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Windows Phone 8 aka Apollo may not roll out to WP7 devices

As many of you already know, Windows Phone 8 has been the Apollo update that we all have been hearing about. Tango, which is meant usher in lower spec’d devices and allow Window Phone to compete on budget level of smart phones with Android will be released shortly. Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet  who has always got her eyes on the comings and goings of Microsoft, has recently written up an article reading between the lines of Two Microsoft Exec’s that were asked about both Microsoft Office coming to iOS and whether Windows Phone 8 will roll out to existing WP7 handsets.

The answer seems to be yes and no.

President of Microsoft Business Division, Home and Office Kurt DelBene was recently asked at the Morgan Stanley Media and Telecom conference about the “Move” to iOS. Not whether it would or when it would, but the assumption that it was a done deal. Kurt answers by saying that they have put a lot of work into iOS already and that they are working with Apple (picture that for a moment if you will LOL) to make Safari play nice with their web based applications. He goes on to include work on Calendars, Notes, and how OneNote is already on iOS. Kurt did not deny or confirm whether excel and word would be made available for iOS either. Seems to indicate that  there is a lot of enthusiasm by MS to continue to development for iOS for their office products and perhaps an Office Suite?

Second rumor, and one that I am not surprised by either, is Windows Phone 8 being backward compatible and rolling out to Windows Phone 7 devices. Mary Jo Foley states  “My sources have claimed that Apollo isn’t going to be pushed to existing Windows Phone users — which may be a carrier decision as much as, if not more than, a Microsoft one.” Further, there may not be 100% app compatibility between WP7 and WP8 as we were originally told (possibly as the kernel moves to NT). Terry Myerson, Corporate Vice President of Windows Phone is quoted as saying:

“We haven’t announced Windows Phone 8, but in terms of I can show you our goal to all Windows Phone 7 applications will run on Windows Phone 8.  Application compatibility is always something, where there’s always stuff on the fringe…. The spirit is our goal that all Windows Phone applications today run on our next release.”

He does not answer the question of whether Apollo will be available for Windows Phone 7 devices but instead mentions how Applications that are now on Windows Phone 7 will be compatible with WP8. Mary Jo claims multiple sources close to her have confirmed that we will see new devices with Windows Phone 8. It has been rumored that Apollo would usher in dual core and perhaps even a Quad Core(?) along with higher resolution screens. It makes sense that this new Operating System would be a major pain for Microsoft to make backwards compatible with WP7 devices and the rollout would be a nightmare. Also, it would not make carriers too happy by missing an opportunity to roll out a howl new device platform instead of making all those new whistles and bells available to existing customers.

So it doesn’t look good that Mango or Tango owners will see Apollo. (yeah I couldn’t resist writing that) But it does look good that iOS owners will get some Microsoft Office love. Regardless, I am still excited to get the Nokia Lumia 900 and seeing some more of my favorite Apps on Android and iOS released this summer for Windows Phone. Zynga better be one of the Damnit!