Yet most advanced mobile operating systems from Microsoft lacks back-compatibility
Microsoft Windows Phone 8 'exceeds industry expectations' according to analyst reports of the operating system, which was announced earlier this week. However, the operating system lacks back-compatibility, which will frustrate current users of Windows Phone 7 and manufacturers such as Nokia.
Windows Phone 8 is based more deeply than its predecessor on the technology core of Windows 8, so Windows Phone and the desktop version will share common networking, security, media and web browser technology, and a common file system, said Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president at Microsoft, on his Windows Phone blog. He added: 'That translates into better performance, more features, and new opportunities for app developers and hardware makers to innovate faster.'
Malik Saadi, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, commented on the launch of Windows Phone 8. He noted: 'Features shown at the Microsoft Phone Developer Summit have exceeded the industry expectations. This fresh platform is now equipped with the right tools to satisfy the market's appetite for innovation and is a challenge to rivals like the ageing Apple iOS. Although the existing Windows Phone 7 (WP7) will be upgraded to include some high level features of WP8, the true capabilities of this platform will sparkle only when new enabled devices are launched.'
But a lack of back-compatibility means some users will have to buy a new phone in order to get full Windows Phone 8 functionality, said Saadi: 'However, because WP7 is not truly upgradeable to WP8, this could have a negative impact on sales of existing WP7 smartphones, Nokia's Lumia devices in particular. Operators and users will hold on until the new devices are in the market this coming Autumn. This will have a serious impact on Nokia's financial performance this quarter as the company relies strongly on Windows Phones as the main platform for its smartphones.
'Although OEMs and developers were very enthusiastic about WP7, they never considered it as a 'wow' platform that would enable them to bring innovation and a unique ecosystem experience to the market place,' Saadi continued. 'It is true that some OEMs have voiced their concern about Microsoft's close partnership with Nokia but this has not been the only factor that pushed them to limit or discontinue their support to Windows Phone. Smartphones running WP7 have been missing some of the most innovative features and functionalities in the market that are necessary to win the heart of advanced users, the 'super-smartphone' owners in particular.'
Windows Phone 8 addresses the majority of these issues and could be a game changer, claims Saadi. He remarked that a number of vendors and developers have said they were holding off until WP8 is ready. 'The introduction of WP8 is very likely to attract back-key OEMs including HTC, Samsung and LG as well as, most importantly, mobile operators that want to see another thoroughbred in this three-horse race. Challengers including Huawei and ZTE have also said they would not seriously engage with Microsoft until Windows Phone 8 was ready as this could potentially take the focus away from the Android platform.'
HTC has already stated its ongoing support of Microsoft by backing the new Windows Phone 8 platform. Building on the two companies' long mobile partnership dating back to 2000 and including more than 40 million phones sold, HTC will be bringing new Windows Phone 8 smartphones to market later this year.