Are you looking forward to getting the new Windows Phone 8 Start screen on your existing device? If so, you’ll have to wait until shortly after the launch of Windows Phone 8 in order to get your Apollo-themed goodness, even though the update is a fairly small one in the scheme of things.
Microsoft announced the Windows Phone 7.8 update at the company’s summit last week, designed to bring the next generation Start screen to current models which, unfortunately, are unable to receive the full Windows Phone 8 (codenamed “Apollo”) OS. As soon as the announcement hit, some pundits began predicting that the update would be available “within weeks” or, at the very least, within just a few months. This, however, is obviously not the case.
In the Windows Phone 8 announcement post on the Windows Phone Blog, Microsoft Corporate Vice President Joe Belfiore explicitly stated that “[Microsoft would be] delivering it to existing phones as a software update sometime after Window (sic) Phone 8 is released.” Surprisingly, it took more than a week and a leaked AT&T memo for most people to discover this plainly obvious fact.
Many Windows Phone enthusiasts had hoped for a Windows Phone 7.8 Mango-like simultaneous roll-out for the much smaller Tango (8773) update. Microsoft, of course, went a completely different route with the Windows Phone Summit, announcing the new Windows Phone 7.8 update for current handsets. Some devices, like the Nokia Lumia 710 and 800, will receive Tango in the very near future (possibly as early as this week), but it looks like the Lumia 900 won’t get it at all, thanks to its notable absence from the update chart. Furthermore, Nokia has publically stated that the update will only be released for the Lumia 710 and 800.
The Lumia 900, of course, already has a few Tango features like tethering. In fact, there’s a good chance you already have Tango installed, provided you’re not on AT&T or Rogers. The Lumia 710 and 800, on the other hand, have none of these features. Wireless carriers aren’t required to deliver updates right away, but they are required to include them in future updates. So while you might have to wait a few extra months, your shiny new Lumia 900 will receive Tango features like the messaging improvements. It’ll just be delivered in a bundle with the Windows Phone 7.8 update, rather than as a standalone one.
Microsoft hasn’t specified when the Windows Phone 7.8 update will be released. It could be in the very near future, as some have speculated, or it could be as far off as the release of Windows Phone 8 later this fall. Thankfully, waiting for Tango’s features and bug fixes shouldn’t be too difficult. Especially when we have a new Start screen experience to look forward to.
Greg Sullivan, Microsoft’s Senior Marketing Manager, was on hand at this week’s Windows Phone Summit to answer questions about the announcements. After the keynote, he stuck around to show off the Windows Phone 7.8 update running on one of Nokia’s Lumia 900 handsets. In our video above, Sullivan can be seen demoing the changes to the Start screen (note the mention of the slightly modified – and currently buggy – app list). He then went on to discuss the challenges facing Windows Phone and how Windows Phone 8 will meet these issues head-on. The latter half of this conversation can be seen after the break.
The beautiful Nokia Lumia 900 is manufactured from a single-piece injection-molded polycarbonate shell and features a 4.3-inch AMOLED ClearBlack Display (CBD), 1.4GHz processor, 16GB of internal memory, 512MB of RAM, and a 1830mAh battery. Performance-wise, it can best nearly every device on the market. The 8MP Carl Zeiss camera takes fantastic photos, and the quality of the 1MP front-facing camera is astounding. The intuitive Windows Phone OS, support for AT&T’s 4G LTE network, and $99 price tag are just icing on the cake.
Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX
The Motorola DROID RAZR was easily one of the best Android phones of 2011. It was one of the first seriously thin phones and it had the best specifications, durability, and styling to come out of Motorola in a long time. Now, with the introduction of the MAXX variant, it's almost irresistible, even to those currently locked into a contract. With Verizon’s 4G LTE, a 1.2GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, and a 3300mAh battery pumping out over 21 hours of talk time, the Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX is ecstasy wrapped in Kevlar.