After Microsoft either wasn't able and/or willing to push its Windows Phone 8 operating system to existing Windows Phone users last year, there are understandably a lot of abandonment fears in the WinPhone community.
That's why the recent revelation (via Microsoft's own lifecycle support page) that Windows Phone is going to have an 18-month support window, going forward, has tongues wagging among more than a few Microsoft fans -- and plenty of Microsoft's critics.
(There was no such lifecycle support page for Windows Phone prior to the just-added Windows Phone 7.8.)
What's the Windows Phone team saying about this latest revelation? The team tweeted on March 18: "As we've said before, one benefit of moving to the Windows core is that Windows Phone 8 is upgradeable."
(Microsoft officials made this point yet again during the recent Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona.)
I asked the team if it had further comment about the Windows Phone 8 lifecycle cut-off date, and was told there'd be no further comment.
Back in June 2012, Windows Phone officials said the non-upgradeability of existing Windows Phone hardware wouldn't be a repeat situation with Windows Phone 8. Still, I'd feel better if we knew for sure that every existing Windows Phone 8 handset will get Windows Phone Blue, the next major successor to the Windows Phone 8 operating system. And that every Windows Phone carrier would deliver the Blue update before July of 2014. But the tweet above doesn't guarantee either of these things.
However, like my Windows Weekly cohost Paul Thurrott, I am more optimistic than not that the July 2014 support cut-off date isn't the doomsday scenario many are claiming it is. As I've blogged before, Microsoft is believed to be on track to release three minor Windows Phone updates, starting with the already-released "Portico," before it delivers Windows Phone Blue, which is a major update.
While some believe Blue will be out in time for this holiday season, I'm not 100 percent sure this will be the case. But it definitely will be out before July 2014, I am convinced.
And if it's not, Microsoft can always extend the lifecycle dates for Windows Phone 8. It wouldn't be the first time, as one of my contacts reminded me.