Phone 8. Almost immediately, news sites and blogs began publishing apps on how Microsoft is abandoning its early adapters. Personally, this reminded me how frustrated I felt as a Windows Mobile 6.5 user when Windows Phone 7 and its lack of upgradability was announced only a few months after I purchased my HTC Imagio. However, I’ve noticed a few differences between the 6.5 and 7.5 drops.
First off and probably most importantly, Microsoft isn’t dropping support for Windows 7.5 phones. Instead, they are releasing another update for these phone. So far, the only change we know about in this 7.8 update is the facelift for the home screen and its Live Tiles. Of course, I am still hoping that there will be more to the upgrade than that, though, since it is closer to x.5 iteration than a x.1 upgrade (and certainly more than a x.0.1 upgrade, which was given to 6.5 users). Nevertheless, the facelift is a pretty big deal in its own right. As Joe Belfiore said, it is the marquee feature of Windows Phone 8. This is also relevant the second difference between the 6.5 and 7.5 drops. Between 6.5 and 7.0, there were more things different than there were the same. However, between 7.5 and 8.0, while there are many, many differences in software, the most immediately noticeable differences will be in hardware.
So why did I convince my friend, Jenna, to buy a Lumia 900 yesterday, after the announcement that it would not receive the WP8.0 update, over the iPhone 4S and One X? Simple. The Lumia 900 still has one of the best end user experiences in the market. And no lack of upgradability will change this.
Jenna, the 20 year-old young professional, just entering the engineering field hours away from her family still has everything she needs in the Lumia 900. It still has integration with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, so she can be connected to friends, family, and coworkers. It still threads texts and Facebook chats, so she can keep all of her chats together. It still has the People, Me, and group hubs that will allow her to easily keep in touch with family and friends. It still has Office installed, so she can read her Excel sheets from work anywhere. It has Lync, which her company serendipitously uses. Out of all of the currently released phones, it covers a more comprehensive list of everything that she needs or wants.
Of course, she won’t have NFC support (that we know of), even though it won’t be available in the US at launch, anyway. She won’t have dual core or a high-res screen, but a software upgrade wouldn’t fix that, anyway, and she needed a phone soon (certainly before this fall). She might be missing some of the Windows Phone 8-exclusive apps. This is probably the biggest blow for WP7.5 users. If an app is created for WP8, it will not work on WP7.8. However, if it is created for 7.8, it can be compiled to work for 8. Once again, I’m hoping that this means that there will still be some development for WP7.8, but even if there isn’t, there have still been over 100,000 apps published onto the Windows Phone marketplace. Not only that, but Windows Phone 7.8 still has big-named apps like Foursquare, Netflix, Kindle, Pizza Hut, Photosynth, IMDb, Skype, etc… Also, since she bought a Nokia Windows Phone, she can be confident that the OEM apps, such of Nokia Drive, will continue to fill in the gaps that Windows Phone 7.8 will have in the upcoming years.
The bottom line is that the Lumia 900, even without Windows Phone 8, is such a great experience that it will continue to be a dependable device for the two more years of a contract. Because of this, I had no problem suggesting the Lumia 900 over iPhone 4S or HTC One X.