Windows Phone 7.8 Update Brings New Start Screen, Confirmed for “Early 2013”

No word on the new features included in the update

There have been many rumors claiming Microsoft will launch the long-awaited Windows Phone 7.8 upgrade by the end of this year.

The update was spotted running on a handful of older-generation Nokia Lumia devices, but no official word on the release of Windows Phone 7.8 was available until today.

Terry Myerson, corporate vice president, Windows Phone, Microsoft has just confirmed the company is actively working to bring the promised Windows Phone 7.8 upgrade to existing WP 7.5 devices.

However, this won’t happen until “early 2013,” Microsoft claims, “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.”

Unfortunately, Microsoft’s official announcement does not come with anything new regarding the new features Windows Phone 7.8 will bring to users, aside from those we already knew and wrote about weeks ago.

The most obvious will be the addition of a new Start screen, which is said to completely change user’s experience with the phone.

The update also brings new themes and accent colors, along with a few neat 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.”

Although it’s not clearly specified in the announcement, Microsoft plans to offer the Windows Phone 7.8 update to all first- and second-generation Windows Phone devices.

We reported a few days ago that LG did not plan to offer a Windows Phone 7.8 to its first-generation Optimus 7 smartphone. Hopefully, this is just a misunderstanding and the update will be made available in this device as well.

Microsoft also states that new apps will be available for Windows Phone 7.8 users, such as Words with Friends, Draw Something, Angry Birds and Angry Birds Star Wars.

However, we doubt that developers would want to create apps for Windows Phone 7.8 when Windows Phone 8 is the latest version of the platform. Stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

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