Poll results - Majority of Windows Phone users happy with proposed 7.8 update
Certainly the most controversial issue for Microsoft and Windows Phone users right now is the 7.8 update which will bring the new Start screen to current devices. This update is in lieu of getting Windows Phone 8 proper which is reliant on advanced hardware for most of its new features.
Some in the tech media are portraying this as a fiasco though the majority see the light at the end of the tunnel, recognizing that Microsoft had to switch the kernel from CE to NT if it wanted the platform to move forward. Combined with the difficulty in providing direct-upgrades to Windows Phone 8 (it's not a simple "update" but rather requires wiping the device, backing update data and re-writing aspects for current hardware) we can sympathize with Microsoft in not spending invaluable time and resources on making WP8 backwards compatible.
We put the question to you though to get your feedback. On the original article, you folks left an astounding 500+ comments. On the poll, a massive 6,500+ of you left a response. While the data may not be perfect we do get a rough idea of how you are feeling.
Certainly we can say the results are mixed but a majority of you (54%) are okay with Microsoft choosing this path for current Windows Phone users. The clear "no" category had 19.61% thinking Microsoft could and should do more while another 20% were on the fence, perhaps waiting to see how it actually looks and feel. A tiny percentage (6%) claimed they are finished with Microsoft and are leaving the platform.
For those 20% who are unsure they may want to see exactly what the update entails. Microsoft has strongly hinted that as of now, it is just the new Start screen. The reason for that is many of the additional new features, like Wallet or voice, requires access to the core of the OS since they use new APIs not available in Windows Phone 7. In other words, if you code an app that uses the WP8 SDK with new WP8 APIs for WinRT/NT it is not clear how that can be back-ported to a CE device.
Of course we have to remember that what Microsoft showed this week technically was not for consumers. The Windows Phone team team will be having more events this summer where they show off new, not-previously mentioned features including some UI changes. In other words, there may yet still be more to Windows Phone 7.8 but Microsoft is waiting to reveal those in tandem with the consumer preview of Apollo.
In fact, Nokia US on Twitter yesterday noted that besides the new Start screen "Other elements aren't being disclosed at this time" which leads us to believe there may be yet more to come for Windows Phone 7.8.
Looks like we'll just have to wait and see but so far, Microsoft may have done enough to ameliorate the issue with users.