Report: Features of Windows Phone 7.8 get revealed and confirmed

Although Microsoft has yet to reveal anything official about the upcoming Windows Phone 7.8 update (besides the new Start screen) more and more information is coming out. Part of the reason may be because the update is rumored to be have been finalized and is now in OEM partner hands. Now the process of customization and testing by the likes of Nokia, Samsung and HTC will take place.

We have a few reports tied into one massive write up for your reading ease. We’ll start with the simple and work our way up to the more detailed information about what's new in Windows Phone 7.8.

Build number

This is a relatively easy one but it’s still interesting “for the record” kind of information. From what we’ve been told from our sources the build number for Windows Phone 7.8 will be 7.10.8858.136.  That’s a confirmed build number for at least some of what Nokia is working with though we do expect variations based on device and region, so consider that an approximation but not necessarily universal.

Current builds of Windows Phone 7.5 are at 7.10.8779 making the jump to 8858 somewhat significant.

Promotional material

Information about Windows Phone 7.8 is already being printed and distributed. Such is the case in the above image given to us by reader of the site Kaljami. He recently visited his local DNA store in Finland to test out some new Nokia Lumias and spotted this brochure, which he snapped up. Although written in Finnish, we’re told it states

“…there will be more theme colours to choose from, it also says that there will be more than the new start screen. And what´s really important is that it confirms that there will be another update after the WP 7.8 update. “

Indeed that’s the second mention of a post Windows Phone 7.8 update that we’ve heard now, the earlier coming from a leaked Nokia slide deck. So while for some 7.8 won’t be “enough” to satisfy or make up for no Windows Phone 8 on legacy devices, it looks like Microsoft (and by extension Nokia) will be still adding new features after this new update.

Nokia Lumia 510 with 7.8 gets detailed

Over at the site, they’ve managed to get their hands on an early build of Windows Phone 7.8 officially placed on the upcoming Nokia Lumia 510 entry market device. The device was spotted earlier with Windows Phone 7.5 but there are 7.8 beta builds floating around now too.

In a rather lengthy post, Winp.cp go through and detail all the new features. While there are no huge revelations, there is continued confirmation of rumored new features. So here is what is officially in 7.8 so far:

  • New Boot Screen – Reflects Microsoft’s new Windows Phone logo and actually matches that of Windows Phone 8
  • New Start screen – The earlier confirmed 3-sizes for Tiles
  • New Core apps re-design – Xbox Games, Office and Store all get updated with new logos
  • 20 Accent colors – We saw this with Windows Phone 8 and now 7 .8 too gets 10 new accent colors (plus one for OEMs or carriers to customize)
  • Live Lock screen Wallpaper – Users can now take advantage of Bing wallpaper, which dynamically updates every day. We’re not sure if this extendable to third party applications as in Windows Phone 8 but presumably it is possible.
  • Nokia Network+ settings – we’ve seen this in current Lumia 810/820/822 and 920 devices where Nokia adds some advanced network configurations, such as call forwarding, call waiting and SMS options

Finally, there are some advanced changes that only Nokia is applying to their Lumia line as these are OEM customizations. Some of these should make folks very happy:

  • Bluetooth sharing of non-DRM multimedia files
  • More ringtone editing abilities
  • Contact transfer and sharing app upgrade with new features

So there you go, what we know so far about Windows Phone 7.8. What we can now definitively say is yes, it will be more than just a Live Tile update but not nearly as much as everyone will want. OEMs will in fact play just a big a role as Microsoft in increasing functionality of the update if they choose. So far, Nokia seems to be taking the lead with the most additions but we’ve seen a report just yesterday that HTC may also be adding a few tricks, including the coveted “keep WiFi alive” feature and SMS drafts.

There is still no word on actual distribution of the update but things are starting to fall in place for an early Q1 release.

Thanks, Kaljami for the brochure image and  Mohamed A. for the link

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.