Owners of HTC’s highly-praised HD2 touchscreen smartphone will be unable to upgrade the device to Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 software when the OS is released towards the end of the year.
Despite the HD2 meeting many of the criteria laid down in Microsoft’s ‘Chassis 1‘ spec â€“ including a 1GHz Qualcomm processor high-res capacitive touch display 5 megapixel camera and 3.5mm headphone jack â€“ the phone will be ruled out for the simple reason that it has five buttons instead of the three mandated for all Windows Phone 7 devices.
That’s the official line from Microsoft at any rate. Natasha Kwan General Manager for Microsoft’s Mobile Communications Business in the Asia-Pacific region told APC that the HD2 â€œdoesn’t qualify because it doesn’t have the three buttonsâ€ one of which needs to be a dedicated search key with the HD2 lacks.
Windows Phone 7 device except for two buttons too many…
Not that Microsoft is singling our the HD2 as a phone or even HTC as a manufacturer. â€œBecause we have very specific requirements for Windows Phone 7 Series the current phones we have right now will not be upgradableâ€ Kwan explained.
There could be more to this than just the sin of having two buttons too many however: Tony Wilkinson Business Operations Director for Microsoft Australia told APC that â€œthere are some hardware components that the HD doesn’t haveâ€.
We’re not sure what those are because Microsoft has not revealed its complete recipe for Windows Phone 7 devices â€“ that’s due to take place at this month’s MIX developer conference in Las Vegas â€“ but we’ve heard that a pixel-pushing graphics chip might be on the checklist.
For its part Microsoft says it will not abandon the current Windows Mobile 6.x platform once Windows Phone 7 arrives. The OS will be rebranded as Windows Phone Classic and retained for budget-minded smartphone buyers as well as business customers with 6.x-based apps.
â€œWe think there are people who will want 6.5 and the 6.x platform has a lot of enterprise and line of business appsâ€ Kwan says.
Microsoft will update Windows Mobile 6.5 to 6.5.3 before the Windows Phone Classic rebadging takes place and Kwan says this will enhance the experience for 6.5 users.
â€œA lot of 6.5 applications have been built very much from the old paradigm of the stylus. Those legacy apps will be a lot more compatible on 6.5.3 because we have magnifier technology which lets you use your finger for navigating even though it has a much bigger surface area.â€