Windows Phone 7.8: Too Little, Too Late

New Update

In Windows Phone 7.8, Microsoft has attempted to pacify WP7 owners who were (and still are) frustrated over not being able to upgrade their devices to WP8, within the boundaries of limited hardware capabilities that are associated with a WP7 device. We updated an HTC HD7 from OS version 7.10.8773.98 to Windows Phone 7.8 (whose OS version is 7.10.8858.136) using Zune. The downloading of the update (which is step 2 of the 10 steps which Zune usually takes in the process of updating a Windows Phone device) was over in a less-than-expected 5 minutes on a 1 Mbps connection. However, the time taken

for the complete process (all 10 steps) depends on other factors such as whether you will be backing up the phone's data, the amount of storage space already used in the phone, etc.


Loads of style, little substance

At the very first reboot post the update, the new all-blue boot screen of Windows Phone (after the OEM's logo screen) immediately hits the eye, with the redesigned Windows logo. Office, the marketplace (store), XBox Live, etc. too have their new logos. The Start screen tiles now occupy nearly the full width of the screen and most (not all, especially some OEM applications) of the tiles can be resized to any of 3 different sizes (which typically display more information on the tile as the size is increased). In short, the Start screen looks similar to that of Windows Phone 8 shown in the image. The number of accent colors (for a system-wide theme effect) too has been increased to at least 20 and you can now set the Bing image of the day as your lock screen wallpaper (which you can do on your PC too using a free tool called Bing Desktop). Chinese, Arabic and some other languages have enhanced font support, although none of them are

Indian languages. The lock screen now has accidental wipe protection and with the rolling out of the 7.8 update, Windows Phone Marketplace and Xbox support has been expanded to new countries and regions. However, this doesn't affect

India, where the Marketplace was launched officially in 2011 itself with the  release of Windows Phone Mango. On the other hand, certain functionality and apps may not run at all if your phone has only 256 MB of RAM. The Zune Music Pass service, as well as Smart DJ, are still not available in India. The same goes with local search results, voice search and music search.

Conclusion: Thus, Windows Phone 7.8 is all glitter and hardly any gold when you compare it with the huge update that Mango was. Most of the changes are aimed at making a Windows Phone 7 device look like one running Windows  Phone 8. However, the similarity ends just a few steps beyond there. No Windows Phone 7.x can make you use NFC / HD screens / memory cards, true multitasking, etc.; features of WP8 which actually matter. And rolling out the update more than 90 days after announcing Windows Phone 8 will do little to pacify Windows Phone 7 owners looking for something beyond

mere flaunt value with their existing WP7 device.


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