While Windows Phone 7 device owners wait patiently for news of the Windows Phone 7.8 software update, there could be trouble brewing, as according to an LG representative, its Optimus 7 phone may not be getting the update at all.
The news comes from a Polish WP7 blog, which published an email from LG to a customer inquiring about the release of WP7.8, saying it’s “not expected to introduce the software update for your version of the E900.” At least, that’s what Google Translate gives us.
We know the E900 better as the LG Optimus 7, one of the original Windows Phone 7 line-up released in late-2010. It was joined by the LG Quantum/LG Optimus 7Q, a close relation with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard which was only released in selected markets, the U.S. being one of them.
Like the majority of first generation Windows Phones, the Optimus 7 has a single-core 1GHz processor and 512MB of RAM, and it has subsequently been updated to Windows Phone 7.5 Mango.
What we’re saying here is that at first glance, there’s no obvious reason why it shouldn’t run Windows Phone 7.8. The concern then becomes, what if it’s not the only one?
Windows Phone 7.8 was Microsoft’s way of apologizing to early Windows Phone adopters, as their phones wouldn’t be getting Windows Phone 8, so it will be ironic should some of the very earliest adopters not even get the consolation prize.
Microsoft hasn’t been very forthcoming with details on the new software, saying only that new information would be coming in the next weeks. Nokia has been more careless, with a few pieces of information leaking from its camp recently, plus the OS has been seen running on a Lumia 900.
So, we know WP7.8 will make it to the Lumia 900, but are there any notable differences between it and the Optimus 7? It shipped with version 7.5, also known as Mango, already installed, while the Optimus 7 didn’t, plus the processor is a Qualcomm APQ8055 1.4GHz chip, and the Optimus 7 uses a 1GHz Qualcomm QSD8650.
The Lumia’s chip is part of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S2 range, while the Optimus 7’s is a Snapdragon S1, and was first produced almost two-years before the S2 version. It’s also essentially the same chip found in the other first generation Windows Phones, including the HTC Trophy, HD7 and HTC 7 Pro, the Samsung Omnia 7 and the Focus, plus the aforementioned LG Quantum.
If the processor is the problem, there’s going to be more than a few disappointed owners out there when WP7.8 does arrive.
No cause for alarm just yet
There’s a good chance this may not be the case, as the Optimus 7 has always been a bit of a problem child. When Mango was released, the phone was one of the few that experienced consistent update fails, leading to Microsoft recommending that users don’t even try. This was also the case with Samsung’s Omnia 7.
A hardware problem which raised its head earlier this year resulted in LG replacing bricked, discontinued Optimus 7 devices with Android phones, plus users have reported issues with the headphone socket and the charging system too. Perhaps the Optimus 7 is just too far past its usefulness — in LG and Microsoft’s eyes at least — to be worthy of updating.
Finally, the LG representative could have got the facts wrong, and Optimus 7 owners will be able to enjoy Windows Phone 7.8 after all. However, we won’t know for sure until Microsoft gets round to providing a release date for the missing-in-action update.