Microsoft Shows Off Windows Phone 7.8, Resizable Start Screen

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News Posted: Tue, Jun 26 2012 1:52 AM
Windows Phone 8 may not be coming to Nokia's Lumia 900, but Windows Phone 7.8 will be. The company had to make the tough decision to cut-and-run in order to make WP8 the best that it could be, but the good news for early adopters is that WP7.8 brings a lot of the same visual elements to older devices. The new Start Screen is arguably the star of the WP8 show, and that's one of the things that will make the transition to WP7.8. There's the ability to resize the start screen, change the size of tiles, and make the things you care more about... more visible. These things generally tend to have a better impact with video, and that's exactly what's below. There's still no set release date for WP7.8, but keep an eye out -- should be here by fall at the latest.


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sevags replied on Tue, Jun 26 2012 6:09 PM

o0o0o0o.... The ability to make tiles 3 different sizes. So much more advanced *sarcasm*

Lumia 900 owners were told they would not get an update and then were told they would get updated to WP8 and not all they get are resizeable tiles. Woop-dee-doo.

The Lumia 900 is a great phone and really brought attention to the WP world which has lots of potential but then alienating your early adopters?? If Lumia owners knew they would have waited to use their upgrade on a real WP8 phone, or hell an HTC One, Samsung Galaxy III, or iPhone5. Instead th used their upgrade on a phone that I would now consider EOL only a couple of months after release and now will have to spend full retail to buy a new phone without upgrade/contract renewal. It's like buying a new Sony Experia Ion today with android gingerbread and being told it will never upgrade to ICS.

What a great phone, released way too late, and no upgrade path.

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JDiaz replied on Tue, Jun 26 2012 11:45 PM

It's a little bit more than just resizeable tiles being offered. They're basically giving the WP8 UI to earlier devices. It's just lacking the other new features of WP8 but mind the announcement includes specifically that new apps, camera enhancements, and a new way to share contacts and track data usage are all still coming to Nokia Lumias.

So just because they're coming out with a new OS for new phones only doesn't mean the older phones are just going to be dropped on the spot. After all they're not even releasing the WP8 phones all at once, but rather starting with the low end models and moving towards higher end over a couple of months. While each carrier will have different turn around times of adoption and time periods of customer turn over rates.

Add the older phones will continue to be used in emerging markets and not everyone will immediately make the switch means developers will most likely continue to develop apps that will work on all or at least most WP devices and this is more likely because WP8 phones will still be able to run WP7 apps. So aside from support of new features they can make apps that will work on both and provide a transition period that can last a few years before people will have to actually choose to upgrade unless they absolutely want one of the new features.

Really, initially this won't be any different than say how the iPhone 4S came out and it was the only one that offered Siri despite being little different from the iPhone 4. At least MS has a better excuse with taking WP in a new direction with compatibility with Windows RT and fairly significant changes in hardware compared to Apple having pretty much no excuse but marketing for Siri.

Like they'll be pushing for 720P resolution optimization so apps can work more easily across devices from phones to tablets and on anything that'll run Metro apps, while older phones have lower resolution screens. NFC feature will become common, unlike the randomness in the older phones that only some models got NFC. Fixing of hardware issues like support for multiple cores only applies to the newer phones because all the older phones are single core... Among other valid reasons...

While most phones have no upgrade path. HTC for example won't upgrade any phone to ICS with 512MB or less RAM. Sure, people could root and install it themselves but the point is support from actual companies is lousy for the entire industry. Even Google didn't offer ICS for it's Nexus One and there's a reason that ICS is still only on about 7% of all Android devices despite the fact it's intended for pretty much any Android device and doesn't have the excuse of previous releases of being optimized for either tablets or smaller devices like phones.

If it wasn't for the community of 3rd party ROM developers most people would find providing even their own upgrade support just as hard as say trying to hack Windows Phone 8 onto older phones. Though that's not to say no one won't try doing exactly that in the future but let's not confuse 3rd party support with support from the actually manufacturers and carriers.

While most companies pretty much do their best to cheat customers by not telling them they're coming out with a new product that will have features the ones already out won't be able to get until just before they release the new products.

So if anything MS and Nokia sided with consumers by giving them early warning as this'll hurt the manufacturers and carriers more than the consumers now that consumers have been warned of the change and can decide to either wait or choose another option. Since consumers have months to decide versus the new products coming out within just days or weeks as is normally the case with most mobile device updates.

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