US mobile phone carriers dole out smartphone software upgrades like a miserly old curmudgeon, and now Microsoft seems to have joined their ranks by announcing a Windows Phone 7.8 update in June, and then going silent on the issue ever since.
Be still, oh yee early Microsoft smartphone adopters. A couple of unofficial Windows Phone blog posts over the weekend seem to indicated that there is indeed an update in the works, but no immediate planned release date.
Windows Phone 7.8, the Final WP7 Update, Updated
Windows Phone 7.8 was announced during the Windows Phone 8 launch back in June, and it now seems more like a slap in the face rather than a final bone given to WP7 early adopters, Paul Thurrott wrote on his Supersite for Windows blog.
Microsoft has been known to make many products backwards compatible, and while this particular update may not affect a huge swath of WP buyers, its lack of even minimal lip service may be coming to an end. Windows Phone 7.8 could arrive as early as this week, according to a rumor from the WMPower User blog.
So far, the only official news we have about WP 7.8 is it will include a more flexible live tile homescreen like WP 8 devices. Other WP 8 features will not migrate eo WP 7x devices because of hardware limitations. The phones simply cannot run WP 8 without things like dual core processors.
WP 7.8 could also include bluetooth file transfer ability, lock screen wallpapers and new accent colors, according to the WMPower User blog. Additionally, for Nokia phones, there could also be SMS drafts and a keep WiFi active mode when the phone is asleep.
WP 7 a Two Year Long Beta Test
As a late comer to the smartphone world, the Windows Phone system only debuted in 2010. Windows Phone 7 became more or less persona non grata with the development of Windows Phone 8, but those who did buy an HTC Titan or Nokia Lumia 900 are now feeling the non update sting other phone OS users have become accustomed to.
Of course older phones don't get the newest system updates, but it was widely assumed that would not be the case for Microsoft because the WP system arrived three years after the iPhone debut. Surely, Microsoft would take into account the original WP devices should be kept relevant as long as possible.
Perhaps two years is as long as any device can be relevant in the fast changing mobile world, and as noted above, it is often up to the mobile carrier as to the timing and possibility of software updates. It's a complicated system no doubt, but Microsoft has to be thinking long term here, and in two more years, WP 8 may indeed have a more conspicuous place in buyers' minds.
Nokia's Lumia 920, its flagship WP 8 device is now out in the wild, and so far it seems to be selling at a good clip. It has sold out many initial shipments to retail stores, and the fact it has the same look as the Windows 8 system on laptops and tablets should help raise its profile. That is something the WP 7 system didn't have, although it theoretically could have if the hardware limits were not in place.