It’s pretty clear that Microsoft (s msft) is making a clean break from Windows Mobile. Sure, the platform will be supported for some time, but the future is Windows Phone 7 and the standardized requirements for devices to run it. Do most Windows Mobile device owners expect an upgrade to the latest and greatest? Probably not. But what about the HTC HD2 — arguably the most capable current WinMo phone and certainly among the most recent? Even with the 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU (s qcom), it doesn’t appear that an official upgrade will make it to this portable powerhouse.
Natasha Kwan, a Microsoft General Manager in the Asia-Pacific region, tells APC Magazine that “[b]ecause we have very specific requirements for Windows Phone 7 Series the current phones we have right now will not be upgradable.” That statement doesn’t name the HD2 specifically, but Tony Wilkinson, Business Operations Director for Microsoft Australia, put a potential nail in the coffin saying “there are some hardware components that the HD doesn’t have.” There’s also commentary about the number of buttons on the HD2. Since it doesn’t have exactly three, it apparently doesn’t qualify for the Chassis #1 design as specified by Microsoft.
I expect that the XDA-Developers site will end up building a Windows Phone 7 build for the HD2, if not other relatively new devices, so it’s likely that unofficial upgrades will be possible. Officially, I’d think it difficult for Microsoft to make an exception for the HD2, assuming it truly doesn’t meet the still-internal hardware requirements that Microsoft has. If it allows an upgrade for the HD2 then will owners of a Toshiba TG01 ask for it too? What looks like a clean break quickly becomes a fragmented mess in this case — which is exactly what Microsoft is trying to rectify and something that Google might be considering as well with Android (s goog).
We have some current HD2 owners overseas and I’m sure some U.S. readers are anxiously awaiting the device on T-Mobile — any thoughts on the upgrade potential for this phone? What about for Windows Mobile 6.5.3 and older devices?
Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):