Over the course of a day, we heard “confirmation” that the current crop of Windows Phone 7 devices will and won’t get the upgrade to Windows Phone 8 “Apollo”, leaving us with more questions than answers. Yet another source suggested that these phones may get a Windows Phone 8-lite, akin to the Windows 7 Starter made for netbook computers. For me, this whole issue of whether or not a device will get an upgrade brings up a discussion worth having in the mobile community; namely, should we expect that our phones will always be kept current with the latest version of the mobile operating system?
Ready the torches and pitchforks, people, as I’m going with a resounding NO! When we purchase a device, we purchase it because after exhaustive research, we’ve found a device that fits our mobile needs. When a software maker such as Google announces a new version of the operating system, sure we may lust after some of the features. After all, Android beam and face unlock are cool, but should we expect that our devices, which are now 6+ months old, mind you, are entitled to the latest version of the OS and all of the features found therein?
Generally, when a new version of a desktop OS is released, the hardware requirements are generally enhanced, as you need more processing power to handle some of the basic features of the OS. Some computers simply can’t run Windows 7 or Mac OSX Lion. If they were allowed to do so, performance and user experience could suffer dramatically. Similarly, I wouldn’t expect the Samsung Behold II, or even the original Galaxy S phones to be upgraded to a full version of Android 4. They simply wouldn’t really be able to handle it. And, before you yell at me for referencing the Behold II, I actually saw one being used out in the wild today. They’re still out there!
I don’t think the average customer cares (or even knows) what version of Android/iOS/Windows Phone they’re running, as long as the device meets their expectation for what they want in a smartphone. When you made the decision to purchase a Galaxy S II or Lumia 900, you did so because these are sleek devices that do everything you need in a smartphone. Sure, the latest and greatest operating system could bring features you need/want to make your life just a little easier or get a little more juice out of your phone, but you ultimately bought it for what it could do today, and it will continue to do that even if it doesn’t get an upgrade.
Of course, that’s just one opinion. I want to hear what you think about upgrade entitlement. Sound off in the comments below.