Windows Phone 7.8 update won’t arrive until next year

A key update to Windows Phone 7 is set to arrive early next year, but Microsoft has been criticised for taking too long and not sharing enough detail about new features.

Windows Phone 7.8 update won't arrive until next year

Microsoft announced in June that handsets would not be compatible with Windows Phone 8, but promised an update to give early adopters some of the new features, including the Start screen – and users have been waiting for version 7.8 ever since.

The updated OS is already available pre-loaded on new handsets, and Microsoft has now said it will be released for existing handsets in “early 2013”. The company also revealed a few new features.

I’ve supported Windows Phone as an evangelist since day one but the current thinking of Windows Phone team is pathetic

“During the development process, I used builds of 7.8 on my Lumia 900 and it felt like a completely new phone: resizable Live Tiles totally change the way I do things,” said corporate vice president of Windows Phone Terry Myerson in a blog post.

“Windows Phone 7.8 also… doubles the number of theme and accent colours to 20,” Myerson said. “There are also new lock screen features: the option to automatically display the Bing Picture of the Day plus the ‘A1B2C3’ PIN/password challenge to prevent accidental device wipes on phones connected to Exchange accounts.2

The announcement appears to be a reaction to growing dissent over the silence on the update since the launch of Windows 8, but it wasn’t seen as enough by some users.

“Sorry, 2013 for WP7.8 – are you joking?” asked Paul_B in the comments on the blog post, echoing similar sentiments from many others.

“The people who bought into Windows Phone in the early days are being treated like mugs. With what WP 7.8 has to offer it should be released now. I’ve supported Windows Phone as an evangelist since day one but the current thinking of Windows Phone team is pathetic.”

Other users wanted more specific details for developers. “Features aside, there was no information about updates to the SDK to allow developers to take advantage of the double-wide tile on 7.8, which one would assume has to be part of it, but at this point you can’t be sure since it was not discussed at Build,” said Sergio Fernandez.

“It also mentions access to services, but it does not detail what part will 7.8 play on that, if any.”

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