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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 (opens in new tab) that summarizes all of the new innovation coming to Windows Phone 7.5 users. 

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • I believe it's a gimmick to get us 7.5 users to purchase a wp8 then be content with 7.8
  • buddy wake up. not everyone out there that buys a cellphone is as knowledgeable about technology as all of us that regularly view tech blogs, thus the amount of people bothered by the lack of wp8 upgrade path is relatively small compared to the people that don't even know there's a wp8
    my dad for one, has a windows phone and he has absolutely no care in the world if there's an update coming.
  • +1
  • I wouldn't think 7.5 users would get pampered. I would have just though it would come within reasonable timing as wp8 was released
  • .
  • +2
  • Well said
  • Lol that's the plan and I bet it will work.
  • Everyone's complaining about this 7.8 update. I like the new changes just enough to please the majority it'll be nice to have different tile sizes. I just thought of this, I believe the reason they will update after WP8 I'd released is because after the update all WPs will look similar. So if I show you a WP7.8 start screen and a WP8 start screen most people.wont be able to tell the difference. That's what I think. (it's like a kit car, looks like something expensive on the outside but once you get under the hood you find out looks are deceiving)
  • *is released not I'd.
  • I personally didn't think that the update would come before the WP8 devices. I think they're aiming for everything Windows 8 to launch at roughly the same time, so getting the 7.8 update this summer didn't really make sense to me. Now what would make sense is if 7.8 and the new devices came out at about the same time. Hopefully 7.8 doesn't come too long after the new phones come out.
    That would dampen my day.
  • Actually, I'm pretty sure Microsoft said that it would be after WP8 during the presentation.
  • I remember it that way, too. This memo seems to be nothing more than meeting minutes from the summit presentation.
  • Screw you guys, I'm going home...
  • haha :D
  • +1
  • +1
  • "look what you get.....after new users even though you've been there since the beginning".
  • Ha ha ha get the new phone so you don't feel left out.
  • I've been with WP7 since the beginning, but I think we all foresaw this when the lumia 900 was released. I just got my lumia off contract with the $100 dollar discount. Ready to upgrade when WP8 is released (perhaps to be screwed 6mo later)
  • Think this was already mentioned by Microsoft. And I'm sure we'll get the obligatory comments saying people should be grateful for even getting 7.8, should have researched, blah, blah, blah. :)
  • Yes. I'm pretty sure Joe Belfiore mentioned they wouldn't start pushing out 7.8 until after they have gotten WP8 out.
  • Well, I'm going to buy a Galaxy Nexus. As far as I like Microsoft, after owning a WP7 since day one, I'm not interested to be a Beta Tester again, and paying for this...
  • See ya later! My L900 does exactly what I need it to very well, so I don't feel like a beta tester. If the new hardware intrigues me, then I'll upgrade. Otherwise I'm good
  • Well, wait a minute.  If you're a WP7 user since launch, wont you be eligible for an upgrade when WP8 devices come out anyway?  If so, what's the big deal?  It's not like you'd be missing out if you were planning to upgrade anyway.
    Heck, I bought an HTC Trophy and am eligible for an upgrade in the fall and those were released well after launch.
  • Let him go and just say good bye!
  • Not if he's Canadian. We have 3-year terms to get the maximum subsidy.
  • Beta Tester?
    You sir are a moron! I've been with WP since day 1 too with my HD7 and have NO issue with what they're doing regarding the whole 7.8 issue.
    To the people who do have issues, just shut up or buy an unlocked WP8 when they're out. You're missing out on WP8 features as you couldn't wait when you knew WP8 was around the corner, and there was no info whether you were going to get Apollo!
  • Shoehorning Wp8 into first Gen devices is like having a V8 Vega. Sure you could do it but....really?
  • Funny
  • I'd like to see Apple squeeze OS X into iPhone. Not possible, never gonna happen and if it does, well _all_ previous models will be 'obsolete' overnight .. lol
  • Good riddance..
  • Anyone who buys a phone for what it may someday do instead of what it does now is an idiot. Enjoy your Android device.
  • What do u think Android user are. On top of that u pick a dev phone, nothing but beta testing going on there. Just look @ WP8 as graduating to college. The transition is a little hard, but the benefits are worth it. So kiss mommy good-bye and stop crying.
  • You kidding me? The nexus is as beta as you can get
  • You wouldn't be beta testing...
  • so, let's wait and see what the fine ladies and gentleman from xdadevelopers bakes for us ;-) If hardware requirements does not change drastically, I think t could he possible to port Win Phone 8 to old devices as well. Of course, we would have a question of drivers there but I am confident something will show up :)
  • The V8 Vega strikes again!
  • NOT good... :(
  • Glad I'm planning on upgrading devices
  • This can't be true or at least I hope not. Plus I don't see why non-Lumia owners aren't getting Nokia Maps as part of the 7.8 update. CLEARLY its capable of running on current hardware. And if all we're getting is the new start screen, we should get that well before Windows Phone 8 seeing as how that's such a leap as opposed to a few tweaks. And being that it's ATT we are probably the last ones to get updated(and my keyboard just disappeared twice). Looks like I'll give the manual Tango update a go cause you can't wait for ATT to do anything. Sorry for I think the update is fair but we should get it in a timely manner is all.
  • Which of the two do you think Microsoft is putting (has put) their devs on?
  • Like I said, if it's true that we're only getting the start screen, they should at least make it happen soon seeing as how we're not getting a whole lot. And if ATT skips the Tango update my keyboard will disappear all the way into late fall. C'mon man!lol Just saying.
  • OH BOY!!! here comes more complaint threads.. hehe
  • If you're going to allow praise, you have to also allow and expect the criticism.
  • they are allowed!   100%,   id rather not have them doh :P lol
    the only time threads get closed is when it gets way outside the box and people start to attack each other
  • Were already getting screwed with 7.8. Yes im aware that not all information has been revealed and that some of them is due to hardware limitations, but they should at least have release it by now or way sooner (preferably sooner than the release of WP8 to keep us at bay and happy for the time being. I know that not everyone is not ecstatic about 7.8 but I was okay with it until this. Lets hope that changes
  • Can I just have the disappearing keyboard fix already? It's beyond irritating. AT&T what on earth are you doing?
  • THIS is a complaint I can agree with, although it does not affect me.
  • Having no confidence in ATT fixing the disappearing issue quickly is in part why I bought the L900. I feel your pain. It sucks!
  • Agreed 100%!!!!!!!
  • i dont care. its normal to feel screwed over in these sistuations.. but its just normal progression.. i think they should get 7.8 out ASAP for the people that already bought titians and lumias.. 
    an early upgrade option would shut everyone up also... if i was nokia/att/ms i would be doing something for the lumia/titan crowd... at least the option to upgrade with a discount.. doesnt have to be a free phone or full 2 year discount .. but something would be better than nothing at all.
  • Why should they?
    You were the fools to purchase Lumias and Titan IIs to close to the Apollo announcement which would coincide with Win8..... If you guys are really that bothered, buy an unlocked WP8 and sell your Lumia/Titan to reclaim some of the cost.... Its really that simple, rather than spitting your dummies out!
  • Speaking of dummies. (that would be you) I purchased one of those 900s. I am no fool, I new full well what the deal was going in. I never expected to get something for nothing. We are not all whiny tittie babies. I am fully satisfied with my purchase.
  • Im just glad im due for an upgrade come fall. Well be able to see exactly what devices will be available for WP8 as well as the competition.
  • Im just glad im due for an upgrade come fall. Well be able to see exactly what devices will be available for WP8 as well as the competition.
  • What i dont understand is why does microsoft choose to make their phone worthless and so fast? I remember buying a used Samsung Focus at $200 after 2 month of it's release. The phone retailed for $550. Then When i bought the Samsng Focus S at $550 the price stayed steady and dropped to $375 after two months. Then all of a sudden they pulled the windows Phone challenge that practically flooded the market with $250 samsung focus, HTC titan and Nokia phones.
    If i was to get a WP8 I much rather wait 3 months to get the phone knowing how much lower it's going to go after a month or two.
    Plus the fact that my Nokia would probably be worth 200-250 used, there would be a much bigger cost difference for me if i wanted to get the WP8 in the Fall.
    It doesnt make much sense to me why MS wouldnt want to try and maintain it's value on their current produces.
    It's like a buying a car, Smart people will buy vehicles that are safe, reliable and holds their value.
    The iPhone is clearly the choice when people think of safe, reliable and holding it's value.
  • That's the price you pay with anything, INCLUDING CARS....
    Tech advances so its only logical for prices to be reduced, as something better is available....
    Apple only "hold" value due to the sheep willing to pay stupid prices, not because its a safe choice! And again, isn't this the same company who announce a new phone every 6-12months?!? So, your logic is flawed
  • How is my logic flawed?
    People buy products because of quality. If your not going to produce adiquate updates to your phone then it's not quality.
    Apple has never released a phone less than 12 months so what are you talking about?
    "Apple only "hold" value due to the sheep willing to pay stupid prices" that's the most business ignorant thing you can say.
    Well apple is doing something right so I dont understand how you can argue a logic that is clearly making Apple bank.
    Don't narrow minded, I want MS to succeed in the phone market but at this rate I just dont see it happening. If they can irratate a fanboi as I am how are they going to win over Apple/Android users?
  • To be completely fair here...You can't compare Apple releasing a new phone, ~12 month cycles, to "Nokia" releasing a new phone in April that wont run Microsoft's new OS thats coming out in the Fall.
    Microsoft makes the OS.  The last MAJOR update to the OS was wp7, maybe wp7.5.  7.5 was ~12 months before the projected date of WP8, and 7 was ~24.  Microsoft is doing almost exactly what Apple does on the software side of things, and since they don't make hardware, you can't really blame them for any of this.
    I feel like Nokia was really waiting for WP8 in the first place, but wanted to get a head start and released a couple of nice phones on 7.5 as well.
    Also, feature updates have nothing to do with product "quality", thats just setting a flawed expectation.  This does ad value, but its not a measure of quality.  You also can't judge quality on resale value.  Quality can contribute to good resale value, but good resale value does not mean its good quaility.  It only means that people want it, no more, no less.
  • I can't believe there's people in this room waiting for AT&T to give them the updates.Why not just unlock and debrand your phone? I've had 8107, the update for the keyboard issue 3 months ago, and as of yesterday I'm running the latest 8773 update. AT&T will make you wait forever.
  • +1
    Did this to my HD7 as O2 UK was holding NoDo, so Debranded it and ever since I get updates when they hit Euro zone
  • Let's be honest here: the changes in the new start screen are not that difficult to implement. If they wanted, they could release them a lot sooner. The reason why they are releasing this after WP8 is so that it does not take away anything from the WP8 sales. And WP8 is all they really care about, WP7 is DEAD.
  • Also, they will surely lauch some WP8 exclusive apps with WP8. If you give the people that have 7.5 devices the 7.8 update, the average clueless user will think "well my phone looks like WP8, why can't I run these new apps?". And they don't want that bad publicity, they already have enough of that...
  • Another ignorant comment, if WP7 was dead they wouldn't have even created 7.8 or guaranteed continued app development
  • I'll stick it out, I like my current device Htc Arrive. Alot can happen between now and fall. Im not going to burn myself out over things I never had a say in. "shrugs"
  • Am I the only one that read what Joe Belfiore wrote on Windows Phone Blog on the 20th June.
    Windows Phone…7.8!
    The new Start screen is so useful and emblematic of what Windows Phone is about that we want everybody to enjoy it. So we’ll be delivering it to existing phones as a software update sometime after Window Phone 8 is released. Let me repeat: If you currently own a Windows Phone 7.5 handset, Microsoft is planning to release an update with the new Windows Phone 8 Start screen. We’re calling it “Windows Phone 7.8.”
    Clear as it can be to me....
  • Really, this document is just a summary of the previous announcements.  We know nothing more now than we did before.
  • Exactly. In addition, nowhere does ATT commit to even releasing 7.8 at all. I've heard that MS will be the ones to send it out irrespective of carriers, but we've heard that story before.
  • No we haven't, the updates have always been handled by the carriers and OEMS
  • The Start Screen is probably already ready, there's no need to wait so long. MS really needs to fix how and when they deliver updates. I've been using WP since pretty close to day one, I'm no where near abandoning ship, but this is getting annoying.
  • Since there was a video on here a few days ago with somebody holding a Lumia 900 with the new start screen, I'd say it is almost finished. However, I would bet that there are other tweaks coming. At least I hope they are. The start screen has been the only thing explicityl mentioned in 7.8, but nobody has said this is the only thing. I'd like to see some more refinement, like the email screen will be black with white text when you select the dark theme for the phone. Have the native podcast app download new podcast episodes without having to sync with Zune. There are other things I'd like to see as well. I'm holding out hope that smaller components wil be included with 7.8.
  • Don't hold your breath kid
  • I could have sworn I got the latest wpcentral podcast over WiFi while I was at work without Zune software. Maybe I'm not understanding you correctly?
  • Do you have to have a dual core processor to run wallet? No. Do you have screen resolutions higher than existing handsets in order to run wallet? No. Do you need NFC on the phone to run wallet? Joe bellfiore said, No. Microsoft, please give us Wallet (and other goodies) on 7.8...? Some of us have to wait at most two years to get a new phone.
  • No, but you need WinPRT aka the core of WP8. You  have to think of the APIs and how those apps are designed. MS would have to re-code them to work on a CE device, in effect duplicating their work. It's like saying "take 64-bit Office and just run it on a 32-bit machine", it doesn't make much sense.
  • GREAT comment Daniel. I can't stand it when people who don't understand the technical reasons insist that they don't exist.
  • Zactly
  • WinRTP ;-)
    And this also showcases an important point - for Windows8/WP8 Microsoft has finally started using the same technology for their apps as they provided for third-party developers (they didn't do that on WP7).
  • Daniel, does mean that if Microsoft isn't will to recode their apps or programs, developers will have the same attitude and not program for 7.5?
  • Exactly.
  • I think you missed the most valid point in your comment, " MS would have to re-code them to work on a CE device, in effect duplicating their work."
    It isn't because it is like trying to get 64 bit office running on a 32 bit machine.  It is because Microsoft doesn't want to spend resources on developing 2 applications.  Just like they didn't want to spend resources on upgrading devices. 
    It isn't as technical as you think, it is resource intensive and they want to distance themselves from the old platform under the guise that it is difficult.
  • How do you know?
  • I dont care and dont believe this info. I know they will give us the 7.8 before wp 8 launch. Also I can wait for upgrade because using my wp 7.5 is still awesome and fast and fluid. So all you complainers be quiet and wait has at least Microsoft is giving on a awesome wp8 start screen and other features. For me I might just buy a new wp8 phone has I dont mine getting one. Again it cool to wait and worth it
  • Belfiore said it himself, we link it above.
  • Well this could be an issue if it is after Windows 8. How am I to sync?
  • Zune software runs just fine on Windows 8.
  • Um...that's not the point. It's Xbox Music on Windows 8. Rumors say more like active sync as well. I've been running 8 for close to a year. Red Alert works!
  • Anything in that memo about Tango and the updates that came before it, like the vanishing keyboard issue?
  • I was always skeptical about the "sometime after WP8 is released" statement because in AT&T time, "sometime after" probably means three months minimum. Six if there's a new iPhone coming out that they'll have to prioritize first.
  • Microsoft is sending the update out themselves, why is this so hard to understand?
  • For now I'll just have to deal with being frustrated by this damn disappearing keyboard on my HTC Titan.....
  • Good excuse for AT&T to skip the Tango update as well.
  • This was expected.
  • Exactly!
    Why would they give away a key feature of WP8 before it is launched?
  • Exactly ;)
  • 1. Belfiore needs a hair cut!
    2. I really hope this is not the case.. we need 7.8 before 8 comes out.. or, honestly i will never have 7.8.. im pretty sure i will upgrade my lumia 900 when the WP8 from nokia hits shelves.
  • Microsoft is releasing 7.8 update after wp8 so expecting buyers would not be confused with wp8 being on older phones...ppl would think what changed.....wp8 will allow new buyers and owners alike to buy and influence others into our extremely glad I'm with the under Ford...they usually have the best s###. I also know that it would be a bad idea to release 7.8 to us now since all we would do is brag to friends on what our phones still do just with a screen and then they would not be impressed since we don't have the other features to go with it...ill wait for very optimistic on WP success and will support as long as I can.
  • This isn't a surprise, really, from AT&T.  But, with this in mind, wouldn't it be nice if they gave us the Tango update for our phones?  C'mon, AT&T, get with the program!
  • Wow you people saying windows phone isn't fragmented with 7.8 are the same people that have called android fragmented , and are really pissing me off . You have said andoid is fragmented because of how long it takes to get and update for old phones , and how some apps run on certain phones and how is is that you seriously think android has many problems but WP doesn't some one that got a windows phone in early march 2011 (sorry I'm not a 1st dayer like some of you) I can say that I am a die hard Microsoft guy , yes i will get wp8 only because of Xbox achievements on WP and every other Microsoft product i own......i would be out the door iam a die hard ms man but I am pissed off could & should add some more features other than the hardware specific ones how about a freaking Skype app that works with the app being open @ this point I could see skyp still not working properly on w7 long after 8 comes out....i would love game center typeofplay on WP I mean how the hell could the company behind Xbox still not have a shit load of real time multiplayer games is laughable , I mean even uno doesn't have multiplayer support..........speaking as some one that love windows phone and will stick with windows phone their are problems that other company addressed on their platform long ago like notification center .....if I wasn't such a Xbox and windows lover id be gone because who knows if ms will do another major renovation on the mobile side in another 2years with wp9 apps be incomparable with 8$ .....sorry just needed to vent go Microsoft.
  • No, seriously... why not just release that WP 7.8 update right about now...?
    Oh, but they HAVE to release it BEFORE WP8 as 7.8 is after 7.5 and BEFORE 8.0 ... Sorry, it's just the way things are so they HAVE to... :)
  • Most likely early 2013 so it doesn't canibalize WP8 sales during Xmas. As much as I am a fan I think MS dropped the ball here, we're not that much so they had to do this, as far as I'm aware we're a small dedicated bunch which should have been treated with more politeness (e.g. timed info, time updates, maybe a freebie, or some kinda nice gesture), they would have reaped a seriously good word of mouth.
    I do feel a bit defrauded each day that passes.
    It just like they care very little with us which already couped with a lotta shit. Just saying...
  • Really old MS antics. It's a shame.
  • How do you know that MS didn't test WP8 on existing hardware and found out it wouldn't work? You really can't be that clueless
  • Because Sullivan said that WP8 would run on Lumias but it just doesn't make sense business wise as releasing and maintaining would be too expensive compared to the benefits.