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What we won't be seeing with Windows Phone 8 Apollo

Microsoft unveiled its latest mobile phone operating system last week – Windows Phone 8 – at its Windows Phone Summit developer’s conference in San Francisco. ITProPortal rounded up all of the rumours and speculation surrounding the Apollo release a day before the keynote and then live blogged all of the happenings from the conference. WP8 will be built upon the same codebase as the Windows 8 desktop OS and will bring in support for multi-core processors, HD screen resolutions and removable storage.

While that's what we can expect to see, what about the things we won't? To complement our article in the top 5 features of Windows Phone 8, and to draw a complete picture of the new platform, here's what Windows Phone 8 will not be bringing.

A good array of handset manufacturers

When Windows Phone 7 officially launched in October of 2010 there were four key mobile phone manufacturing partners, all developing handsets running from the Windows Phone 7 OS. These were Dell, HTC, LG and Samsung. The following year, Windows Phone 7.5 Mango was launched and this gave Microsoft the opportunity to bring in more partners; specifically ZTE, Acer, Fujitsu and Nokia. Nokia has been the most notable addition, with the Finnish company dropping its own Symbian mobile phone operating system in favour of Windows Phone for its flagship handsets.

Going into the Windows Phone Summit, the number of companies making Windows Phone 7 handsets stood at eight. By the end of the summit this had halved to four after Microsoft announed that Nokia, Huawei, Samsung and HTC will be making phones running WP8. This will undoubtedly lead to less choice in terms of handsets, which could very well hamper the new platform's uptake.

Support for older handsets 

There have been many rumours and much speculation leading up to the launch of Windows Phone 8 Apollo, surrounding the fact that existing Windows Phone 7 devices won’t be upgradable to WP8. Microsoft confirmed this rumour to be true by stating, "Windows Phone 8 will not run on existing devices". This means that no current Window Phone 7 mobile phone user will be able to update their device to the new platform.

This will leave a good number of handsets – only months-old – unable to be updated to the Windows Phone 8 OS, even though many are considered flagship models. These include the likes of the Nokia Lumia 900, which has only just gone on sale. Microsoft has unveiled a slight work-around to this disappointing news by confirming that a Windows Phone 7.8 update is coming, which will include features from Windows Phone 8. Although it is unclear what these features might ultimately be, the new start screen will be available.

Microsoft confirmed at the Windows Phone Summit conference that devices running Windows Phone 8 will be supported with updates for at least 18 months - from the device’s launch. This guarantees that WP8 adopters won’t be left out of any major platform updates in the same way as current Windows Phone 7 handsets owners will be.

Rob Kerr is a journalist with more than 14 years experience of news, reviews and feature writing on titles such as Wired, PC Magazine, The Register, The Inquirer, Pocket-Lint, Mobile Industry Review, Know Your Mobile and The Gadget Show. The mobile phone world is his real passion and forte, having owned a handset as far back as 1994 where he has seen them grow from just a business tool to a necessity in everyone’s everyday life.