Microsoft unveils WP7.8; says existing WP devices will not be upgraded to WP8… may get official port!

credits : Engadget

Along with the major announcement of WP8, Microsoft also announced Windows Phone 7.8. It may also be the last update for existing Windows Phone 7 devices. The big reason for update incompatibility is hardware support. While WP7 was designed to run smoothly on single core devices, Microsoft changed a lot of core things in WP8 including support for new hardware. In simple language if MS upgrades current generation devices to WP8, half the features will not be available due to missing hardware and rest o them will not work as expected due to “outdated” hardware.

Instead of WP8, Windows Phone users will get WP7.8. It will bring one of the “eight” features announced at WP8 summit today – Start Screen Customizations. In WP 7.8 users will me able to resize tiles into 3 different sizes. It might be a useful feature for some devices with more than 4 inches screen.

Nokia announced some exclusive apps that will come with WP 7.8 update. These include

  1. Nokia Play to : A DLNA app for streaming content from your phone.
  2. Nokia Counters  : An app to track data, voice, and messaging usage (Interesting as WP7.5 did not allow any app to run in background and track data usage)
  3. Nokia Music 3.0 –  includes gig enhancements, mix radio enhancements and offline playback enhancements
  4. Camera Extras is a camera extension app that brings features like self-timer, burst mode, panorama, and group-shot
  5. Nokia Maps update will bring photo uploading and place reviews.
  6. Nokia Transit update includes location pinning on the homescreen
  7. Nokia Drive update brings a new live tile that shows ETA for your destination.

For other manufacturers, the features are not yet clear. However all devices will be updated to 7.8 directly from Microsoft which is a good thing as carriers might have skipped this update for 2011 devices.

Now the interesting part. Take it with a pinch bag of salt. According to phonescoop,

Microsoft plans to make Windows Phone 8 available to users who want to install it on their Windows Phone devices even if their carrier and/or device manufacturer won’t officially support the update. Microsoft said the offering is meant to help appease enthusiasts or developers who may not be able to upgrade to the latest hardware, but want to try the updated system software anyway.

Microsoft did not give any official word on this so better take this as a rumor.