Windows Phone 7.8 is Microsoft’s way of saying sorry to the legions of Windows Phone Mango users who won’t be getting Windows Phone 8 when the update arrives later this year. While it’s unfortunate those who have helped put Windows Phone on the map won’t be getting all these great features, Windows Phone 7.8 still has merit.
Microsoft has put up a “Windows Phone 7.5 News” page on its site, which strangely doesn’t mention version 7.8 at all, but does provide information on at least some of what it will contain, along with a brief demonstration video.
A tweet from Microsoft’s Windows Phone account called the page “a summary of the new things coming to Windows Phone 7.5″, which makes it sound like this is the final line-up, despite there being a hint of more to come during the launch event.
The main change is that Windows Phone 7.8 will include the new Windows Phone 8 Start screen, where each Live Tile has a choice of three different size – small, the existing medium, and a screen-wide large Tile. The video shows how easy it is to re-size Tiles, as the sizes are cycled through at the tap of a new button.
According to the page, that’s it for all non-Nokia Windows Phones, as Microsoft merely highlights the presence of 100,000 apps inside the Marketplace. If you own a Lumia phone though, you’ll be getting several other additional features, such as an enhanced camera, a new way to share your contacts (basic NFC support perhaps?) and an app for tracking data usage.
The news attracted some less-than complimentary replies on Twitter, with owners surprised the update was so feature-light. Really though, Microsoft could have left Mango devices out in the cold, but has chosen to give them one of WP8′s best new features instead. Come update season, Android owners often get nothing at all, even on a phone that’s five minutes old.
Microsoft hasn’t confirmed when Windows Phone 7.8 will be released, but it’ll most likely be before the end of the year.