Windows Phone 7 users may soon get a cosmetic update

The so-called Windows 7.8 OS won't have all the functions of Windows Phone 8 but it will have a revamped interface and some new features

The long-awaited update to Windows Phone 7 appears to be close to a prime time rollout.

The upgrade won't have many of the fancy features of the latest version of Microsoft's mobile operating system, Windows Phone 8, but it offers a revamped user interface that give it the cosmetics of the new mobile OS.

When Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8, the company also said it would provide an upgrade for the early adopters who supported WP8's predecessor. That was necessary because WP8 makes a clean break from WP7.

"Windows Phone 8 is a generation shift in technology, which means that it will not run on existing hardware," Joe Belfiore, manager of the Windows Phone program, said in a company blog. "But we care deeply about our existing customers and want to keep their phones fresh, so were providing the new Start screen in this new update."

That sop to WP7 users is no small favor for them, according to Windows IT writer Paul Thurrott. "I can tell you after almost a month of using WP8 handsets that this one feature really is most of the new WP8 experience," he says in his Supersite for Windows blog. "It will be a huge benefit to existing users."

Since WP8 phones began hitting the market, Microsoft has been quiet about its promise to legacy users, but that's changed in recent weeks. For example, it was reported in the Chinese press last week that Microsoft's Greater China vice president predicted Windows Phone 7.8 would be launched in China "in the coming weeks." While that time frame may be fudgey, it at least shows that the upgrade is still on Redmond's radar.

Meanwhile, a Chinese video has appeared on the Internet showing the WP7 upgrade in action on a Nokia Lumia 510 phone. The video doesn't show anything very startling. The active tiling feature familiar to WP8 users is showcased, as well as the Bing wallpaper lock screen.

Earlier in November, upcoming features for WP7.8 were revealed on the Facebook page of a Microsoft employee in Italy, who predicts the update will support the company's music and Xbox offerings.

While much of the news of WP7.8 appears to be coming from overseas where, apparently, lips are looser than they are stateside, it's hard to imagine Microsoft pushing the update to users outside the United States before it does so domestically. That means "the coming weeks" may be sooner, rather than latermaybe even before the end of the year as Microsoft had previously promised.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags upgradesMicrosoftPhonesMobile OSeswindows phone 7mobileWindows Phone

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John P. Mello Jr.

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?