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January 31st aiming to be official start of Windows Phone 7.8 update program by Microsoft

Although Microsoft itself has been officially mum on when the Windows Phone 7.8 update will go out to the masses, the end of January is coming into focus as the target date.

On the face of it, Windows Phone 7.8 is a minor update bringing only the ability to use three different size tiles on the Start screen, reflecting the Windows Phone 8 paradigm in addition to some smaller, device specific enhancements. But based user experience, 7.8 really does make a difference in perception, making older devices feel more modern.

Confirmations

Evidence for an end-of-January global rollout derives from a few carriers who have proclaimed the date through their official PR channels like Twitter or even their website. A new piece of evidence though coming from Microsoft has been revealed today, reinforcing the launch time-frame.

First up is O2 who mentioned the 7.8 update recently in a fairly specific tweet. When asked by a customer when the update would be available, the popular UK carrier responded with “by the end of January”.

Yesterday, we reported on Australia’s Telstra expecting the much-anticipated OS update for the Lumia 800 also by January 31st (although other Windows Phone devices are still in testing, with a rollout anticipated in February or early March). WPArea.de also recently reported that O2 Germany tweeted the same timeframe regarding the Lumia 710, citing January for that push.

Now, Windows Phone Colombia via their Facebook page has landed on this date of January 31st as being key for the 7.8 update. In an announcement post on their page, the Latin American branch of Windows Phone proclaimed:

“As of January 31 and during the first quarter of 2013 some phones with Windows Phone 7.5 will be receiving 7.8 update... Happy weekend.” (Translated by Bing)

Once again, the information is specific and thru official channels.

When will Microsoft make it formal?

We don’t want to make guaranteed predictions here folks, but that’s four official sources all arriving on the same date for a Windows Phone 7.8. Even more interesting is the fact of how spread out they are: Colombia, Australia, Germany, the UK and we bet there are more.

We should temper excitement though as Telstra demonstrated that the majority of their devices won’t have 7.8 on January 31st and we have a feeling that will be the case for a lot of carriers. In other words, some high-profile (and previously bestselling devices) will get first priority for this update with others falling in line thereafter.

For our US readers, we still have heard not a peep from AT&T, Verizon or T-Mobile (no one really believes Sprint will do this update). Of course, AT&T has been pretty good at keeping these update releases internal until the last minute and Verizon has a known history of slow rollouts. T-Mobile, on the other hand, has the best record for fast deployment of Microsoft OS updates and we expect the same here.

To wrap it up, we’re strongly confident that Microsoft will begin a global rollout starting January 31st for Windows Phone 7.8. That doesn’t mean everyone will get it that day but rather the process (which will go through March) will begin on that date.

We now expect Microsoft to make an official announcement in the coming days.

Source: Facebook; Thanks, Rosa M. and Alexis, for the tip!

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.

175 Comments
  • We always have the cable trick if global rollout begins on 31st Jan...
  • That *only* works if your carrier/device files are on the server. You could of course just use the generic 7.8 cab file update method, which has been around for months.
  • The method has been around for years, but the 7.8 update cabs haven't yet been leaked, have they?
     
     
  • No the cab file method for 7.8 is not there because for cab files we need a first update so we can catch the urls from the files zune downloads. There are only custom roms and the roms via navifirm and nokia care suite.
  • can i do this to get tango on my att phone?
  • Lol
  • But using the generic cabs would surely cause problems, wouldn't it?
  • You'd have to wipe your phone and lose all of your data... So it's not worth bothering with
  • Thats for flashing roms. Last i checked, the cab updater method doesnt do that. It updates your phone in the same method zune does. Plus, there are no "generic" cabs, per say. All the OS update cabs are stock microsoft cabs. The only thing different between phones is which language packs are installed (through additional cabs, from microsoft) and firmware updates, which are cabs from the OEMs. All OEMs do is decide if they want to push the update (and firmware updates, when necessary to support the os update, like with tango, to add tethering and such)
  • what Heather implied I'm shocked that anyone can profit $5583 in 1 month on the internet. have you seen this site...---   https://goo.gl/ruW4n   (Click on menu Home)    
  • I hope my HTC HD7 gets the update (T Movile)
  • As well as my HD7S but australlia conformed HD7 users will be getting the update 7.8 
  • I asked tmo here in the US and was directed to a website page where any announcements would be placed.
  • Me too. Tmo hasn't even pushed Tango for the HD7 yet :(. I got a 8X but I prefer the feel of my HD7 better.
  • Let's see if Verizon manages 7.8 for the Trophy before Portico on the 8X/822. With the crap they've pulled so for since the WP8 launch I wouldn't be surprised. While they weren't swift on Trophy updates in the past, they weren't exactly slow either but so far they are now weeks behind everyone else on Portico.
  • Don't get your hopes up. Since Verizon is one of the few who use CDMA were gonna be one of the last ones to get an update for our trophies. Not to mention the tedious process of "verifying" updates is just unnecessarily time consuming for them. I'm expecting this update to roll out on April since previous updates were late by 3 months. Too bad I'll be getting an upgrade by then.
  • Endlich...
  • So it written. So let it be done.
  • I dont care about this since I have windows phone 8 lumia 920 already since 2 months ago. Why wait just get a wp8 phone instead.
  • Some people may not have an upgrade available to get newer devices or the money to buy them at full retail. That's why wait.
  • "I dont care about this since I have windows phone 8..."
    This easily one of the worst comments i have read here recently. 
  • I agree!! That's a selfish way of thinking.. A true WP enthusiasts is concerned with the entire communities enjoyment of the platform.. Not to mention self preservation..
  • True, we think that the whole work, no use being selfish thinking only in WP8.
  • Amen!
  • Being patient. I am content with 7.5 for now...whenever it comes out...is when it will come out.
  • as seen here: http://www.wpcentral.com/comment/286268#comment-286268 he obviously likes to troll... so just ignore :)
  • I don't know about that Daniel, I've read some pretty bad comments on this site. I think he's just a bit blunt with his opinions. Cause I too have a WP8. Now I don't have too worry abt the update. Either way this is some excellent news!
  • Hey, wait a minute, I got a warning for saying something like these a few months ago. :-)
  • Agreed
  • Lolll
  • Agreed. I place it right up there with the "Just switch to Nokia" comments.
  • This!
  • It's not worst comments. Speak for yourself you always make worst comments has well so don't try tell me. I had feeling you will make crap comment what I say. So yes it worked. That's my comment so too bad!
  • What is the purpose of saying something like "I don't care because it's not relevant to me"? It doesn't contribute to the conversation at all. If you don't care then why comment at all? Just move along :P
  • And that to me reads as you were doing it deliberately to incite a reaction from Daniel. That my friend is trolling and you can get banned for it.
  • Because there are no flagship HTC or Nokia phones with microSD... Therefore there's nothing to upgrade to. Why upgrade when I'm going to be in the same storage predicament I'm in now? Also, there simply aren't any "must have" features in WP8, so I'm happy to wait for the right hardware to come out.
  • @ihavewp8, dude seriously?  A lot of folks here recently upgrade less than a year ago.  And there are a lot of them.  So, they are stuck with a contract that is why this update is great so they can enjoy the new features.
  • Yea I have to wait two years to get an upgrade. But as long as I get 7.8 im fine.
  • Hahha too bad that's your problem your stuck with a contract. I have contract too and waited to expire and enjoying my 920 while you all have to wait for a no date official release of 7.8 or don't even know which provider will offer it. Again just get a wp8 if you can't afford it than maybe suggest you get a low end wp8 ;-)
  • I was a Lumia 900 adopter, and was SURE that it would get the WP8 update, I mean how could they not right??? And now we know that wasn't the case, so I'm stuck with a lumia 900 which is stuck on 7.5 (soon 7.8) for another year or more... So that's why I cannot simply just get a new phone.
  • In this guy's defense, this is the same as the people who spam where is my 7.8 on WP8 threads.
  • And so ? Most of us owns a wp8, but I have many friends with wp7 asking me when I will upgrade their phones (not all are geeks).
    So it is a great news for me too.
    A comment should be constructive, or simply don't post.
  • I have a Lumia 920. And I still want this update for my old Lumia 800 because I still use it too. Now what, d*ckhead?
  • Same here, gave my girlfriend my old 800, and want her to be able to join a group with me, and get an awesome startscreen shes comfortable using.
  • I don't know about any HTC Radar with WP8 around, do you? I didn't think so...not everybody must have the latest & largest ;)
  • The question is, did you/do you have an wp7 device, or did you jump on the 920 bandwagon and not even know about wp7 at the time?? As I see a lot of people moving from iPhone and droid to lumia 920's, who never even realised WP was there until they got their 920's. That's a positive thing, and im not critisizing them, indeed im welcoming them to the fold, but ye got to realise, a lot of people adopted wp7 devices right upto July, not knowing that they would not get wp8 upgrades, and for these millions of people, many of whom will be stuck in 12/18/24/36 month contracts/airtime agreements, its not so simple or cheap to buy a wp8 device... I bought my lumia 710 for £129 and now pre-ordered a 620 for £175, both sim-free, and got a cheap sim-only contract just before I bought the 710 so im not tied into an expensive contract because I took a handset "free"... But for many people, this wasn't an option and these people are stuck with wp7. I'll be stuck with it myself until my 620 eventually gets released here in the UK, and ill still be using my 710 after I get my 620, so for me, the 7.8 update is important, but not so much for the new start screen, but moreso for the extra features Nokia are adding into their release of 7.8 such as Bluetooth media transfers etc..
  • Totally agree, I got my HTC Mozart WP7 on launch day and I think it deserves to keep pace with the current user experience, these are 'heritage' phones and they should be looked after.
  • I cant afford to upgrade to wp8 yet. I would love to get either of the devices on tmobile. I have even thought about selling stuff to get the money together, but I cant. If you really supported the platform, you wouldn't have such a one way opinion.
  • Because you can't transfer Xbox game saves or games / apps that have been pulled from the market.
  • It's Colombia, get it right!
  • Never!
  • Haha! You crack me up man..! xD
  • Verizon has made me hate my windows phone. I want my portico lol. Now I sort of see how Windows Phone 7 users feel with the lack of Windows phone 8 haha. Good to hear some positive news for some people though.
  • You don't know our pain.
  • Lol
  • I'm still on 8107, while some are on 8779.
  • Ha on the DVP for T-Mobile, I still didn't even have 8107... I sold that to my friend, and I hope he gets SOME kind of update. I feel like it's "more than 2 updates behind" which I thought went against Microsoft's "official policy..."
  • I'm still on 7720 with my hd7s :(
  • hope i can see it on my Omnia W on 31st Jan...
  • If AT&T rolls it out before March 31st (1st quater of 2013), I'll open a champagne. Fingers crossed.
  • A bottle of vintage should work. Lol. I agree ATT seems SLOW about these things
  • Correction. They ARE slow
  • Q1 ends on March 31st.
  • But windows phones update in order, I can't go from mango to 7.8 and ATT has yet to push the mango refresh and tango. Very bad service if you ask me.
  • It was Tango Refresh, but all updates will include the previous ones.
  • Since I got my 920 I have decided to not install the update on my Focus..,, Sort of a homage to the WP platform as a whole. And, I still like Zune better than Xbox music, for now, so my focus will act as my backup device, and a competent music player.
  • You can always roll it back ;)
  • I know, but what's the point? Just to see what 7.8 is about? I'll find that out when Daniel gets his hands on the update.. Lol!
  • Zune is still there in 7.8
  • That's a good point! Didn't think about that... But, homage!!
  • Xbox music sucks. No Zune device support and it just seems extremely lacking. Hate it on my laptop. Also hate that windows 8 has no DVD playback without media center, which sucks as well.
  • I have an unlocked HTC Titan, I suppose this means I don't have to wait for my carrier?
  • You and me both, just wondering what's the deal with sim-free/ unlocked phones. Do they get update straight away or what!?
  • It depends if it's unbranded as well. My HD7 was unlocked out of the box (none were locked in Australia) and use it with Vodafone, but it's still Telstra branded so I have to wait for Telstra to release updates
  • What happens if you have a country invariant device? Somehow the update files for my product code was not even in Navifirm
  • You have to wait for the carrier to get the update, or flash your phone with another variant. I have T-Mobile Deutschland branded phones and 7.8 is still being prepared (hence not on Navifirm).
  • Im on At&t but if TMobile gets it first I'll take it as a good sign rather then a dig at At&t but if they put up an effort to get this out first it will improve on there image and Sprint if they are smart they should do it all the Arrive people aren't upgrading into the new WP your not gonna turn them into iPhone/Android users so show ur supporting WP or they will keep leaven but let's be real all carriers are shat
  • "no one really believes Sprint will do this update" Right there is why I won't be renewing with Sprint, even if they get Windows 8 phones. I don't have faith they'll support the platform. Love my HTC Arrive but Sprint never issued us the two bug fix updates that were released for 7.5 devices.
  • I've been keeping my Arrive up to date using the CAB method. I assume I will have to do this with 7.8 as well. I'm not prepared to leave Sprint because it the end, I have unlimited data (regardless of the speed) and I am grandfathered in on a corporate discount of 25%. With those two factors, its not cost effective for me to switch.... Yet.
  • +1 Arrive owner. With accompanying sad face.
  • Thank goodness
  • LOL Sprint...
    Not counting on them to bring the update, either. So I'll just flash it.
  • shouldnt carrier free devices get it earlier?
     
  • Exactly my point !!
  • Earlier than what? If the rollout begins January 31st then yes, I'd expect unbranded phones to be able to get it that day or around that timeframe.
  • earliear than jan 31st?
     
  • Yes, early in the morning on the 31st
  • Hi Daniel, What makes you think that a carrier free phone will get the update early? I have one, a Nokia 800 and I always have had to wait a few weeks after an update release. Is there any merit in trying it with different simm? I have and O2 and a tmobile. Or is it all down to the IMEI number of the phone?
    Oh and to the dumb comments of get yourself a windows 8 phone. I think those people are just regretting that they jumped so early. Windows 8 is nice and I will be getting one when the time is right but I find it strange that it is not everything a windows 7.5 phone is and more. I bought my wife the Samsung and was disapointed to see apps missing and where where all those lens apps promised at launch!!!
  • I'll believe it when I see it
  • I want to update my old ATT Samsung Focus to 7.8. Given that it's 99% certain that this WP7 launch device will never be updated by ATT (and maybe even Samsung), what are my options for getting 7.8 onto my device?
  • Flash it to 7.8 over in xda I did and it runs great
  • Out of curiosity, what ROM did you use? There appears to be a few ROMs available, and I'm interested in the most stable and least customized (as close to stock) as possible. Thanks!
  • stable and least customized? why, "clean rom" of course! as long as your focus is a rev 1.3, though...
  • I used dynamics 2.0 you can install most Nokia apps with it from the marketplace but when you flash it you lose everything. You also have to make sure what hardware revision you have, I have 1.3 so I can't use any 1.4 or I'll brick the phone.
  • @schlubadub
    "no must have features", that's highly debatable. The UI is the #1 must have feature of w8. Not to mention rooms, the best messaging experience, people hub etc. If those aren't must haves then no other phone OS have must haves.
  • I saw a sweet feature in BB10 that when you take a picture it actually snaps several pictures so you can pick the best one. That is impressive to me. Also, instead of Kids Corner they have something similar, but it keeps business and personal data separate from one another. I like that, too. However, I am waiting for a landscape slider. Whichever brings it first - WP or BB - will get my business. If neither, then it's me and my Quantum till death do us part.
  • That feature has been around for ages on Android and WP. I'm certain the iPhone has it too. The same goes for half the "features" that RIM is touting as "new and first" (they said the same about a people hub like hub as well). To me, the only thing RIM is bringing to the table with BB10 is an up to date platform with a great UI. Nothing more. I'd recommend trying out a Lumia 920 with an open mind and see if you like it or not. Also try out the new BBs because we don't really know much about the devices as of yet.
  • I don't see that feature (I'm assuming you're talking about the camera "burst") on my Quantum or iPhone 4. I don't care what Android has because I will never partake in Google's spy projects. If the Lumia 920 had a landscape slider keyboard it would be a slam-dunk, but it doesn't.
  • You can do the same with kids corner, setup kids corner as a private hub for private pics, passwords, anything. Just because it says "kids corner" doesn't mean it has to be utilized like one
  • Close, but no cigar. If I quit my job and they send a remote wipe to my WP it will wipe out everything, not just the business stuff. I thought WP would be a top-notch business-ready phone in WP8, but it doesn't look like it to me. It still looks like primarily a consumer device to me.
     
    Anyway, if they could just throw me a bone with a real goddam keyboard I could let all the other shortcomings slide. As it is now, I feel like each subsequent release takes away features I loved. WP7 took away my stylus, the awesome Bing navigation and RDP client we had in WM6.5, and now WP8 takes away my keyboard, wireless synch and what was left of turn-by-turn nav. I'm sick of this shit.
  • You are really out of luck then. RIM was really the last one to have the keyboard and now that is gone too (sure, there is a keyboard version coming out "later in the year" - we will see how that pans out). Most of your gripes aren't really major issues with the platform...it is just stuff that doesn't work out for you. The stylus, for example, is nothing more than a gimmick with a tile based interface. And yes, I did mean the burst feature. The Lumia 900 has it (via Nokia's app) and I'm certain of seeing it on the 4S at some point (maybe not a native solution?) but it is there and available on all devices contrary to RIM's claim.
  • My mother is an alcoholic and my father used to beat me :/
  • It's just the last straw. I've already given up more than I wanted to. In the WM days each new version brought new features that excited me. With WP that is no longer the case. I hope that changes and soon. I don't want to jump ship, but will if I have to.
  • You probably had it coming.
  • Lets not forget resolution. And better screen (920).
  • @Microsoftjunkie You're right that it is highly debateable - I should've said "no must have features for me", I am definitely not interested in Android and especially not IOS. I guess I meant "no must have features versus WP7"... I love WP7 and want to see the platform succeed, however, a lot of the new WP8 features simply weren't interesting to me. I'll never use Rooms, or Wallet, or NFC or any of corporate type stuff. Kids Corner is a good alternative to them failing to give us Custom Hubs or multiple screens... but it's only one extra screen! Having Skype / VOIP actually work is pretty cool, but I'm never far from a PC so it doesn't matter. Being able to backup messages etc is cool, but to upgrade to WP8 I have to trash all of my current data anyway.
    As for the UI, well that's coming in 7.8 so I'll just wait :P The ONLY feature that I think is awesome, is the ability to run native code apps - it opens it up to a huge influx of apps from other platforms... now we just have to wait for that to happen.
  • I want this on my titan and l900
  • I would like to note that my HTC Trophy received updates throughout its life. Mango was on time, they provided some antenna fixes, then tango was a bit late, but came with internet sharing. Verizons update track record for Windows Phone specifically should be moved up from "slow" like you said in this article, to at least something like "Decent"
  • At&t still hasn't released tango for the lions share of their WP7.5 devices... Last year in June they said they were waiting around to lump the updates together. Guess this is what we're waiting for!
  • Fingers crossed. When I asked At&r last summer about Tango, they told me August. Of course that didn't happen for the of Focus.
  • I concur with this. Verizon has been surprisingly better than expected. Of course that may be because I was expecting HORRID IF ANY support ...
  • I really hope Sprint rolls out the 7.8 update. My early upgrade is not until January 2014.
  • I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you. I would start looking for a way to upgrade off contract, switch carriers, or manually upgrade your Arrive to 7.8.
  • Unfortunately, switching carriers is not an option but I may look into manually upgrading it.
  • Wow!  Great news.  I just got my Lumia 900 and I still haven't updated my phone to the refresh, and probably won't.  I'm not experiencing any issues, so I will leave my phone as is.  But I will probably wait a little bit after 7.8 is rolled out, just to see how things pan out based on user feedback.
     
    If I haven't said it already, I REALLY appreciate users that update as soon as updates are available.  Your feedback is valuable to me.
  • Just make a backup
  • Lol! I'm really not that technically inclined :). I'm patient...I will wait for the feedback:)
  • Yeah, I do that, too. Restoring from backup is of little use if you only discover issues weeks after the upgrade.
  • I already have a Lumia 920, but I hoping the 7.8 update comes soon. Planning on selling my unlocked Lumia 710.
  • Expect nothing from MS.
  • I agree with you 110%
  • I don't understand why AT&T and Microsoft can't communicate update details and dates to their user base. Telstra published a device by device schedule! Is ATT just lazy, do they think we don't care, or are they seriously still trying to finalize details and can't give us a date because they don't know what other delays or roadblocks they will still face? Users want to know what's going on, and AT&T is notoriously terrible about readying updates and communicating with its users!
  • At this point MS needs the carriers more than the carriers need MS, so we have to just take what they give us (or don't give us more likely...)
  • Yeah, I'm fine with taking what they give us. I just don't understand why they can't tell us when they will give it to us :-). I'm confident my L900 will be one of the first to get it, but many others are pissed because they don't know even IF they will get 7.8.
  • My 710 needs facelip!!! :D
  • Yup, it surely needs some lips
  • Will the HTC radar be getting this?
  • Yes
  • I really do think that Sprint will push this update out. Now that they have officially announced that they will support Windows Phone 8 I think they have no choice but to start pushing out updates for devices running Windows phone. On a side note, I really thought that updates on WP would be like those on iOS, this kind of guessing about updates is why I avoided Android. I really hope that Microsoft gets better about this