Official: Windows Phone 7.8 update coming in ‘early 2013′, new features detailed

With growing chatter about Windows Phone 7.8, including impassioned editorials demanding explanation from Microsoft, the Windows Phone team pretty much had to respond with news about the promised update. So they have, and the news is a mix of good and bad.

Windows Phone’s Corporate Vice President Terry Myerson (who is effectively the president with the departure of Andy Lees from the division) has published a status report for users about Windows Phone 7.8 on the Windows Phone Blog. Right off the bat, Myerson talks about the community’s passionate response to the new Start screen featured in Windows Phone 8, and how it has overnight become the signature feature of the platform.

In case you didn’t take that hint, Myerson transitions into 7.8 by reiterating that the new Start screen is coming with the update. Beyond that though, more details about 7.8′s new additions were revealed. The following list is a brief description of what Myerson has confirmed is coming:

  • The new Start screen
  • Bing daily photo lockscreen
  • PIN authentication before device wipe
  • 20 new accent colors
  • Expands to 95 countries supported for access to Store and Xbox services

So now we know what is coming, but how about when? That’s where the bad news comes in (emphasis ours):

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.

This is obviously disappointing to hear, especially considering the wild rumors that had 7.8 pegged for as soon as this week. Also, the language Myerson used concerns us a bit saying that the update will come to “as many devices as possible” but not committing to all devices. Something tells us that the devices from now-retired partners such as Dell and LG may not support their devices with an official update, but that is simply speculation on our part.

How do you feel about the Windows Phone 7.8 situation? Was Microsoft right to prioritize the launch of Windows Phone 8 before catering to its existing users?

Source: Windows Phone Blog

Author Description

Saad Hashmi

Founder of Windows Phone Daily. Currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Marketing and Information Systems. While procrastinating on that goal I write, play games a little too often, and watch exorbitant amounts of mediocre half-hour comedies because I lack the patience to watch hour-long dramas that are probably better. Follow me on Twitter: @Saad073