Windows Phone 7.8 to start shipping on new devices, update due in 2013

29 Nov 2012

Windows Phone 7.5 devices, such as the Nokia Lumia 800, can't be upgraded to Windows Phone 8

Microsoft has announced that devices running Windows Phone 7.8 will begin rolling out across the world in the coming weeks, while Windows Phone 7.5 users can expect an update early next year.

The sore point about the launch of Windows Phone 8 was that it would not be possible for Windows Phone 7 users to upgrade to the revamped OS. However, Microsoft promised an update for previous Windows Phone users that would bring them as close to the new platform as possible.

This update is now here with Windows Phone 7.8, which will bring features such as the new start screen, resizable live tiles interface, new lock screen features and double the number of theme colours to Windows Phone 7.5 devices. New devices shipping with this platform are expected to start rolling out worldwide, and these handsets will, typically, come at lower cost than the higher-spec Windows Phone 8 devices, making 7.8 Microsoft’s more accessible platform.

Microsoft is encouraging developers to work with the new platform and Windows Phone 7.5, having already secured apps from Words with Friends and Draw Something and with Angry Birds Space and Angry Birds Star Wars on the way.

Microsoft is currently testing the update with hardware and carrier partners and roll out is predicted for early 2013. While Windows Phone 7 does not have the same reach of 191 markets that Windows Phone 8 has, Microsoft claims that coverage has increased by more than 30pc to 95 countries, and rising.

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic