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Microsoft announces Windows Phone 7.8 SDK update. OS updates waiting in the wing?

On Sunday we anticipated that Microsoft would start talking more about Windows Phone 7.8 as all signs point to January 31st as the beginning of a global rollout for current Windows Phone users.

Today, Microsoft has announced the Windows Phone 7.8 SDK update, which will allow developers to better target the 7.8 changes—specifically new Tile options—and to make sure that the apps behave as intended.

Detailing the update on the Windows Phone Developer blog, Microsoft’s Cliff Simpkins explains why devs will want to download this and get their apps updated as soon as possible.

The main new features for Live Tiles are the following for 7.8:

  • The app’s primary tile can have a customized small tile, support wide tiles, and also take advantage of the Flip tile template.
  • Secondary tiles can be enabled to take advantage of all three of the new tile templates (Flip, Iconic, and Cycle).

Apps updated for 7.8 will of course still run just fine on Windows Phone 7.x, meaning this won’t “lock out” users, it simply adds more features much like how Mango added new options when it was released.

The bad news is this SDK does not add any new APIs to 7.8. That means outside of some tile behavior we don’t expect to see lockscreen support besides the official Bing image-of-the-day, which is native to the system.

With the news of the SDK coming out, we’re quite confident now that the 7.8 OS update is right around the corner. Though it may take a few weeks or even months for individual carriers to sign off on the update, at least the process will have begun.

Developers can read in more detail about the 7.8 SDK here on the Windows Phone Dev blog.

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Reader comments

Microsoft announces Windows Phone 7.8 SDK update. OS updates waiting in the wing?

52 Comments

Mah, I've given up hope on that update... I've given up hope on upgrading to WP8 either because it's too expensive in my country, even with all the "deals" carriers are offering... I'm stuck with my almost-dead-wifi-is-useless-and-slow Omnia 7 (with or without 7.8) indefinitely, as it seems... :(

Just buy it outright on eBay? I saved $250 on the retail price of my mobile (it was $768) 1 week after it was released. Going prepaid too means I'm not locked into a contract and save another $800 over 2 years (compared to the cheapest contract). Just make sure the mobile supports your carriers frequencies (easier if you're not in the US) and you're good to go.

He probably already has been with the already released SDK, this is just an update, no new API's so he should have already been able to start development.

What intrigues me is that on the Developer Blog post, they refer to 7.8 as build 8878, bit the builds we've seen on Navifirm for weeks are all 8858. I think we should look into this. ;)

Wow! I just saw the post corrected and I was heading here to update my comment. I didn't know you were part of the WPCentral community. ;)

Good to know. I'm specially pleased with you referring to it as "affecting you personally". That shows the kind of commitment from the WP team I've liked from day one. :P

Can anyone confirm if any gen 1 devices (Focus) will get this?  It sounds like this is for Mango and later devices only.  Hope I'm wrong.

All gen 1 devices have Mango, so I'm not sure what you're talking about. My Gen 1 HD7 is getting it, so the Focus should too.

I really hope so. This is my single biggest complaint with WP. I hate having to re login to my work wifi everytime I turn on the screen.

Am I correct in saying that if a DEV does not update their app to support the new 7.8 live tiles and new sizes, the update is almost useless in the end? Or will any current app allow me to resize the tile, but some of the possible "live" features may not work?

Most first party apps take advantage of the double wide tiles. Third party apps of course can take advantage of them but they don't have to. Either way you can use the small and medium tile, the double wide is the one that requires extra work. ;)

The way I understand it, the resizing if the tile is simply like attaching a website to a tile on your start screen- kinda like a snapshot getting cropped. But yeah, live tiles need to be optimized to work correctly.

7.5 apps can take advantage of the small tile size without doing anything - it simply shrinks the standard/medium tile (much like running a 7.5 app on a 8.0 device).
 
From a dev PoV, this SDK update allows you to tailor your tile experience to (a) provide a more polished/custom small tile, (b) add support for wide tiles, and (c) use the three new tile templates on your secondary tiles.
From a consumer PoV, the 7.8 update should be about the same as getting a 8.0 device running 7.5 apps...so I'd venture to say it's very far from a "useless" update.

I am perfectly fine with the update only including the new tile sizes and nothing else but I would have loved to see lock screen support as an added "bone" of sorts...  Ah well... As I said, I'm pleased as it is.

As far as I can tell the Facebook app is the only third party app that takes advantage of the double wide tile for now. TVShow by Rudy Huyn is getting updated to support 7.8 in the next couple of days.

I don't know of any other app for now. Let's hope everyone updates to 7.8 sooner rather than later.

well the "official" Facebook app being developed by Microsoft is not really a third party app either.

I am sure Huyn will update his apps really fast (as always: i love your work mr huyn!) and really hope all the other devs do the same as fast as possible
 

No lockscreen support for 7.8 update? no alive wifi? What the hell are we waiting for? so many months for what? just the tiles? Microsoft you are getting WAY TOO SLOW

I got Windows Phone 7.8 installed on my Lumia 800 when I had it on service a few days back.
 
I haven't been able to find any changes beyond the size of the tiles, the Bing start screen and some new backgrounds and ring tones. Looks good though.
 
I'm kind of dissapointed that Kids Corner isn't part of this update...

Can someone please tell me if my HTC radar c110e get this I am unlocked but using a Tesco mobile sim card... Please can some just tell me

When MS release windows phone 8 SDK didn't they release it a couple of weeks before it's launch? Could this be like a trend? release the SDK a week or two before the actual release.

Amen to that. Been running Voluptuary's cleaned up 7.8 ROM (build 8858) since that build leaked, and it's awesome. I was thinking I'd put a legit ROM back on... but yeah. XDA FTW.