At the Windows Phone 8 event, Microsoft spent a good amount of time explaining the features of its new platform, but failed to shed any light on the Windows Phone 7.8 operating system. However, according to a report by Phone Arena, an executive at Windows Phone Italy has spilled the beans on the other features that will be available with the upcoming upgrade via a Facebook post. The post was quickly deleted.

The post put up by Windows Phone Italy on Facebook read, “The upgrade to 7.8 will be available for versions 7.0 and 7.5 shortly after the marketing of the devices Windows Phone 8. Among the features are the new Start screen, sharing the calendar with the function and Club 'access to key Microsoft services and content, including Xbox Music Store library that can be enjoyed by Zune and Xbox SmartGlass”

Courtesy update?

List of features revealed

A recent report stated that the over the air (OTA) update will not be issued immediately to existing devices. Instead, the manufacturers will focus on launching devices running on the Windows Phone 7.8 platform before issuing updates to existing devices. Hopefully, the wait for getting Windows Phone 7.8 on existing devices will not be very long as these handsets will not receive Windows Phone 8 at all.

None of the existing WP 7 devices, including the Nokia 900, are eligible for a Windows Phone 8 update. In order to avoid a riot outside their stores, Microsoft promptly announced Windows Phone 7.8, a sort of ‘value pack’, if you will, for existing devices. All handsets running WP 7.5 or Mango will be upgradeable to WP 7.8 and one of the new features that the update brings with it is the new customizable homescreen from WP 8. Users of the Lumia 800 and other such devices will be able to resize the homescreen widgets as well as choose between different colour schemes for better personalization and this goes for all Nokia Lumia handsets.

In an interview with The Verge, Greg Sullivan explains this decision, “The nature of the investment [in Windows Phone 8] is primarily in areas that are not exploitable by existing hardware. To do the work to bring all of those elements to a platform that can't exploit them wasn't necessarily the most efficient use of resource.”
While we understand that WP 8 is a completely different beast altogether, it’s surprising that Microsoft couldn’t optimise it for single-core handsets. Perhaps, the reason was the lower amount of RAM, and not the CPU capacity. Who knows, perhaps someone will manage to strip it down and port it over to older handsets. Not everyone cares about dual-core on their phones, NFC and all that jazz, so for them, the WP 7.8 update is more than welcome. “When you pull that Lumia out of your pocket after you’ve received that 7.8 update, it will look and feel the same as a Windows Phone 8 device,” said Sullivan. This should keep many WP 7 users happy for the time being, until they decide if they need to take the WP 8 plunge.

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