Is Microsoft planning a "major rewrite" of the Windows Phone OS?

It's very messy for Microsoft to start talking about future releases of the Windows Phone OS before anyone has seen any handsets, while also not having a clear message about future upgrade paths. People buying WP7 handsets will need a certain level of certainty that their handsets will be upgradeable to future OS versions. Guesses and assumptions that, of course, first generation handsets will be compatible with furture releases is not enough.

Something that Ina Fried wrote over on News.com caught my eye earlier:

"Microsoft has opted to delay until next year the CDMA version as it works to finish work on its major rewrite of its phone operating system."

Should those planning to be early adopters of Windows Phone 7 handsets be worried?

Well, as with most things, it depends. On the face of it is seems logical to assume that this "major rewrite" will consist of the addition of features such as Cut/Copy/Paste, CDMA support, multitasking and so on, then that's one thing. Windows Phone 7 handset owners should (I place emphasis on the word "should" in that sentence) be able to load the new OS on the old phones, much like iPhone owners have been able to install new OS releases.

But ...

It's very messy for Microsoft to start talking about future releases of the Windows Phone OS before anyone has seen any handsets, while also not having a clear message about future upgrade paths. People buying WP7 handsets will need a certain level of certainty that their handsets will be upgradeable to future OS versions. Guesses and assumptions that, of course, first generation handsets will be compatible with future releases is not enough.

Hello ... Microsoft? Anyone home???

[UPDATE: Looks like talk of this "major rewrite" is putting ZDNet's own Mary Jo Foley off of being an early adopter ...]

[UPDATE #2: Mary Jo Foley has now added some clarification from Microsoft downplaying the "major rewrite" as referring to the Windows Phone 7 code that recently went RTM.]

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