Microsoft: No, WinMo 6.5 devices will not be upgraded to Windows Phone 7

Cue the sad trombone, folks. If you were waiting around with your Windows Mobile 6.5 device with hopes that Microsoft would one day bless it with a new chance at life in the form of Windows Phone 7, it’s time to move on.

APC Magazine just got the full spiel from Microsoft themselves: Windows Mobile 6.5 devices won’t be upgradable to Windows Phone 7 series. (You hear that? Five hundred XDA hackers just scoffed and said “Yeah, we’ll see about that.”)

Why? Standards. Microsoft has a very, very, almost ridiculously strict set of hardware guidelines that they want manufacturing partners to follow when building Windows Phone 7 Series handsets — and for the most part, old handsets just don’t fit the bill. They either lack one of the three mandatory keys (search, back, and Windows key), or — get this — they have too many keys.

A while back, a shot of the HTC HD2 allegedly running Windows Phone 7 Series hit the net. We were quick to debunk it here, with our reasoning being that the HD2 lacked the mandatory search key. Sure enough: Microsoft’s GM of Mobile Communications in the Asia-Pacific, Natasha Kwan, says the HD2 won’t be getting the upgrade “because it doesn’t have the three buttons”.

Of course, this just means that they won’t be getting the upgrade treatment from Microsoft. As we mentioned above, there’s probably a mighty army of hackers just waiting to get their hands on Windows Phone ROMs for the sake of down-porting it to older handsets; if it’s feasible, it’ll probably happen.