Microsoft Finally Pegs Windows Phone 7.8 For Early 2013

The consolation prize for Windows Phone 7 (and 7.5) users who found out that they weren’t going to get the Windows Phone 8 upgrade when it became available was a tweener upgrade called Windows Phone 7.8.

Microsoft announced months ago that version 7.8 was forthcoming, and although it’s still not available in most locations--Microsoft says that it’s “beginning to launch in many countries around the world”, whatever that means exactly--a post on the Windows Phone blog assures all that it will be widely available in early 2013.

Windows Phone 7.8

Windows 7.8 offers the ability to resize Live Tiles on the Start screen, 20 theme and accent color options, and tweaks to the lock screen functionality. Two of the Angry Birds games (Space and Star Wars) will be available on Windows 7.8 devices, too. A rollout of Windows 7.8 will also bring wider market coverage so more people have access to apps and Xbox services.

It’s not much, but it’ll have to do for those who aren’t yet ready for a handset upgrade but want to sip the pleasures, at least superficially, of Windows Phone 8.

One benefit is that Microsoft is planning to sell new Windows Phone 7.8 devices at lower price points in an effort to get more people plugged into the new Windows ecosystem, so there should be a range of solid yet budget-friendly Windows Phone handsets hitting the market soon.