You’d think now would be a great time to buy a device running Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 operating system. For sure, it’s not the worst time to purchase one of the devices, that award is reserved for mid 2011 and devices like the Nokia Lumia 900.
Microsoft may be promising users updates for two years and Windows Phone prices may be the lowest they’ve ever been with or without a two-year contract. Still, there’s a few things coming over the horizon that make it a terrifically awful idea to buy a Windows Phone right now.
Windows Phone 8.1
So far, Microsoft’s own policies towards upgrading Windows Phone users and the leaks about their plans indicate that every user who has a Windows Phone 8 device will get the upgrade. You might think that’s a great reason to purchase a device now but there’s a key thing that a new software update on your smartphone won’t do. It won’t bring you any of the new hardware features that devices built for Windows Phone 8.1 might have.
For example, leaks indicate that the Nokia Lumia 630 will have a camera, but won’t have a physical camera button or any physical Windows keys. In Windows Phone 8.1 users will be able to activate or deactivate a set of on-screen keys at their leisure. The hardware keys found on most Windows Phones can sometimes be mistakenly activated. Getting rid of those keys gives hardware makers more room for better screens and keeps users from accidentally tapping those physical buttons during a video.
Samsung Galaxy S5 and the new HTC One
Windows Phone 8 doesn’t compete in the smartphone landscape on its own. As such, they’re all always devices running other operating systems for users to consider. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be a big deal, many of the Android devices released every don’t come close to offering a premium experience. The ironic thing is now there are two of those phones due for a formal release any day now. Before users flock to the store to buy last year’s high-end Windows Phone devices — excluding the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1020 respectively — they should make sure that their needs aren’t high-end.
If they are, they should hold out until we know the features that users can expect from the new HTC One and possibly the release date for the Galaxy S5. It’s unlikely Apple will be refreshing their device line up until this fall, so users who’ve already decided against the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c are in the clear.
New Devices Makers Are Coming
Finally, new devices with new processors are expected from Windows Phone’s 9 new partners. Microsoft announced this just a few weeks ago. What these new chipsets mean is that Windows Phone 8.1 buyers can expect a new range of devices from names like Lenovo, LG and ZTE.
In short, many device types at all different price points with the possibility of more designs of notoriety besides what comes from Nokia today. Speaking of Nokia, the sale of its devices and services unit is due to be completed any day now. It’ll take a long time before the sale has an impact on Nokia’s devices, but at some point the switch in design and branding will have to come.
For those reasons, users should really think hard before heading into their local store to pick a new Windows Phone device if they’re planning on signing a two-year service contract. Just waiting a month or two longer for Microsoft to announce the new line up of devices or for the Galaxy S5 or new HTC One could be the best purchasing decision they make all year.