AT&T internal document reveals Windows Phone 7.8 coming after Windows Phone 8 launch

Seeing as Microsoft is busy showing off the new Start screen for Windows Phone 7.8 and knowing so far that it is the only announced feature coming with that update, speculation as to when we will get the update is on the tips of everyone's tongues.

We just received a copy of an internal AT&T document which reveals that the 7.8 update won't come out until after new Windows Phone 8 devices launch. New Windows Phone 8 devices are not expected until the fall, putting the 7.8 update off untill very late in the year.

The document was for specific AT&T employees and it breaks down to the reps what the Windows Phone Summit involved including details on Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone 7.8, updates and more. Regarding the 7.8 update, the document states the following:

When will Windows Phone 7.8 be available?

Windows Phone 7.8 will be made available sometime after the Windows Phone 8 is released. 

Although we have verified that this was from AT&T and it seems quite definitive on the matter, we should leave a little wiggle room here for Microsoft. We have seen a lot of changes recently, including the dropping of one display resolution (480x640) just a few weeks ago from Windows Phone 8. That modification happened just two weeks prior to the Summit demonstrating how fluid Microsoft can be on these matters.

Having said that, it's not looking too good for consumers if the 7.8 update is that far off, especially if Microsoft and AT&T tease current Windows Phone users with new WP8 hardware. In addition, AT&T reaffirms that it is only the new Start screen that is coming to WP7.8. Then again, perhaps Microsoft is planning to add more with all of that extra time. We can only hope.

Update: Joe Belfiore actually says the same thing on the Windows Phone Blog "So we’ll be delivering it to existing phones as a software update sometime after Window Phone 8 is released"

Read the contents of the internal memo after the break. Thanks to our source for the info.

Document title - What did Microsoft announce at the Windows Phone Summit on June 20

What did Microsoft announce at the Windows Phone Summit on June 20, 2012?

Microsoft gave a platform preview for Windows Phone 8 highlighting the core OS elements shared with Windows 8. They have yet to reveal the full set of Windows Phone 8 features.

What is Windows Phone 8?

Windows Phone 8 aligns Windows Phones with Windows 8 via shared core technology. It also brings new hardware capabilities like multi-core chips, new screen resolutions, SD card support, and NFC.

Windows Phone 8 additionally delivers new features including a new start screen, IE 10, and Wallet, as well as support for native development, and enterprise capabilities such as device encryption and management.

When does Windows Phone 8 launch?

Microsoft announced that Window Phone 8 devices is going to be available later this year. AT&T has not announced devices or timing at this time.

Can I upgrade my Windows Phone 7.5 device to Windows Phone 8?

Windows Phone 8 is a generational shift in technology and thus it requires new hardware, so current Windows Phone devices will not be able to upgrade to Windows Phone 8. However, Microsoft will release an update called Windows Phone 7.8 that includes the new Windows Phone 8 Start screen.

What is Windows Phone 7.8?

Windows Phone 7.8 is the next version of Microsoft's Windows Phone OS for Windows Phone 7.x smartphones.

Windows Phone 7.8 includes the signature feature of the Windows Phone 8 release: a re-imagined start screen which lets customers personalize their phone by changing the size of each live tile to bring what is most important to them closer.

When will Windows Phone 7.8 be available?

Windows Phone 7.8 will be made available sometime after the Windows Phone 8 is released. 

What else did Microsoft announce for existing customers?

Microsoft announced that there are now over 100k apps available in the Windows Phone Marketplace. The app catalog continues to grow quickly, with new well-known apps added constantly such as Audible. Microsoft also announced that Chase, PayPal and Zynga’s hit games Draw Something and Words with Friends are also coming soon.

In addition, Nokia announced that Lumia devices are getting new functionalities such as a counter to track voice and data usage, a new contact sharing feature and camera extras. Camera extras include a self-timer, panorama mode, action shot, and smart group shot. The smart group shot takes several pictures and creates a composite photo using the best features of each individual shot.

Where can I get more information for existing Windows Phone 7.5 customers?

In the next week, Microsoft will have more information on that summarizes all of the new innovation coming to Windows Phone 7.5 users. 

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.