Windows Phone 8 is now out, and Windows Phone 7 users can only look on in jealousy. Well, that is until they get their own update in the form of Windows Phone 7.8 that adds a number of features from Windows Phone 8 to the platform. Microsoft hasn’t said much about the update since it was announced, but at least we now know it’s still alive.
In a post on the Windows Phone blog, the team has finally broken its silence on the Windows Phone 7.8 update. The good news is that the update is still coming, and that Microsoft hasn’t abandoned the users of its previous mobile OS. The bad news is that the update has been pushed back from later this year to early next year.
Back when the update was first announced, the only thing we really knew about Windows Phone 7.8 is that it would resizable live tiles. That’s a good enough update as it is, but it will bring other features from Windows Phone 8 as well. For instance, Windows Phone 7.8 doubles the number of theme and accent colors to help make the phone more personal. It also features some new lock screen options including the Bing picture of the day.
Microsoft isn’t forgetting about mobile gamers either. The company says that Words with Friends and Draw Something are now available on Windows Phone 7.5 and will be on 7.8 when it launches. Rovio is also working on bringing Angry Birds Space and Angry Birds Star Wars to the platform.
Windows Phone 7.8 devices will also launch in more countries around the world as we near its launch. It will be sold as an entry Windows Phone compared to the current range of Windows Phone 8 devices. The move to 7.8 should ensure that those who buy cheaper phones won’t be shortchanged out of the many unique features found on Windows Phone 8.
After all this, the big question now is when Windows Phone 7.8 will be available. There’s no concrete date just yet, but Microsoft says that it’s currently working to start testing the update with its hardware and carrier partners to make sure its ready by a release sometime in early 2013.
In other news, Microsoft has contracted the Abominable Snow Monster from Rankin-Bass’ holiday classic, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, to sell Windows Phones for the company. It’s one of the most delightful holiday ads you’ll see this year.