If you’re running the old version of WP7, you are going to have to upgrade or lose the ability to download apps. Starting yesterday, only Windows Phones running version 7.5 and up can download, buy, update, or review apps in the Marketplace — Microsoft’s name for its app store, according to an official Windows blog. Those who try to access the Marketplace while running Windows Phone 7.0 should already be getting error messages. We feel for you, but you really should upgrade. Windows Phone 7.5 is free and available for every Windows Phone. It has a ton of improvements from the original version.
How to get Windows Phone 7.5
To upgrade, you should be able to simply plug your phone into your computer via USB. If it doesn’t automatically prompt you to download software, here are links to download the Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac or the Zune software for PC. The software is pretty helpful for organizing pictures, music, videos, and podcasts, but will also update your phone for you. Just click on the Update button if it doesn’t automatically prompt you.
To check if you have Windows Phone 7.5 already, just head to the Settings menu on your phone, then go to About and click the “More info” button. It will say what operating system you are running.
Microsoft appears to be making some big changes to its Marketplace and the way it serves apps. According to a blog post in April, Microsoft has removed Marketplace access from the Zune software completely and is instead focusing its efforts on the Web and on-phone versions of the store.
The complete demise of the Zune brand and service have been around for a while. In February, a particularly interesting rumor floated that Microsoft may turn its Zune service into a Spotify-like offering, rebranded with the Xbox name. If Microsoft does have big plans for a new service, we imagine that it may debut around E3 or later this year when Windows 8 is close to launching.