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11/26/2012
09:15 AM
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Windows Phone 7.8 Still MIA

Microsoft and Nokia hint that Windows Phone 7.8 might see the light of day soon, but specifics are still ethereal.

Windows Phone 8: Star Features
Windows Phone 8: Star Features
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Windows Phone 7.8, which was announced on the same day as Windows Phone 8, has been missing in action since June. Microsoft and Nokia explained that the minor system update would be made available to Nokia's older Lumia line of devices in lieu of WP8, but there's been no word about it in nearly five months.

Microsoft has come under fire recently for the lack of detail about the operating system. It will offer some of WP8's aesthetic improvements to older hardware. Over the weekend, Paul Thurrott slammed Microsoft for abusing its early adopters. Essentially, Microsoft has stranded its earliest Windows Phone customers on older devices that cannot be upgraded.

Windows Phone 8 may look and feel like its WP7, 7.1, and 7.5 precursors, but it is entirely different under the hood. It is based on the same kernel used by Windows 8 and Windows RT. It has different hardware requirements, which means every single device that shipped with an earlier version of Windows Phone cannot be updated to WP8. This includes former marquee devices, such as Nokia's Lumia 900, 800, and 710, as well as the HTC Titan and Titan II.

Hence Windows Phone 7.8.

[ Windows Phone 8 users report crashes and reboots on their devices. Read more at Windows Phone 8 Hit With Random Reboot Bug. ]

Microsoft knew it needed to do something to fill the gap between Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows Phone 8, and WP7.8 is that gap filler. But we don't know anything about it. The only detail shared by Microsoft concerns the new WP7.8 home screen, which includes the same adjustable tile sizes as Windows Phone 8.

TechCrunch reached out to Microsoft and managed to get a comment. "We have made no further announcement on [WP7.8] but hope to share more details in the near future," said a Microsoft spokesperson. That's a fantastically vague statement that doesn't really say anything of value.

A number of websites have pointed to a story on Toni's Tech Blog that says WP7.8 is being launched "as soon as Wednesday." There's one problem: The post was written way back on March 26, a detail that appears to have escaped the sites citing it as a source this week.

At this point, the bottom line is that we know nothing more than we did five months ago, and Microsoft is keeping it that way for the time being.

Upgrading isn't the easy decision that Win 7 was. We take a close look at Server 2012, changes to mobility and security, and more in the new Here Comes Windows 8 issue of InformationWeek. Also in this issue: Why you should have the difficult conversations about the value of OS and PC upgrades before discussing Windows 8. (Free registration required.)

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ukjb
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ukjb,
User Rank: Strategist
11/26/2012 | 5:19:33 PM
re: Windows Phone 7.8 Still MIA
this is my suprised face :-|
wht
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wht,
User Rank: Strategist
11/27/2012 | 12:11:42 AM
re: Windows Phone 7.8 Still MIA
Eric, when Microsoft is ready to distribute the product changes they will let us know. In the meantime, quit bitching about it and writing ridiculous articles about being out of the loop. Does Apple tell you what they are going to do...Hell NO, so why should Microsoft or any other manufacturer do anything different. Articles like this one are annoying, and a waste of time to read.
Eric Z
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Eric Z,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/27/2012 | 12:21:19 AM
re: Windows Phone 7.8 Still MIA
I'm not b%tching about anything. Owners of hardware stuck on WP7.5 sure are, though. Microsoft announced WP7.8 in June and implied that it would arrive at about the same time as WP8. That time has come and gone with no word from Microsoft. At this point, nearly half a year later, Microsoft owes it to those early adopters to at least give them an update.

It is a journalist's job to hold companies responsible for the promises they make to their customers, whether or not the subject matter annoys you.
Further, I was pointing out and correcting a story being incorrectly reported by other media outlets.
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