Windows Phone 7 owners won't get in-app purchases
Windows Phone 8 will add a number of new features to Microsoft's smartphone OS, including support for in-app purchases. But if you have Windows Phone 7, don't expect to get this particular addition anytime soon.
A note on the MSDN Windows Phone Developer Center website has revealed that only Windows Phone 8 will get in-app purchases. The page states that developers "can only add in-app products to Windows Phone 8 apps" for the foreseeable future.
Support for in-app purchases will let developers sell app features, upgrades, and digital currency from within apps themselves. Some of the most financially successful apps on Apple's App Store make use of in-app purchasing models to increase profitability. In-app purchases have been around in Apple's App Store since 2009, RIM's BlackBerry Appworld since 2010, and Google's Android Market since March 2011.
Should in-app purchases remain exclusive to Windows Phone 8, many phones, including Nokia's Lumia 900, will be without in-app purchases. When we get down to brass tacks, the move means that a lot of early Windows Phone adopters will be left out, or forced to upgrade, to gain access to in-app purchases. The move will certainly annoy users, as Microsoft is making year old phones obsolete in short order. Well, more than they already are, anyway.
As reported by The Verge, Microsoft's in-app purchasing model will be handled by the company's new Wallet Hub portal, which will also bring with it NFC support, contact-free payments, deals, loyalty cards, and credit and debit card support. We don't yet know if the Wallet Hub will be available to Windows Phone 7 customers, or if the portal will only be a part of Windows Phone 8.
Windows Phone 8 devices are expected to hit the market sometime this fall, with Windows Phone 7 devices getting a bump to version 7.8 at the same time, but without most of the glorious Windows Phone 8 features. The only major Windows Phone 8 feature that has been announced for Windows Phone 7.8 is the new start screen. Microsoft hasn't shared anything else about its intentions with older phones.