While Lumia 710 owners learned the hard way final decisions on future software updates for devices rests with the carriers, Microsoft is announcing their life-cycle for Windows Phone 8. Microsoft has generally avoided placing specific timelines for supporting devices, but has now confirmed that Windows Phone 8 will be supported through July 8th, 2014, and Windows Phone 7.8 supported through September 9th of next year.
Those dates line up with Microsoft’s brief mention that they planned on 18 month life cycles during the original unveiling of WP8 last year. Ultimately, Microsoft’s attempts to push 18 month lifespans will be determined by both hardware and carrier support. While I’m never a fan of buying a device with the hope it will receive updates in the future, there’s clearly room for improvement in the industry as carriers have far too much control over updates. With Windows Phone 7.5 devices unable to upgrade to Windows Phone 8 due in part to kernel upgrades, WP8 devices should be capable of upgrading to the next iteration of Windows Phone.
The next generation Windows Phone platform, codenamed “Blue” is expected to show itself to the world in time for the holiday season later this year. We still expect smaller feature improvements will roll out during the year, but major changes will wait until “Blue” releases.