Windows Phone 7.8 Updates Have Begun
Users of older Windows Phone 7.5-era devices are starting to see the promised Windows Phone 7.8 update, which began rolling out this week.
Microsoft's Windows Phone team Tweeted on Wednesday that "the Windows Phone 7.8 update begins its rollout today." Still, Microsoft has not released any information regarding when the update will hit specific device models. ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley noted that some users of HTC, Samsung and LG devices outside the United States have reported receiving the update.
Separately, Nokia, Microsoft's most committed smartphone OEM partner, gave a few more details.
"[F]ollowing extensive software testing, update notifications will begin to appear for Nokia Lumia 510, 610, 710, 800 and 900 owners with an unlocked phone or operator approved software during February," the device maker indicated in a blog post. The company also posted a video giving an overview of new features and instructions for accessing the update.
Windows Phone 7.8 uses the same update process as Windows Phone 7.5, according to a Microsoft spokesperson. Users will receive a notification on their phone when the update is available. They can install the update by connecting their phone to the Zune software on their computer.
Nokia pointed out that the timing for the update's arrival is "carrier dependent," and advised users to contact their carrier directly if they do not receive notification of the update within three weeks.
Windows Phone 7.8 is aimed at users of older Windows Phone devices, which cannot be upgraded to Windows Phone 8 due to the new flagship platform's higher hardware requirements. Among other features, Windows Phone 8, which launched in the fall of 2012, supports near-field communication (NFC) and multicore processing, which Microsoft says are incompatible with older Windows Phone devices.
However, one of Windows Phone 7.8's most-touted features is the new customizable Start screen, which it does share with Windows Phone 8. Users can now resize and move the tiles on their home screen and access more colors and themes. Other features include Bing wallpapers, expanded language and font support, and a new lock screen for users with Exchange accounts.
Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.