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Microsoft launches Windows Phone 8, but existing users miss out

Unveiling their new and improved Windows Phone 8 operating system, Microsoft have risked alienating some of their existing customers as it is revealed that the new features will not work on existing Windows Phone handsets.

For those who already own these devices, which include the popular Nokia Lumia devices, this means that a software upgrade will not be available. Considering the fact rival developer Google offers upgrades to its Android operating system, Microsoft see custom driven into the arms of their competitor.

Windows Phone 8 features

Of course, for those in the market for a new phone, this limitation will have little impact. Models which run the new Microsoft operating system will benefit from a vast selection of features, with multi-core processors supported by the new devices and high definition 720p screen resolutions available.

Start screens will offer better customisation, while internet call software and video chat facilities will be able to run as background applications. Security will also be enhanced, with potential threats from downloadable content identified and brought to the attention of users via a smart alert system.

A new ‘wallet’ app will also be included. This supports NFC payments and means the phone could effectively be used as a credit card.

The dual-core nature of the processors used in these new Windows Phone 8 models should also enhance the playback quality of video and music media. Voice command operations will also be supported, with integrated turn-by-turn navigation provided by Nokia Maps.

No upgrade

Unfortunately, those currently running Windows Phone 7.5 or older operating systems provided by Microsoft will be unable to benefit from the above features.

Alongside this lack of upgrade, apps which are developed for the new OS will not be compatible with older models – meaning existing users could stand to lose out.

This has been called a major disadvantage for Microsoft, who were keen to explain that an intermediary operating system (Windows Phone 7.8) would be released to offer the ‘core elements’ of Windows Phone 8 to older devices.

Whether this will be enough to satisfy those currently viewing their Nokia Lumia with contempt remains to be seen. But we have to question whether Microsoft have risked their long term customers in an attempt to secure short-term gains?

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