Several reports had poured in over the past few weeks about the impending update of Windows 7 devices to Windows Phone 7.8. There were even rumours that Microsoft would be rolling out the update to existing Windows Phone 7 devices by as early as yesterday. This did not materialise and they had been nothing more than rumours. On its official blog, Microsoft has now provided a time frame for the rollout of Windows Phone 7.8 to existing Windows 7 devices, by stating that it will be rolled out as soon as early 2013.
Windows Phone 7.8 coming early next year
In the blog post, Microsoft reveals some of the new features that come with the update, but the highlight comes in the last paragraph. According to the post on the Windows Phone Blog, Terry Myerson, corporate vice president, Windows Phone, states, “We know you’re eager to get the Windows Phone 7.8 update, and we want you to know that we’re working closely with our hardware and carrier partners to get it tested, approved, and rolled out to as many devices as possible in early 2013. As we work to quickly get this in the hands of our loyal users, we’re also striving to deliver a high-quality release and ensure a smooth transition for our widely expanded services.”
Myerson states that Windows Phone 7.8 does not only feature the new Start screen, which is used on Windows Phone 8, but also brings in a new range of features. He says that when he used the WP 7.8 update on his Nokia Lumia 900, it felt like using a completely new phone. Myerson states, “Resizable Live Tiles totally change the way I do things, providing faster access to more of my favorite people, photos, and apps.”
Windows Phone 7.8 comes with more themes as well as an increased number of accent colours, which is now 20 in all. The new operating system also features new lock screen features such as the option to automatically display the Bing Picture of the Day and the ‘A1B2C3’ PIN/ password challenge to prevent accidental device wipes on phones connected to Exchange accounts.
He also mentions that there are a number of new apps that are coming to Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows 7.8 users. Apps such as Words with Friends and Draw Something are already available, while Angry Birds Space and Angry Birds Star Wars are on the way.
Myerson states, “New models running Windows Phone 7.8 are beginning to launch in many countries around the world, strengthening the ecosystem by bringing more Windows Phones to more people. These devices will typically be sold at a range of lower price points, meaning there will now be Windows Phones for everyone’s budget and need. This is incredibly important for broadening the reach of Windows Phone across the globe and ensuring we have the right product for every market.”
The testing of the rollout of Windows Phone 7.8 is already underway, and Microsoft has managed to increase its global service coverage by over 30 percent, extendng it to 95 countries, a number that should continue to rise.
From this announcement, hopefully, the rollout will be available soon.